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Seven Days: Vermont Car Blog

October 01, 2008

Yin and Yang

Mma_fighter_car_salesman_2 Burlington resident Noah Weisman is an affable car salesman by day and a dangerous mixed-martial-arts fighter by night. I spoke with him last week to uncover how these two seeming opposites work together.

BOB KILPATRICK: You’ve got a big fight coming up. How do you prepare?

NOAH WEISMAN: A lot of endurance training. I make sure to get to Vermont Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as much as I can. We do a lot of grappling, striking, like punching and kicking. Kickboxing and jiu-jitsu all the time, that’s what I grew up on.

BK: How do you prepare to sell a car?
NW: You’ve got to really pay attention to the customers’ needs, and you’ve got to find what suits them the best. When they come in, you don’t want to show them something they can’t afford. You don’t want to show them something that’s not going to be useful to them. So you have to listen.

BK: So you can’t really prepare to know what they want. You have to know your product line well enough that when they tell you what they need —
NW: — you can tell them, “I’ve got the perfect car for you.”

BK: How long have you been working at Burlington Mitsubishi-Suzuki?
NW: I’ve been there since December of last year, going on a year now.

BK: What’s the coolest car you have on the lot?
NW: Our top-selling cars right now are our Mitsubishi Lancer and our Suzuki SX4.

BK: Tell me about the Suzuki SX4.
NW: The SX4 is America’s least expensive all-wheel-drive vehicle. It’s got a lot of flexibility. It will convert from front-wheel drive to automatic all-wheel-drive to all-wheel-drive lock mode for driving in snow and mud. It’s smaller than the Honda CRV. Its main competition is probably the Nissan Versa, the Honda Fit and the Toyota Matrix.

BK: If you could buy any new car, what would you buy?
NW: My favorite car right now is the Mitsubishi Lancer GTS. It’s just a dynamite car. Just change the oil and put gas in it, and that’s all you’ve got to do. It’s a sporty, sporty car. It’s got the 2.4-liter engine. The automatic comes with a quick, six-speed paddle shifter. It’s dynamite. NASCAR helped design this car.

BK: The Lancer is a rally car, right?
NW: The Lancer Evolution is the real rally car. It’s the really souped-up version of the Lancer. It’s a whole different animal, that car.

BK: What’s a typical day for you like at the dealership?
NW: Be there at 8:30 a.m. Put the sale signs up on the hoods of the cars out front, start filling up some balloons. We have a morning meeting, a lot of phone calls, and then people start coming in. Hopefully, sell some cars.

BK: I would assume that being an MMA fighter might make you a better salesperson because of the confidence you would develop, but does being a salesperson help you be better prepared for an MMA fight?
NW: Yeah, it pays for my classes. It pays for me to be able to train. Gives me a place to live.

BK: Tell me about your fight background.
NW: I’ve had two fights now. I fought and won in the last two Burlington Brawls and now I’m looking to step up to some bigger fights with an organization in the Midwest. One is called Superior Cage Fighting in Ohio and the other is a King of the Cage event in Wisconsin.

BK: Do you have a favorite move that you like to use in a fight?
NW: I like submissions. It’s when you force someone to tap. You bend an arm in the wrong direction. It’s the manipulation of somebody’s body in a direction it shouldn’t be going.

BK: That’s your favorite move in a fight. Do you have a favorite move on the showroom floor?
NW: I think you really need to have a good first impression with somebody. You need to be personable and smile. Have fun with everybody — whether they’re going to buy a car or not, you’ve got to have fun.

BK: You work long hours at the dealership and train in your off time. What do you do to relax?
NW: I relax with my kids every night when I get home, and I have Sundays off. I’ve got a 9-year-old, a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old, all boys: Yashiah, Zachariah and Ezra.

BK: Do you think they’ll do MMA someday?
NW: Yeah, they train jiu-jitsu right now. My 7-year-old son, he’ll throw an arm bar like the rest of them, I’ll tell you that much. He’s great. He’s been coming to class since he was 2 years old, just watching us all. He loves it.

BK: Do you think there’s anything negative about a kid learning an aggressive sport like MMA?
NW: No, I think it’s good control, because when they are training with each other, the boys know to tap, and they know that when somebody taps they stop. And nobody’s been hurt. They play football, too, and the last time I watched them play, there were three kids laid out on the field in a 7-year-old’s game. And so far my kids haven’t been hurt with boxing gloves on.

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