Hire Someone Who Loves Cars
By: Rian Locadia
The automotive business as a whole has flourished, bringing in many exciting opportunities and new clients reaching both sales and service departments. However, the extra business makes for a fast-paced environment in busy dealerships, which can cause inexperienced dealership personnel to crack under the pressure, stress out, and eventually end their tenure. What seems to happen from there is almost inevitable, the rush to hire any Joe or Jane off the street to fill a seat and then trust them to service your hard earned clients. I, being a service advisor since 2005, have seen this “revolving door” effect happen time and time again. As a self-proclaimed “veteran” in this business, I have seen the advantages of hiring actual “car people” as opposed to a recently laid off barista or bartender for important dealership roles.
Who Isn’t Obsessed with Cars?
As far back as I can remember I have had an absolute obsession with the automobile. At the age of three, I vaguely remember having Hot Wheels and scale model cars no more than three feet away from me at any given time. By the time I was eight years old, I could name any vehicle on the road. Growing up in South Florida in the 1990’s during the tail end of the “Miami Vice” era, there was a mecca of exotic and luxury showrooms, of which my mother and father would drive by letting me venture inside, dream and drool. By this time, I knew that when I was of working age I wanted to be involved in the auto business without a doubt. Since 2002, at 15 years old, I started my career in automotive and I can honestly say I still get enthused every day I arrive at work.
When a client makes a big purchase of an automobile, especially a premium automobile from a prestigious marque, they have a sense of pride and joy. That enthusiasm should be shared via the sales representative, service advisor and even the parts and accessories counter. To some clients, vehicle ownership is not just a necessity but also a passion. Some may even say a lifestyle.
Take Delight in Brand Loyalty
Working for BMW since 2007, there are many clients of mine that are brand loyalists. I can vividly recall certain clients spending their entire Saturday mornings in the dealership lounge area talking with other owners about their vehicles. Being a brand closely related to motorsports, I would also witness banter about recent achievements and wins from the manufacturer. As a fellow automotive enthusiast, I would get genuinely happy and excited to hear this banter. I would join in the conversation and build relationships with these people, further extending my client base of fellow enthusiasts.
After acquiring these clients, I could use my vast knowledge and enthusiasm to make them aware of new products, advances and developments from the manufacturer, but more importantly use it as a selling tool. No matter what you are buying, when you are dealing with somebody that truly believes in their product, whether it be a $500 camera or a $100,000 car, you can sense that that person truly loves the product and knows what they are talking about. As an advisor and a long time BMW owner and enthusiast, I find it very easy and actually delightful to explain a client’s vehicle to them. Whether it may be certain features, needed repairs or specifications, my clients can sense that I do have first-hand knowledge about these vehicles, which makes it an easier process to sell and close somebody. Not to mention the customer will have the upmost confidence in what they are buying.
Have I seen employees successfully transfer from outside the automotive world succeed? Absolutely. There are plenty of people I have met and have become very close with that knew nothing about automobiles that have become great salespeople and brand ambassadors. However, those people are few and far between. To an employer, I believe that a true automotive lover and enthusiast would be a much safer, reliable plug and play option for the dealership and its clients. Employees are the backbone of any place of business and when the enthusiasm is there at 7 am thru 9 pm, it spreads like a wildfire.