What are the main responsibilities of your role?
Brook: As sales director, my role is to oversee the smooth running of the sales department and deliver an excellent customer experience for new and used car sales, resulting in genuine customer satisfaction. I’m also here to ensure maximum profit is retained and relevant funding options and insurance products are recommended appropriately.
Additionally, I’m responsible for motivating and coaching the sales team and communicating with all staff members and manufacturers on a daily basis. I also ensure that all customers feel they have received the very best level of service and they are happy with any outcome. This is vitally important for customer retention and a loyal customer base.
What are the most significant challenges ahead in your field of work?
Brook: Uncertainty in the market and Brexit are challenges that face everyone at the moment. Additionally, maintaining profitability and dealing with the pressures of hitting new car targets for manufacturers.
Keeping staff motivated during the tougher periods can be tricky as can the ever-growing concern of fuel, particularly diesel being given such bad press, yet no real explanation of why. The biggest challenge will be to adapt as quickly as industry competition, as I believe the speed of change will increase in the coming years.
How might these challenges be overcome?
Brook: It comes down to having a strong team behind you. We continue to keep the teams motivated and ensure basics are done correctly. This is aided by keeping the sales process simple, but effective, and by listening to customer requirements. We also treat all customers and staff fairly and show interest in them. We try to focus on areas we can influence, not what we can’t, and not assume what customers may or may not be thinking.
We always aim to demonstrate that customers still need people in dealerships to experience the best car-buying journey. We also have a strong process for handling customers who have doubts over fuel type.
What attracted you to this area of expertise?
Brook: The motor trade kind of ran in the family and I really wanted to get into car sales from an early age. I joined Hepworths as a trainee sales executive in 1998, and I’ve been lucky to progress with the same company over the years with Mitsubishi and Honda. Having a very loyal customer base and staff longevity is a bonus but a challenge at the same time.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in your career, and how have you made use of it at your company?
Brook: To listen – whether it be to customers, staff or manufacturers, I find that listening properly shows you are interested in the person talking and you can gather as much information as possible. This helps you to act appropriately to achieve mutual goals. I try and get across to the team the importance of showing an interest in all customers. Talking about their interests and hobbies makes them feel relaxed and shows you don’t see them as just another customer.
My managing director also has a saying that we were given one mouth and two ears – they should be used accordingly.
What drives you?
Success and seeing the team succeed. Receiving genuine, great customer feedback.
What’s your favourite app?
How do you relax?
I’m a season ticket holder at Manchester City, so I get to see the best football on the planet! Also, I like listening to music and going to the gym.