What was your first job in the Motor Industry and how has it progressed since?
My first job in the Motor Industry was as a Car Valetor which was January 2006. I spent a year learning about the process of how new and used cars progressed through the dealership from arrival to when the car was being handed over to the customer and everything in between. I then began in a Junior Sales role with Windsor Motors in December 2006 which lasted up to February 2008, where I graduated to Sales Executive. I held further roles thereafter as Senior Sales Executive to which I then progressed to a Sales manager in Riverside FIAT in Drogheda. Timing was not perfect when I entered the industry as the economic downturn took charge, however, the fact that I was always in demand and still acquiring job opportunities, I knew I had built a solid and strong reputation throughout the Industry. I spent 2 years with Joe Duffy BMW and it was very much the most enjoyable and educational experience I had to date as a Senior Sales Executive, the training I received was second to none and this gave me the platform to be approached by Hyundai Cars Ireland which I successfully received an offer to join the business as a Dealer Relationship Manager (AKA – Area Sales Manager). The past 8 years have been the best 8 years of my career and I am very thankful to work for the company and its owners as well as work with a fantastic group of people who I consider friends as well as colleagues.
What does your current role involve?
My role in Hyundai Cars Ireland involves working with 15 of our 30 Dealership’s nationwide who are under my remit. In my time so far, I have had the privilege of working with 21 of our 30 dealers of which I am delighted to have worked with each of them. The role is multi-incorporated and involves setting monthly & quarterly dealer targets, engaging in sales development with the dealership teams to ensure we achieve our objectives throughout each year in terms of volume and Market Share within their areas of responsibility. This in turn leads to assuring strong profitability for the dealership at the end of each year. I am also responsible for assisting the dealerships to ensure the brand standards are kept to a high level which entails showroom layout and ensuring the complete model range of the brand is on display so that the customer experience journey is always to a consistent high level – this would also include the checking of all demo vehicles on display and presented in a clean and professional manner. I also work with the dealerships to ensure they have a strong customer retention process as well as assist our marketing team in Hyundai cars Ireland in the lead up to key periods and events such as pre order season’s, launch events & the Annual Dealer Conference. A key component of my role is to help dealerships secure stock for sold orders and with the help of a very experienced and dedicated distribution team, we achieve this on a high consistency basis which in turn ensures the relationship between dealer and distributor is always strong. The best part of the role is travelling to dealerships and meeting not just the management teams but the Sales Team, Marketing personnel and Aftersales team etc. This is key to ensuring the relationship remains strong between Hyundai Ireland and its network as I provide key information on the current KPI’s for dealers to initiate action immediately where necessary.
If someone wanted to become a Dealer Relationship Manager, what key skills and attributes would they need?
The keys skills and attributes needed to be a Dealer Relationship Manager firstly is to be a process driven individual, this is key to help the dealerships you are working with and present ideas that will have an impactful effect on how their sales team operate. It is imperative that you need strong mediation skills to have partiality & understanding from both the distributor and dealers i.e., targets, stock allocation etc. Communication skills are a prerequisite as you will be talking with business owners and management daily and it is extremely important that they are aware of all necessary information needed in terms of current offers, terms and conditions, imminent new product launches etc. Strong successful sales experience in a dealership is essential as it helps massively when speaking with the sales executives and management. There is an acceptance from the people you work with daily that you have been in their shoes and understand fully the inner workings of a dealership. Finally, just being an open, enthusiastic person who has a passion to help dealerships improve in different areas of their business and willing to go that extra mile does go a long way with the DP’s and staff.
What has been one of your proudest moments working in the Motor Industry?
I always say the proudest achievement throughout my career in the Motor Industry is being able to establish a successful career throughout such dark times. Joining the Industry in 2006 was the calm before the storm and with so many redundancies that were experienced between 2008 – 2010, the fact that I have always been in employment and been able to maintain my career with some amazing brands, I always felt spoke volumes of what I must have been able to offer my employers throughout. I was very proud to have been given the opportunity to join Hyundai Cars Ireland in November 2013 as it felt like and was a significant step of progression in my career, one that could only be earned by going through the journey I did prior to starting with the company. There is a lot to be said for and gained by having a positive, hardworking attitude and a passionate approach for what you do every day.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in the Motor Industry?
My advice for someone who is considering a career in this great Industry is to be 100% certain it is something they want to do in the first instance, you cannot do anything without being passionate in our industry as it will stand out immediately. Take an interest in all areas of the Industry not just the sector you are working in, the very elite salespeople / aftersales people in Ireland are as knowledgeable about the other areas of the Industry as the people working in them. Be ambitious, show that you aspire to progress and back it up by giving your best performance each day which will benefit not just the important customers we deal with but will influence the people you work with as it sets a standard within your organisation. My final piece of advice would be, that as we are retail operators at the largest scale possible, customers deserve the very best of care and advice when buying cars and maintaining them. It is the single biggest purchase outside of a home and that is advice that I have always held close to my heart. I have no doubt that my customers, who have purchased from me in the past, will remember me for the professional, honest, detailed and care that I provided them during the process and most importantly after they picked up their car. I have made great friends from people who I met whilst helping them purchase a car initially and that ultimately is what it should be all about.