Hi. It’s Amy from Think Creative. I’m here today with Jimmy from Mercedes-Benz of Flagstaff. Hi, Jimmy. How are you today?
I am doing very well, Amy. How are you?
I’m fantastic, actually. So Jimmy, you’re the sales manager here at Mercedes-Benz, huh?
That’s correct. Sales manager for Mercedes-Benz of Flagstaff. Beautiful Flagstaff.
Beautiful Flagstaff. That’s true. I’m looking out your window right now and the sky is just amazing here. I just keep wanting to take pictures of it.
That is one of the great benefits of working up here.
Yeah. I can–
Beautiful sky, beautiful people. It’s wonderful. It’s why they say, “Luxury elevated.”
Luxury elevated. I like that.
It is a true statement, yes.
So what about the elevation?
What about the elevation?
What about the elevation? I just–
We’re in a different– we’re in a different climate. The elevation is higher, but that means it’s a little bit cooler, right? We get snow. We get all the seasons. It’s a little bit different than being down in, let’s say, the Phoenix metro area.
Where you get hot.
Yes. Because this is like the getaway? And that’s something that’s nice too because we can have– a lot of our customer base are out of a little bit hotter places, right? And this is a nice, let’s say, haven. A refuge. This is a place for– you can come take a break from the heat. Beat the heat coming up here. And you really can. You can soak up all the landscape. It is beautiful up here.
Yeah. It is gorgeous.
And like what you said, everybody– you look at the sky and it’s gorgeous.
You look at the mountains. I mean, and Flagstaff it’s the highest point in Arizona. The mountain range up here is just– but it is gorgeous, though. It is beautiful.
So you come, have a relaxing time, and get a Mercedes-Benz.
That’s right. That’s right.
All right. So tell us about you.
You can go back as far as you want about who you are and how you got started in this industry.
Okay. Well, I work for Mercedes-Benz of Flagstaff. Sales manager, as you stated. But I think we’re part of a team, part of something bigger here. So Mercedes-Benz of Flagstaff’s been around since, I believe it’s May of 2015. We are developing a culture, and we’re changing things up with the way you buy a car, especially in Flagstaff, Northern Arizona. But for me, I’m glad to be part of this team. I started in the car business back in 2003. And I was a lot attendant for a totally different company. And I worked my way through the ranks and ended up at a high level. And I had an opportunity to come over to work for Martin Automotive Group, back a handful of years ago. Recruited by Mr. [Mansder?]. He’s a good friend. And [Trampis?] had told me, “You need to come over. You need to come over.” And just as a little insight on me in the car business, this is the second company I’ve worked for. So nothing against anybody who has worked for multiple, multiple different places, but I have an extreme loyalty bone. I think that–
Yeah. It sounds like it.
–once you team up with the right place, you find a home and you build something. And it’s yours. And it’s ours. And it’s growing. And it’s great to be a part of that. Whether it’s a significant or insignificant part, it’s good to be a part of something great. And this is a– excuse me. This is a great team to be part of, so. Being in the business for over 15 years, it’s something you learn a lot too. You learn about experiences from different companies philosophies, and I guess, working with all sorts of different customer bases. Which is nice being in Flagstaff because we do have a wide range of customers that we work with. Not everybody’s coming in to buy the 125, 135,000 dollar Mercedes-Benz new S 560 or something along those lines. We sell such a beautiful product and such a wide range of vehicles, that we get to deal with so many different people and it’s really, really fun.
But you cultivate all this– so you take all the experience that you gain throughout years of being in the business, right? And you mold it into something that, through experiences, makes you better. And that’s what’s nice being part of Martin Automotive Group, Mercedes-Benz of Flagstaff. It is a luxury elevated. It is an experience that no one can top. It is going the extra mile. It is making sure, whether it’s a customer that just walked through the doors– we like to think of people as, when you work with Mercedes-Benz of Flagstaff, you’re not only a client– you’re not only a customer –you’re part of the family. And you should be treated as such. So it is a different culture. So using all the years and years and years of working with different people and different philosophies, like I said before with different dealerships– different companies –this is a beautiful thing to be part of. So you have to set the stage for everybody. And for management down to everybody, we’re all part of the same team. We all grow together. We all learn together. And we all make mistakes together. But you have to learn from them. Right? So that’s kind of a big thing. But no. I think I’ve had the opportunity to do some great things in the car business, and it’s been fun. It’s been great.
You like it.
When you’re a people person it makes it easy, right?
Yeah. Definitely. So is that what you think has helped you to excel is being a people person in the car business?
I’m not very talkative. No. I’m just–
Oh. Are you sure?
I think so. I think so. I’m a genuine person. I care. I want to make sure that somebody’s had a great experience or a good time or is having it’s– when somebody walks in, you want to make sure somebody is not only greeted quickly but offered the wide arrange of amenities that come with this dealership. We’ve got a luxury customer lounge. We have a wide assortment of not only drinks and treats that just a great way to make sure somebody’s comfortable. You see so many different people walk in for so many different needs as well. I mean, we have people that walk in just to see the dealership because it’s beautiful. Right?
It’s gorgeous. Yeah.
With this brand-new facility it really is state of the art. It encompasses everything that Mercedes-Benz is.
Yeah. It really does. Yeah.
And that motto, that saying is, “Driven to delight. Best or nothing.” And with us, we try to reach that to the fullest every single day. So it’s a high bar, but we shoot and we try to make it on target. And I believe that we do a great job with it.
So we had a great opportunity last night with our grand opening event. We had a huge showing of people. That was awesome. What did you think?
I thought it was phenomenal. Yeah, there was. It was a great showing of people. It was very, kind of, classy. But still–
What’d you think about the– what did you think about the mentalist? Did you see the mentalist?
I didn’t, actually. How was that?
You didn’t? Oh, it was awesome. But I mean, they had different personalities here and a wide range. But it shows that our customer base, our clientele, our family, is a wide range and it is awesome to be part of. You really do get a good mix of everybody, and it was awesome. It was a great event. But I think that what that did was a bang. That was a big old explosion for everybody yelling, “We’re here.”
Yes. Absolutely. Mercedes-Benz of Flagstaff is here.
So whether we’ve been here three years or not, we’ve just arrived.
We’re here now.
But no, it’s– I’m so excited that happened. It’s a privilege to be part of that because it was something that was really exciting. It was like fireworks.
A lot of the things you were talking about you could really feel in the atmosphere last night, so.
Sure. And I agree with you there. I do. I really do.
So one of the things you mentioned about the– you have this gourmet bar, snacks, drinks.
I don’t think I said gourmet bar.
Okay. Sorry. No bar.
I think I said luxury customer lounge.
[inaudible]. Luxury customer lounge with treats. So I noticed there were some gourmet dog cookies there. Can you talk a little bit about how you’re a pet-friendly dealership? What does that even mean?
Hold on. I will definitely, without a doubt, Amy, I’ll tell you about all that. But are you saying I ate one of those cookies?
I did not say that.
Is that what you’re insinuating? I think the look on your face is saying–
What do they taste like? Tell me what they taste like, Jimmy.
What do they taste like, Jimmy? You look like a guy that would eat a dog cookie.
No. I did not.
But I have seen a couple people eat them after. No. But it is pet-friendly. We’ve got gourmet dog treats. And they are not just little trinkets, they are–
Yes. They are amazing. They are incredible. We’re a dog-friendly– we’re people friendly. We are friendly on everything. And it’s inviting. And it should be that way. You should feel like when you walk into a place that you are comfortable. And that’s what that’s about. I know they’re for animals, but are we not close to our animals?
Right. I mean, if you love your– if somebody is loving your dog, that means a lot to you.
Without a doubt. I agree with that. So we are very pet-friendly. We are very– you can walk in. You can not only get a treat for yourself. You get a treat for your animal. You can take one in a little doggy bag. I guess that’s a horrible pun. That was bad. You need to edit that part because–
No. But no. That’s what it’s about, though. It’s about being friendly all the way around, so. This is a beautiful dealership, though. We have– just speaking from our previous location– and it was always a temporary facility. It always was, but it was a very nice location. It had to be upgraded and up to the standards of Mercedes, which are very high. The standards of Mercedes-Benz are high for a reason, though. Because it’s like our motto, the luxury elevated. It has to be because you can’t be a company, a dealership, with the name of Mercedes-Benz on it and do a poor quality or miss the bar every once in a while. You might be a high achiever. The bar has been raised. The standard is higher, and you have to hold yourself to that, without a doubt. So that’s something that’s– I’m not going to say that’s something that is tough. It’s something that holds you to a standard, that makes you better. So it’s rising to the occasion. So there is an expectation that also comes on our clients. Their expectation is I need to be treated this way. I’m buying a premium vehicle, I need a premium experience. So that’s what we aim to deliver every single day. That’s something that we really want to get that point across.
Premium experience. Yeah.
I think we have a staff that delivers that. I believe that–
It’s a great staff.
Yeah. Yeah. I believe that we are well-rounded. Kind of like the party again last night. You see a wide mix of customers. How great is it for a customer who comes in, and they usually deal with maybe another dealer in town, but they see our awesome-priced vehicle that’s maybe a Honda or a Ford or whatever non-Mercedes, right? And they come in and they’re used to a run-of-the-mill, middle-of-the-road experience, right? And we deliver like we do on everybody, and they go, “I am never going back anywhere else. I’m coming here. They have won my business. They have gained my loyalty because they delivered.” And it blew their expectations out of the water. That’s what that standard is.
Yeah. That’s amazing.
That’s what the standard is.
That’s a really good point.
When you have a customer who calls and he’s saying, “Hey. I was speaking to you when we purchased our new Mercedes-Benz C 300 and you said you would come pick it up, if I ever got too busy at work, to do an oil change. To do my scheduled maintenance. I just wanted to let you know, thank you. Your employee picked it up yesterday, brought me a service loaner car from the courtesy vehicle fleet, and brought it back.” That’s how we deliver. That’s how we win everything.
That’s incredible service. Yeah.
That’s the standard, though. And that’s the expectation out of Mercedes-Benz Flagstaff. That’s the expectation set out of Martin Automotive Group is to go above and beyond and to hold ourselves to those standards. So if that doesn’t make you better, what does? It could be intimidating coming in and looking at that from employment wise, right? You’re going, “I don’t know if I can deliver.” That just means that we get quality staff. We get quality employees. Our sales representatives, our sales and leasing experts, our consultants, our product concierge, our accounting, our business staff, all the way to our service department, our service advisors, our service managers, our certified Mercedes-Benz technicians, that’s the same philosophy all the way around. Isn’t that nice? Isn’t that just a well-rounded, 360 degrees of full– you really get taken care of at a high standard. That’s what we do. What else can I say? I think we should just shut it off right now and [crosstalk].
All right. So here, you said that it could be kind of intimidating coming in as an employee to being held to such high standards. Although, obviously, I think that will bring in the kind of employee that you want.
Without a doubt.
Yeah. So what’s the training process like for employees here?
Our training process? Are you saying– let’s say I’m Johnny Greenguy, day one, right?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
So we do have a– I almost said the word boot camp. That’s not true. I’m just messing with you. We have a quality process to where you want to make sure that when you have– I guess, the face of the company is your sales representatives. That’s your front line. That’s me. That’s Steve and A.J. That’s all of us. That’s what we do, right? We need to make sure that that standard is up there and we have to train that standard because like I was kind of mentioning before, it could be intimidating. That’s why we get quality people because you have to be enveloped in that whole process. You have to be trained that process. So it starts at day one. It really does. It starts from learning the correct way to talk to a customer, greeting them. Making sure that you learn their names because are those names not important? You need to be able to not only build relationships, rapport but be able to genuinely be involved with the customer. Because this is a big decision. It’s a huge decision. In most cases, you’ll see a lot of different things where it says buying a car is probably the second biggest purchase a customer makes in their life. A lot of the times it’s the biggest purchase, right? Is that fair to say?
Right. Because some people don’t buy a house.
We’re not buying a house. Or a big yacht. Right? Or a houseboat. Right? But this is a big purchase. But regardless how big the purchase is, whether it’s a $10,000 purchase or $160,000 purchase, you’ll get the same experience from a quality sales and leasing consultant. The training is evident in the way we treat our customers. It’s learning how to be professional through quality. Identifying what customers are looking for and fact-finding. Looking through their different wants and needs through assessments. And making sure that we do a– not skip any steps, let’s say. That all starts from point A with our fresh new hire– our fresh addition to our sales staff. And it is something that we literally do one-on-one training and we make sure that they go through a certification process through Mercedes-Benz. There’s a lot of opportunities that come up to where we can send our sales staff to additional training through Mercedes-Benz corporate. To where we can send them to– one of these events is called a brand immersion, which it means exactly what it is. You’re being immersed in the Mercedes-Benz brand. Isn’t that exciting?
Yeah. That would be incredible.
So at that point– wouldn’t that be great? You could literally be somebody that’s been in the automotive business on the retailing side for 30 days and go to a 3-day retreat where you get to go to the plant of Mercedes-Benz where they build the cars. And go race the AMG performance vehicles, like the GLS 63 or something along the lines of a– I don’t know. It could really be anything. It could be anything with that AMG. That sport racing. That high-performance vehicle. But you really do, you get immersed in the brand. But I would say that at the end of the day, it’s about quality inspection. Inspecting what you’d expect. If our expectations are high, our inspections must be high. Because whether your new addition to the sales staff is a seasoned pro, Mercedes-Benz is a different level. It’s the top of the stairs. It’s the top of the skyscraper. Right? It’s the top level.
It’s the top level. Yeah.
You’ve got to make sure you can take into those standards. And a lot of it is through experience, so. No. We have a great training process here. We want to make sure that everybody understands the product. It’s hard to build value in something or demonstrate the great value of Mercedes-Benz without understanding the product. So there’s a lot of– there’s a lot of learning that comes with it. And a lot of patience because there’s a lot of different things on Mercedes-Benz. You can give one model in so many different ways. They’re almost all unique. If that makes any sense. You get so many different options with so many different lines and premium packages and different safety features on one model. And you do that on the full line of Mercedes-Benz, you literally need to be a walking encyclopedia of useful information. So there is a lot of product training that goes along with it. And that’s a learning– that’s something that you will not learn in a week or two weeks or three months. That’s something that grows. That’s something you build on.
But I think one of the things– we were in a training maybe about a week ago and it was one of those deals where I had mentioned to one of our newer additions to our sales staff, if you don’t know the answer, raise your hand and say, “I don’t know this answer, but I’m going to find out for you.” But it’s those type of things. We want to make sure the information we give is 100% accurate. And if it’s not, don’t give it. Find the right answer and answer the question because it’s very important. We want to keep the process transparent. We want to make sure that it is literally a black and white deal. No gray areas. Whether it’s driving the vehicle, finding the perfect vehicle, going through financing options, or making sure that after the vehicle is being detailed and washed– your quality delivery and walk around, and showing the customer, demonstrating all the points in the vehicle –are done. It’s the full deal. It’s the full deal. And it doesn’t stop there though with us. We are something that’s a full– I mean, it is literally a full service because like I mentioned before, we’ll have somebody that calls in and we go pick up their car. And we bring it back and do a maintenance on it. And that’s our sales staff doing it for the service department. The service department would do it as well, but that’s the quality we want to ensure.
And that also shows your teamwork like you were talking about before.
For sure. You can’t do it unless everybody’s on the same page.
On the same page.
I like to think of it as a big canoe.
A big canoe? Okay.
A big canoe. So you think about this big canoe, and you’ve got 20 people in it. Right? How frustrating would it be if you were the lead guy or gal, the lead person in that canoe and you’re paddling so hard, and you look at the very back and somebody’s just dragging their hands through the water, right? You want to make sure everybody’s paddling. And not only paddling but paddling in the right direction. That’s important. Right?
That’s very important.
If not, you’ll just either not get anywhere or just spin in circles. So the way to move forward, the way we’ve been doing this is quality all the way around and everybody pushing daily to gain ground and to progress.
I love that. Thank you so much for your time today. I don’t think anybody should have any questions about why they should come visit Mercedes-Benz of Flagstaff because you covered it pretty well. All right. Well, we’ll talk to you again. Thanks.
Thank you so much.