Ernie Rodriguez, a car salesman at Chase Chevrolet, says his career really began in 1986 at Stanford University. “That’s when I joined Event Services, an office of the university for which I worked for 15 years. I came to know so many people that 20 years later, I am still selling to the Stanford community,” Ernie says.
Rodriguez says the pivotal moment came in the mid 1990s when he located a truck for a fellow member of his department. He wasn’t affiliated with Chase Chevrolet but was just helping out a friend. The next day, then-union president Jim Keck made an announcement. “He told everyone, “If you need a truck, see Ernie.” Suddenly I was the “go-to” guy for vehicles,” he says.
Union members from all backgrounds began contacting Rodriguez to ask about Silverados, Tahoes, and Malibus. “I was familiar with the inventory because I knew John Chase. I was always visiting the dealership. I started recommending my picks to Stanford employees who were commuting from Stockton. Then, Stanford employees who lived in other parts of the Bay Area started coming to Stockton to look at cars with me,” says Ernie.
By the time Rodriguez left Stanford in 2000, he had brought so many customers to Chase Chevrolet the dealership offered him a job. “I’ve been here now for 20 years, preventing customers from getting lost in the shuffle,” he says. Ernie’s secret to success? He says one of his keys to good salesmanship is matching a customer up with the right vehicle. He also recommends acting as the point person for all concerns. “I help my customers get anything they need, from repairs to a new or used vehicle. I give my customers my number. They only have one person they have to reach out to,” Ernie says.
He also offers “lot walks” on Facebook Live as a way to connect with customers virtually and show off inventory. “Every day, I do the ‘E. Rod’ walkaround to share our inventory. I can see 50 people message about the vehicles I showcase,” Ernie says.
Rodriguez says his most valuable tool at Chase Chevrolet is awareness. Knowing what’s coming and going helps him share that information with customers. “I have a book of all the phone conversations, emails, and messages where customers say, ‘Ernie, can you find this for me?’ When I see what they want, I let them know right away.”
Get a Car:
Chase Chevrolet – Stockton
6441 Holman Rd., Stockton
(209) 451-5340 (main)
(209) 403-2224 (Ernie Rodriguez’s office)
(209) 475-6641 (Ernie Rodriguez’s direct line)