- Some salespeople have been selling cars at Bob Weaver for nearly 25 years.
- This veteran sales staff helps the dealer retain customers and builds dealership loyalty.
- Sales loyalty also benefits the service department.
POTTSVILLE, Pennsylvania — Nearly 40 percent of the car salespeople hired at dealerships will not be working there 90 days later, according to data from the National Automobile Dealers Association. That is not the case at all dealerships, however, and certainly not at Bob Weaver Chevrolet Buick GMC. Nearly half the sales force at Bob Weaver has been with the store for more than seven years, with some of the more seasoned salespeople working at the dealership for well over 20 years.
The culture of longevity within the dealership isn't exclusive to the salespeople. The general manager, service managers and accountants have also been at the location for years. The longest-tenured employee has been with the company since the early 1970s.
Geraldine (Gerry) Hughes has been selling cars with the dealership for nearly 25 years, and has received the General Motors Mark of Excellence award for the last eight years. GM gives the award to the top performers for the brand in sales volume and customer service scores.
It makes sense that Hughes would sell lots of cars, according to Bobby Weaver, Internet sales manager at the dealership and son of the owner.
He attributes her ability to retain customers not only to good selling skills, but also to the personal relationships she builds with her customers, keeping up with her clients for years after the deal is done.
"Gerry regularly follows up with her customers," he says. "She sends her customers newsletters, seasonal recipes, things like that. Her customer follow-up is incredible."
Steve Eckley is another salesperson who has been selling cars for more than 20 years with Bob Weaver. And like Hughes, Eckley has won the Mark of Excellence award numerous times. Eckley's success is also largely because of the personal relationships he builds, Weaver says. In fact, Eckley has such good relationships with past customers it almost seems he comes to work to meet up with friends, Weaver says.
These kinds of relationships pay off handsomely for the dealership, according to Weaver. "We have a few customers that have purchased more than eight vehicles from the same salesperson," Weaver says. One family has purchased more than 20 cars from the dealership, he says.
Having these long-term employees helps customers feel comfortable buying cars at the store, which means they use and trust the service department, too. It's not uncommon for customers to drive into the service department and just hand the service advisor their keys, trusting that the advisor will take care of them, Weaver says
Bob Weaver Chevrolet Buick GMC is not a mega-dealer and it's not on an auto row. That's OK, Weaver says. He says the store's goal is to be a great place to work and a great place for its customers to buy cars. The dealership's vision statement is "The Way You Want to Be Treated, Every Time," Weaver says. "And that's not just for our customers, but for our employees, too."
Edmunds says: In this close-knit town of 14,000, Bob Weaver Chevrolet Buick GMC grows its business by nurturing long-term relationships with both its customers and employees.