Tom McClusky with a
Jaguar F Type. McClusky recently won the number one
spot in a nationwide product knowledge and sales
presentation competition for Jaguar dealers.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
WAUKESHA - Anyone in the market for a car
knows the stories about the feared wheeler/ dealer. You
tiptoe into a frigid showroom with balloons as a cheesy
guy in a polyester suit pounces.
Tom McClusky of Waukesha shatters that
mold. McClusky recently won the number one spot in a
nationwide product knowledge and sales presentation
competition for Jaguar dealers.
He started in the car business in 2001 at
a different dealership. Later, he thought he wanted to
get out of the business for a while, so he became
produce manager at Fresh Market in Waukesha. But
eventually he returned to selling cars, and he has been
at Fields Auto Group, 1901 E Moreland Blvd., for eight
If McClusky wasn’t a car salesman
extraordinaire, he would be a chef since he loves to
cook. He enjoys golfing and spending time with his
When he started at Fields Auto, he met
Dan Fields and Fields’ family. He said, “They allowed
us to not be the car salesperson everybody is afraid
of.” There is a conversational tone to the sales tactic
at Fields Auto. McClusky admires how the car dealership
does business and that it is customer-oriented.
His general sales manager, Derek
Stackhouse, said McClusky is very organized. He said,
“He is super detail-oriented. We work hard here and
ratings and reviews are super important to us. That is
what our success is built on, which is our customers. “
Getting to number one
In January McClusky was contacted by the
factory to tell him based on survey scores, quantity of
cars sold and a sales volume group, he fell into the top
two percent. He said, “First you have to be master
qualified, do schooling and go to launch events. The
opportunity gives an invitation to Southern California
to compete. 36 of us were in the competition, and eight
finalists would get a trip to England.”
The test, as they were told, is “just
like going to work.” It involved a five-minute phone
call, a 20-minute showroom presentation and an email
The showroom presentation and phone call
are with an actor. McClusky’s phone call was with a
female high-powered attorney currently driving an Audi
midsize sedan and was looking for a bigger vehicle. He
told her a Jaguar XJ would be perfect and she should
come in and check it out.
The actress came in, fully in character
with a sharp suit and behaving stoically. The judges
were watching and listening to every word. McClusky also
was aware of the time ticking away. Every question the
actor tosses out is quite weighted. He said, “The
easiest thing is to overthink it, and question what they
are looking for. I did what I thought was proper and the
right way to handle the situation.”
Partway through, he realized he needed to
find the human being inside the “attorney.” “My actual
day-to-day is talking with a person who reacts to things
I say or do,” he said. “It is different than this rigid
He eventually got the “attorney” into the
vehicle to show her the features.
“We discussed her needs assessment,” he
said. He showed her the button on the dash that
controls the heating and air-conditioning seats.
“I said to her, ‘You said you travel with
colleagues, don’t you?’ She said she travels all the
time with colleagues. I said, ‘Right here is a button
for the rear seats. Every now and again, turn on the
heated seats to the guy behind you.’ The classics will
never grow old. She chuckled and said ‘Now that is
funny!’ I felt, I got something.” He then had to craft a
follow-up email once she left.
Afterwards, McClusky said, he thought of
a million things he could have done differently as he
compared notes with the 35 other participants. Although
McClusky was pretty hard on himself, another salesman
said, “I wouldn’t even buy a car from me based on my
But McClusky was one of the eight
finalists, and it wasn’t long before they were attending
the awards dinner in England. When the president of
training for Jaguar Land Rover North America salesmen
began reading their names, McClusky just felt grateful
to be there. But the best was yet to come.
The president said the winner had the
best delivery and presentation they had ever seen, and
McClusky’s name was called.
“I thought I was dreaming, and it was a
good time to wake up,” he said.
on the job, and loving it
McClusky loves the variety of people who
walk through the door. He said, “I get couples where I’m
in the back seat of a test drive and they are arguing.
They ask for my opinion, I have a strong policy that I
won’t take sides until the contract is signed, then one
of you is absolutely right.
“We don’t have a stick-shock issue here.
Customers know what they are in for when walking into
the showroom. They do it big and they do it right.”
He says the company’s training process is
a major reason for his success: “They give us the tools
we need to succeed. The factory produces beautiful cars
that perform better than people realize and people who
you work for let you be you.”