What it takes to be the best of the best

To be awarded the best of the best, especially when competing against other brands, takes a focused team effort second to none. It is like a rugby game, on the field the captain decides the strategy, if the rest of the players follow the plan, success is a given.

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Dealerfloor spoke to the “captain” of the team at NTT Toyota Groblersdal, Neille Faber, about this dealership’s prestigious national achievement.

NTT Toyota Groblersdal just walked away with the top honours in the MSX NADA 2020 Business of the Year Awards known as BOTY for exceptional performance in the only independent validation of dealership profitability of more than 1 500 franchised dealers across South Africa.

Top honours meant the Polokwane dealership is not only one of the five category winners, but was also awarded Overall Winner of the Year, besides winning the category for best Private Group for dealers owned by companies where the equity is privately held.

Neille Faber, Dealer Principal at the award-winning NTT Toyota Groblersdal.

An immensely proud Neille Faber, the Dealer Principal at NTT Toyota Groblersdal since 2002, tells Dealerfloor their NOW motto or slogan paved the way the dealership functioned during the last calendar year, probably the most difficult year for everyone. He says while the pandemic is still hampering the way we live and do business, they will continue with their successful NOW approach.

“The NOW approach simply means act now on what you have control over. The pandemic creates circumstances that we can do nothing about. But there’s a lot that we can do. We just have to do it NOW, with immediate effect and with a sense of urgency,” says Neille.

“For example. We cannot control the stock we receive. But we do make the most of what we receive by ensuring every single transaction is as profitable as possible. Press for fewer cash transactions, boost financed transactions, no discounts, selling insurance products, selling accessories, follow every single lead and keep in contact with existing clients who might be in the market for a new or additional vehicle.

The busy workshop at NTT Toyota Groblersdal is one of the key drivers of its profitability.

“In terms of the workshop, clients must feel it is a safe environment in terms of COVID-19. We put all possible measures in place in this regard, and cars are thoroughly sanitised after a service or repair. We created a system to fetch vehicles from the clients and deliver them after a service. This all adds up to excellent customer relations and client retention,” he tells Dealerfloor.

“To achieve what we have been recognised for by this award boils down to looking financially at each transaction and component of the business and not emotionally. When normality returns to society, the current plan and methods will have to be adapted, but many of lessons learned now will in future be part and parcel of the way we do business,” says Neille.

Asked about the business environment in Groblersdal, he says the challenges in terms of service delivery and infrastructure prevail as in the case of most other towns and cities across the greater part of the country.

“We are involved and assist where we can. Our focus is on schools, including needy schools that face different struggles, and we have a broad presence of community involvement, from the SAPS and municipalities to sport,” he says.

Finalising a transaction at NTT Toyota Groblersdal.

Neille says he has been with Toyota dealerships all his life, and he considers the founder of the NTT Group, Fred Whelpton, who has more than 40 dealerships across South Africa, as his mentor in the automotive retail industry.

He says when he is not busy at the dealership, he enjoys restoring vintage motorcycles. He was also involved in some rugby coaching at school level and still does a little bit of bass fishing and now and then he plays some golf.

A view of the dealership, situated on the outskirts of town.
  • Groblersdal, which is located some 150 kilometres from Pretoria, has a strong agricultural footprint with irrigation farming from the Loskop Dam and Olifants River. NTT Toyota Groblersdal is the result of the unification of the Toyota dealerships in Marble Hall and Groblersdal in 2002 and falls in the medium size category of Toyota’s classification of its dealerships.

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