While dealerships across South Africa suffered through the restrictions of level 3 lockdown, VW Barons in Pietermaritzburg sold 98 vehicles during June (54 new and 44 used).
Barons’ new car sales executive, Menzi Ngubane, a regular winner of the top sales award, said the two things sales staff must realise is that social media platforms mean working hours and geographical distance no longer matters.
Having completed a BSc degree in Informatics through Varsity College and Unisa in 2017, he said he uses various channels, but especially WhatsApp, to communicate with customers. “I’m in fact a shy guy, so I attended Toastmasters to learn to speak to people and overcome my shyness,” he said.
But selling cars “always came naturally” to him, which is why he has now been doing it for 16 years. Asked the ingredients of his secret sales sauce, Menzi said it boiled down to two things for him — living his brand and inspiring trust.
Asked if a lot of June and July sales were to people who did not want to risk contracting COVID-19 while using public transport, he said there were some, but most customers just wanted stylish German engineering they could afford.
One of Ngubane’s June customers placed an order from Upington in the Northern Cape, 1 100 km away. Several came from the Eastern Cape. One of them, a proud father who wanted a car for a child who turned 21, arrived when the dealership was closed for COVID-19 sanitation.
“The security guard turned him away, but the customer called my number displayed on the door and a day later the family were all smiles for the hand-over photo,” he said.
Apart from SA’s best-selling passenger vehicle, the Polos, he also has several Caddy models.
“I’m a performance car enthusiast, but when I don’t want to go fast, I can vouch that the Caddy fits any lifestyle, whether you transport people or bikes. Its road clearance (of 155 mm) allows you to explore anywhere a scenic dirt road leads.
“I’ve been up Sani Pass and to the Kruger Park in the Caddy and it has all the benefits of a spacious van while it drives like a car. But you have to listen to what the customer’s needs are and then match the best model that fits both these needs and the customer’s budget,” said Ngubane.