A. I did. I wrote a jokes column for the college newspaper called “Jest for Fun,” and embellished a bit my past experience with the radio and TV station in Des Moines to land a job playing elevator music with a new FM radio station starting up in Bethany. Before anyone gets too impressed, remember nobody in those days had FM radio and about all I got to say was: “You’re listening to KNBQ 104.9 megacycles, Bethany, Oklahoma.” I went to Central State (UCO) one year when I ran out of money, but managed to graduate from SNU, in business management, after I’d started working in the car industry.
Q. How’d you get your start, and move up, in the industry?
A. A good friend got into the business a year before me, and I started in May of ’68 at the old Dub Richardson Ford at 36th and May. Lynn Hickey was the sales manager. I eventually moved up from salesman to assistant used car manager, manager of our operation in Bethany and, finally, to new car manager. From there, there was really no place to go. So I, in March ’74, started as sales manager with Reynolds Ford in downtown Norman, because Jim Reynolds was going to allow me to truly manage. But, just like the FM station, don’t be too impressed; we only had four or five salesmen and sold only about 40 new and used vehicles a month, compared with more than 135 new cars a month at Dub’s. He began buying into the business 35 years ago and bought out Reynolds some 12 years ago.
Q. What’s the secret to successful selling?
A. You have to have a burning desire — hunger — for more, and there’s a lot of delayed gratification. Over the years, I’ve eaten many a warmed-over meal and missed, or arrived late, to several of my daughters’ dance deals. In sales, there’s a lot of rejection, and some people can be rude and crude. But versus react, where they’re in control, you’ve got to learn to respond, where you’re in control. I hate the stereotypes many people have of car dealers. But, I realized a long time ago that I can’t do anything about those stereotypes, but I can do something about what people think of me. Much of selling, and life, is about you and how you feel about yourself and your value.
MORE FROM NEWSOK
•Position: Reynolds Auto Group, president and owner.
•Birth date and birthplace: Aug. 26, 1945; Des Moines, Iowa.
•Family: Gloria, married Aug. 31, 1968 (Daniels stole her from one of his former college roommates, but introduced him to one of his old girlfriends and they also married); daughters, Danielle Thyen, of Tyler, Texas, and Stephanie Schultz, of Norman; and six grandchildren, ages 12 and under.
•Education: Southern Nazarene University, bachelor’s in business management.
•Military service: Six years in the Army National Guard. He and a buddy, rather than wait to be drafted, drove to Smith Center, Kan., on July 4th weekend 1966 to grab two of the last remaining spots. “I’m glad I was in. It taught me a little more discipline. Plus, I feel I owed that debt to my country and the people who served before me.”
•Church: Bethany First Church of the Nazarene.
•Downtime: They have a vacation home on Lake Kiowa in Gainesville, Texas, where he enjoys golfing, boating or just kicking back on his dock, sleeping and reading.
•Favorite book: “The Greatest Salesman in the World” by Og Mandino.
•Last movie seen: “Captain Phillips.”