Clark owns Premier Sports Solutions, a car dealership based in Bournemouth, that flogs Lamborghinis, Range Rovers and Bentleys to England stars like Jack Wilshere, Danny Rose and Kyle Walker.
RICHARD Clark, owner of Bournemouth’s high-end car showroom Premier Sports Solutions, is a man to know if you’re a top-flight footballer.
The Watford-born car salesman has sold top-of-the-range motors to the likes of Jack Wilshere, Danny Rose, Ashley Young and Kyle Walker, to name a few.
Priding himself on first-class customer service, Clark has earned the trust of footballers since setting up his business in 2005.
Not only does he score the Premier League’s best great deals, he knows his clients inside out and understands what they want before they do.
SunSport sat down with Clark, 37, who revealed footballers’ spending habits, with some players often buying cars from him simply by using WhatsApp.
Clark also spoke of Harry Redknapp’s importance to Premier Sports Solutions as a senior advisor who provides valuable contacts to the group.
Finding cars for footballers began for Clark when Harry’s son Jamie asked him to find him a car just before he set up his own shop.
“I fell into cars after I came back from working in China and worked in a different showroom,” Clark explained.
“They knew I knew a few footballers and they asked me if I could sell cars to them.
“I was good friends with Jamie’s brother Mark, so I’ve been friends with the Redknapps for years,
“At the time, Jamie wanted a Bentley, so I went in there and managed to sell him one.
“Then, I sold a car to Les Ferdinand and Tim Sherwood.”
Clark believes the secret to his success is treating footballers with respect, not ripping them off and making sure they get the best service he can possibly offer.
“We don’t work off massive margins and we treat everyone the same,” Clark divulged.
“We try to give footballers a decent level of service, to their door, and they all come back.
“We’ve been lucky that we’ve had a celebrity market ever since then.
“Anyone who is young, wealthy, a celeb or a footballer – they come to us.”
Clark has done very little in the way of promoting Premier Sports Solutions.
“Footballers have been kind enough to recommend me and I’m very grateful for that.
“At the end of the day, they just want to be looked after and it’s all down to trust.
“Over the last 12-years we’ve built impeccable trust within the football industry.
“So the brand hasn’t just become cool, but everyone knows they’re going to get good service. They have to trust us to do the job right.
“That’s why we’re the biggest independent supplier to the football industry. We pride ourselves on that and pick up new clients all the time.”
A recent example of that, Richard told us, is with his client Benik Afobe.
The Bournemouth striker, on loan at Wolves, has helped him shift five cars in the last few weeks to the Midlands.
Clark gets repeat customers simply because he works hard to make sure they aren’t paying over the odds for their cars.
“We work with the likes of Land Rover and Lamborghini to get the best deals for everyone,” Clark said.
“They know how we work, they know we want the best possible deals, we don’t work off big margins or show a massive deal to a player.
“They get a deal, we deliver and try and give them a service they won’t get anywhere else.”
When footballers want to buy a car they want to do it as easily as possible, according to Clark.
That often means sending out a text message to request what they want.
“I must’ve sold hundreds of cars over WhatsApp,” Clark told us.
“Because, to be honest, footballers don’t want to walk into a showroom.
“They’re not interested in sitting down with someone with a suit on.
“They want to ring someone or message someone and say, ‘This is what I want, can you make it happen?’
“And with me, footballers know they’re messaging a guy that’s connecting with them and knows what they want.
“We work with 25 different car financiers and lenders and get the best finance deals.
“We also work with very high-profile clients and that’s very good for the brands.
“But what the brands struggle to do is sell cars direct to the players.
“Footballers just don’t feel that confident sitting in a showroom and being in that environment.”
As is the trend among savvy footballers, Clark admitted that his customers tend to go for finance deals over buying cars outright.
“Because they’re all highly-earning individuals, they’re no risk,” he explained.
“And a footballer shouldn’t need to go out and pay over £100,000 for a car when they can pay a monthly fee.
“Also, why would you put all your in a depreciating asset, when you can put it in something that can make you money?
“That’s what they do with us. It might be a four-year deal but they can come out of it whenever they want.
“They’ve got the flexibility of having the car for the year, they make their payments and what they borrowed comes down and they can just jump into something new.”
Clark is full of respect when it comes to his footballing clients and would never overcharge them.
However, he confessed some do try to barter him down, even if he is giving them the best deal he can.
“Some are good (hagglers), some aren’t,” Clark said.
“I always go in with a price to sell, I don’t go in with it with a high price waiting for me to mark them down.
“I offer them the best deal I can and they know that. Footballers are not stupid.
“They know how the world works, so I treat them with that level of respect.
“You do get the odd one, but they’re great lads and some have become friends.
“They know it’s a short-term game, they earn what they earn, but they’re reasonably sensible when it comes to spending their money on cars.
“What I’m here for is to give them the best deal for what they want.”
Richard told us his biggest seller with footballers is the Range Rover SVR.
“A lot of them have to travel and drive a long way to get to training, so they want something comfortable,” he said.
“It’s a great seller for us. Behind that is the Bentley. A lot are buying Bentaygas from us too.
“What I care about is the player coming back, so I will always get them what they want.
“I do take it personally if a footballer goes somewhere else, because I do my utmost to look after them as well as I can.”
Able to spot a player’s style, Clark is confident he knows what his clients want when finding them a car.
“I know when a player rings me what they like and their style,” he said.
“We have a customising area in the shop now.
“We can give them whatever they want, wrap it, paint their wheels, etc. There are some players that don’t like their cars touched.
“But there are some that want them in wild colours and want to wrap it in what they want.
“I want to give them everything and turn it round as quick as possible.
“Because when they want it, they want it the next day!
“If I can deliver it personally, and they want me to, I’ll be there. I’ve also got five drivers who deliver the cars for me.”
Clark, who was once a football agent, is still keen to appeal to as many of the Premier League’s elite as he can.
He recently brought on Harry Redknapp as a senior advisor, as well as former Portsmouth Chief Executive Officer Peter Storrie who operates as senior consultant.
“I had discussions with Harry over Christmas time and wanted him to get involved,” he said.
“He’s come away from management and he said to me, ‘You’ve got a fantastic brand in the football industry and you’re well respected.’
“It made me think that there was something we could do together, so he’s come on as a senior advisor for us.
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