Tough road to success and sobriety

From salesperson to sales manager and DP, all in one year.

22 Westvaal Hein Venter1

For Hein Venter, that eventful year was also important for another reason – it was his first year of sobriety.

Hein celebrated his fourth year in the auto industry and his first year sober in September last year. He is in charge of Westvaal Motors Barberton, a multi-franchise dealer that sells Isuzu and Hyundai in this picturesque Mpumalanga town.

“I took stock in September 2022 and realised that my family life and my relationship with my wife and children were back on track. Of equal importance was that my “other family” at Westvaal Motors believed in me. This led to tremendous opportunities. I had just been appointed as the new Dealer Principal.

Westvaal in Barberton, with the Hyundai dealership in the forefront.

“I was first appointed as a sales executive, then became sales manager and now DP, all within the space of one year. My track record of excelling in sales at my first opportunity with Westvaal paved the way for what was to come. I started as a used car executive in Mbombela four years ago, and my continued success when I transferred to Barberton is achievements of which I am very proud of and feel humbled about.

“My fight against my alcohol abuse, and overcoming it, has been rewarded with success at home and at my workplace. If you party too much and drink so much that it evolves into a problem, it creates tension and problems at home that follow you to your workplace. Not been able to fire on all your cylinders, so to speak, will have an adverse effect on whatever you do,” Hein tells Dealerfloor.

Hein Venter, Dealer Principal at Westvaal in Barberton.

Hein decided this year to place a long open letter about his problem on his Facebook profile where he talked openly about how he sought help to fight and eventually overcome it. In the letter, he talked about the negative impact alcohol has had on his life and he apologised and thanked his family and true friends who believed in him and assisted him.

“Especially my wife, Michelle, and our Franchise Executive, Kobus van Zyl, supported and believed in me, and for that, I am ever grateful to them,” Hein tells us.

“After my previous jobs in different sectors, I took my CV and literally walked from dealership to dealership in 2017 looking for a job in the motor trade. It was Westvaal that came back to me and decided to give me a chance in their used cars sales department in Mbombela where I started to learn about the industry,” says Hein.

Hein was like a fish in water and began to set sales records within the group, and as they say, the rest is history.

The Isuzu dealership and the Hyundai dealership are next to each other.

Asked about business conditions in Barberton, only 50 kilometres from Mbombela, Hein says agriculture and the mining industry are the main economic drivers in the town that only has about four new vehicles franchises. During the COVID pandemic another one closed its doors and left town.

“Competition is stiff. Mbombela is a city, but we have a strong business model, and we deliver all over the country. Our brands are popular and are doing well. At our dealership, we have a number of new appointments and work hard to improve service at all levels.

“I instilled in all our staff, the principle that every person who walks through our door, from a client to someone that might just ask for directions, will be treated with the utmost respect and friendliness.

“When you enter our dealership for whatever reason then, it must be an experience you will remember. One day that person who has just asked for directions might want to buy a new car, and we will make sure he or she remembers us,” Hein tells Dealerfloor.

He concludes by saying that when a team’s leader, like a DP’s personal life, is in order, that positive energy spills over to his workplace and contributes to the effective running and good results of the business.

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