Everything must be done as a matter of urgency. This can make all the difference in business, especially during these challenging times for the motor retail industry.
This is the management philosophy of Paul Kok, the Dealer Principal at NTT Volkswagen and Audi Kimberley, a leadership strategy that set the dealership on a new path since he took over the reins in 2019.
“I genuinely believe every aspect of our business must be treated with a sense of urgency and a mindset of ‘let us do it immediately’, he tells Dealerfloor. With this approach, nothing can fall through the cracks and it guarantees success to a large extent.
“The approach of doing something immediately lifts all the activities, with the result that our output in terms of sales increased significantly over the last two years, notwithstanding the effect of the pandemic on business.
“We follow up every lead immediately. We contact our client base regularly, not only for possible sales, but to get vehicles into the workshop for servicing and maintenance, rather earlier than late and still within the boundaries of the of specified time intervals.
Paul says the current low interest rate is a positive tool to get people into vehicles. This allows us to structure deals to get a potential buyer into a more expensive vehicle that is available without a substantial difference in the monthly instalment.
“We look seriously at offerings we have on the used vehicles side to make a transaction happen where the availability of new stock is a problem. Some customers put down a deposit and are willing to wait. The problem is on the more luxurious side where customers spec their vehicle to a certain level. This could take weeks and months in normal circumstances and now even longer,” Paul says.
Asked if the large area of responsibility for their dealership is a negative factor, Paul says no, rather the opposite.
“Not only does it guarantee a broader base to sell, but it stimulates our workshop when it comes to servicing and maintenance as we are the only dealership in a very large geographical area stretching north, west (all the way to the west coast) and south with Bloemfontein in the east the closest big city or town to Kimberley.
“The good seasonal rain so far is good news for the agricultural sector around Kimberley, and the expansion of the diamond giant, De Beers, in the region is also good news for the city. Furthermore, the provincial government departments in Kimberley are big clients of motor retailers.
“Even our locally built volume sellers like the VW Polo and VW Vivo are scarce now, and across the different ranges of VW and Audi, the crippling effect is severely felt. Our Amarok bakkies are faring well, but stock is also putting damper on this commercial part of our business,” says Paul.
Paul, a keen golfer, loves the farming life and spending time with his three daughters. He has a long career with Volkswagen and Audi, filling various positions at different dealerships of the manufacturer in Pretoria and East-London.
And his wish for the future? “My aim is to work hard to achieve year-on-year growth in our business,” Paul concludes.
A family business dating back to the 1940s in the Karoo town of Victoria West led to the establishment of two Ford dealerships in the town and neighbouring De Aar.
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