It’s been a while since our last Ask Patty interview, but we are back again with a great interview with Aretta Sevastakis from Crown Eurocars Mercedes Benz
in St. Petersburg, Florida. Aretta has won the Customer Satisfaction
Award for the fourth year in a row! Congrats Aretta! Crown Eurocars is
a new Ask Patty Female Friendly dealership as well!
ASKPATTY: Can you tell us a little bit about your job with Crown Mercedes?
Aretta: I am a sales and leasing representative for new Mercedes Benz.
ASKPATTY: What is the biggest challenge you face as a woman working in the automotive industry?
Aretta: At the first dealership I worked at there was only two of us compared to 20 men. What is rare about Crown Eurocars- Mercedes Benz is that the ratio is 50/50.
ASKPATTY: What made you decide to work in the automotive industry?
Aretta: Aside from the fact that I love to drive, I worked in video production as a career and purchased my first brand new car. The dealership became my client and I produced their training and promotional videos. I spent days at their dealerships following sales people and managers around for production shoots. After the infomercial I produced for them won the dealership an Advertising Cable Award they asked me to join their sales team. As far as they were concerned I was already "trained and part of the team."
ASKPATTY: What is some advice you would give a young woman who is interested in working in the industry?
Aretta: Be prepared for long hours in the beginning, know your product and keep in touch with your customers. You will get intimidated, frustrated and rejected. Believe in yourself and don't give up. Go find your women buyers since they are easier sales and women are willing to help you succeed. Let everyone you know what you sell. It is your own business so market yourself.
ASKPATTY: What if any are the big changes in how car dealerships and manufacturers are marketing to women?
Aretta: I have heard about a program in Ohio where students and guidance counselors visit dealerships to learn more about careers that are offered. I know that women are still a minority in the design of the automobile but the industry is trying to change that.
ASKPATTY: You were recently awarded Best Salesperson in the Best of the Bay 2006 article in Creative Loafing. They mentioned hanging out with you was like being with a friend. What makes your sales tactic different?
Aretta: I don’t think my sales tactic is different. Every salesperson has a style. I try to embrace the customer as a friend-an intelligent friend- from the moment I greet them. I find out about them. Where they’re from, what they do, and of course their wants and needs in their new Mercedes Benz. Everyone you meet can teach you something. I never hesitate to ask a business professional how they achieved their success and what attribute they would associate their achievements with.
ASKPATTY: Are women different buyers and shoppers than men?
Aretta: Women tend to discuss safety and gas mileage. Men lean toward performance and horsepower. Keep in mind they both want to be treated fairly and honestly. I also find that women are more enthusiastic about their purchase.
ASKPATTY: What is the best tip for someone trying to sell a car to a woman buyer?
Aretta: Listen to what they tell you they want. When they ask, answer honestly. Don’t patronize or pressure them. Married or not, you have a 80% chance that they are the decision maker. Women also are by far, your best referrals.
ASKPATTY: What is some advice you would give someone before they buy a car?
Aretta:Spend some time on AskPatty.com Do your homework. Research the cars you are considering buying and know your credit score before you go shopping so that you know what you qualify for in a lease or purchase.