For the love of selling Volkswagens

The automotive retail industry plays a huge part in the lives of the Sheik-family, and when selling is in your blood, you know it’s the path for your future.

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Dealerfloor spoke to Ameen Sheik, the new Sales Manager at Westvaal Volkswagen Lichtenburg about his career and vision for the new challenge.

Let us just take one step back. Ameen’s wife, Noorhana, was the Dealer Principal at Suzuki Bethlehem in the Free State before deciding to swop the dealership and become a full-time home-schooling teacher.

At that stage, Ameen was Sales Manager at VW in Bethlehem, and she has now taken up the position as Sales Manager for the VW brand in Lichtenburg in the Northwest within the Westvaal group.

Ameen Sheik (Sales Manager) and Jacques Kearney (DP).

“As you can see, we love the “platteland” (rural areas) and yes there is a lot of shop talking and understanding between my wife and me, given her background in the industry,” Ameen tells us. Ameen has 18 years’ experience with the Volkswagen brand and has won many awards and recognitions during his career in the automotive retail business.

“Lichtenburg as a town has its own unique challenges, and my aim is to take this dealership to the top in the VW rankings. To do that, you have to have the support of your Dealer Principal, in our case Jacques Kearney, and it’s imperative to have a strong sales team.”

Asked what a strong sales team looks like, Ameen says everyone has to be on the same page as to the goals, the route to achieve these goals and must have a skill set to execute the job. “A salesperson must be able to identify and solve problems, have strong negotiating skills and be able to follow through on leads as well as have good interpersonal relationship abilities.

The sales team at Westvaal VW in Lichtenburg is Andrew Vis, Lucky Nkone, Ameen Sheik (Sales Manager), Germari Flattery, Leigh Anne Hodgson, Charmon Gowne, Reta Botes and Heilandi Harmse.

“The days are gone where a salesperson can just sit and wait for a ‘deal’ to walk through the doors. We have to be pro-active in our approach, and I believe to get our vehicles out in public spaces where interaction between us and potential clients can be generated,” Ameen tells Dealerfloor.

He says whether it is through sponsorships, charity drives, 4x4 excursions or exhibitions at events, community involvement is part and parcel of any sales drive. “I firmly believe that you have to spend money to get a return on investment and therefore we not only commit to Lichtenburg itself, but also the surrounding towns and regions, which form part of our customer base.”

Ameen says even though business conditions are difficult and competition is stiff, there is huge room for growth in this part of the North-west and that he intends to fully capitalise on that. “Our Amarok range is finding more and more favour, not only with private buyers, but also within the large and diverse farming community. Our workhorse single cabs are getting good traction here as is the case with our double cabs on the leisure side.”

A new VW Amarok bakkie on the showroom floor.

To get back to the selling aspect, Ameen says in today’s world, customers know exactly what they want. “Customers do their homework thanks to the Internet. With the dramatic price increases of new vehicles of the last couple of years, it is important to point out to customers precisely what they are getting for their money.

“Although a customer may think that a certain vehicle might just be too expensive, it is incumbent upon us to give a clear oversight as to what is included in the price. This may vary from all the new technologies and how they benefit vehicle owners through financing plans, vehicle maintenance and service plans that are included to very useful added values like 24 Hours Road Assistance. It is of the utmost importance for customers to know what they get for their money spent on a new vehicle.”

And what does the future hold? “I never think that far ahead. I love selling, I know I am good at it and to keep my team motivated is the important aspect for me,” Ameen concludes.

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