Honesty pays off for this car salesman
Twenty years ago, Kris Hanschu made this pledge to himself: “I will not lie, cheat, or steal.”
Perhaps that is the secret to his success. Every year except one since 1994 as a salesman for Midway Motors (previously known as Lacy-Regehr Motors in McPherson), Hanschu has been named Salesman of the Year by the dealership. He missed the opportunity in 1997 because he spent three months with a former boss who was dying of cancer.
Hanschu sells new and used cars. He sells new Chevrolets out of the company’s Hillsboro location, the former Irv Schroeder Motors dealership.
“It’s challenging,” he said about his job. “No two deals are the same.”
He enjoys working with people, sensing their moods, and making them feel good about their purchases.
He said he is thorough in what he does, paying attention to every detail involved in a transaction and fulfilling every promise.
“People remember the small things you do,” he said.
Hanschu grew up on a farm in southern Dickinson County. He went to school at Hope, but his parents, Harold and Thelma Hanschu, had a Herington address and phone and banked at Ramona. They also attended the Lutheran church in Ramona.
The youngest of four boys, he helped his father on the farm. His way as a winning salesman already was evident in high school. In an FFA fundraising project in his freshman and sophomore years, he was a top salesman of subscriptions to Kansas Farmer magazine and earned a trip to Hawaii both years.
After high school, Hanschu pursued various things before finding his lifelong career. He worked at several jobs and took a college-level vocational technical course in building maintenance.
His real break, although he didn’t know it, came when he was hired by Jim and Judy Pauly of Emporia to work in their store, Emporia Waterbed Gallery.
Jim Pauly became his mentor.
Hanschu hadn’t been there very long when Pauly, who called him his son, asked him to become a salesman. Not many days later, the Paulys left Hanschu alone to manage the business while they took an eight-day trip.
Just 23 at the time, he didn’t know if he could handle it.
“You will sink, or you will swim,” his boss told him.
Hanschu did well, and it wasn’t long before he got a call from a car dealer asking him to come and work for him.
Hanschu said he hated to leave the Paulys but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to deal in cars and make more money.
His boss wasn’t surprised at the offer.
“I knew this is the way it would turn out,” he said. “When someone is good at what he does, he moves on to bigger and better things.”
Hanschu was married on June 10, 1989, shortly after he started working for John North Ford in Emporia.
In 1992, the couple moved to McPherson, where Hanschu began his career at Lacy-Regehr Motors. He has been with the company through several of its transitions, first to Lacy Motors, then Midway Motors in September 2006.
Since then, the company has acquired the Hillsboro and Hutchinson Chevrolet dealerships.
Hanschu said he appreciates the flexibility the company gives him to attend to family matters. He and his wife have three daughters ages 22, 19, and 13.
Hanschu said most of his business comes from repeats and referrals.
“It’s because I do what I need to do to make customers happy,” he said. “They are my walking advertisements.”
Last modified March 10, 2010