Hatfield VW Pretoria announced its new car sales manager recently, in what some may say is an unusual move, as Christelle Nel was the former Finance and Insurance (F&I) manager at the same dealership for more than 16 years.
According to Hatfield Motor Group Managing Director, Brad Kaftel, it was a logical step in Nel’s career path, even though it is uncommon for most F&Is to pivot to this new role. “From management’s side, she has been on our radar for a long time, which culminated in her attending the VW Leadership and Development Programme (LDP) and passing that with flying colours,” he told Dealerfloor.
When interviewed, Nel told Dealerfloor that the LDP was a game changer. “As F&I for 17 years at Hatfield VW Pretoria, I have to admit that I was no longer challenged. That all changed when I realised that I could do so much more when it comes to personal growth,” Nel said. According to her, spending time with DPs and sales managers during the LDP, made her aware of her own potential and inner drive.
“As a woman in a still male-dominated industry, I realised that I could bring something different to the sales team where empathy and emotional intelligence could go a long way in true customer satisfaction and employee motivation,” Nel said. “If I can give encouraging advice to young girls starting new careers, it is to never think you are not good enough, because you are.”
Notwithstanding a host of new ideas and changes, she explained that she believes a manager should be conscious of the contributions fellow colleagues and employees can bring to the think tank, planning to involve her team consisting 29 employees.
“I truly believe one must invest in people, whether they work with or for you, or are customers buying from you,” Nel said. “To put it more accurately, our relationship with a customer really only begins when he or she drives off the dealer floor with a new car,” she enthused.
Nel is grateful for the opportunity she was given by the Hatfield Motor Group and said she appreciated the fact that so many of her peers and colleagues wanted to see her succeed. “Knowing this, gives me a lot of confidence to go about the new job, but without the support of your family at home, many women are set-up for failure,” she said. “I am blessed to have that support, and it truly motivates me to make a success of this new chapter in my life.”
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