Dedication makes the difference
In the car sales industry, high staff turnoveris common. People move up and move on, sometimes to a different location, sometimes to a different brand, but in eachcase seeking something else. So it’s a breath of fresh air when you meet someone who hasn’t been all over the map, and whose staff has stayed with him. Brent Scobie, General Manager of Hallmark Toyota in Orangeville, is that kind of person.
Now into his 24th year at Hallmark, Brent – as with so many successful managers – started off as low man on the totem and worked his way up through various positions for the company. After only one year of selling cars for the first time, management approached him about becoming the New Car Manager. Brent was concerned that he didn’t have the experience to do the job well, but the managers saw promise and were able to talk him into taking the offer anyway. Onward and upward, he was finally made General Manager in 1999, six years after becoming a partner in the company.
Others at Hallmark have extended tenures, as well. Brent says even the newest of his sales team has been at Hallmark for two years, he rhymes off a few employees who have collectively been with the dealership for over 40 years, and Parts and Service Manager Jamie Houghton has been there for as long as Brent has. He says it’s the staff’s dedication to the brand and customers that make all the difference.
“Our biggest strength, attribute, and contribution to the public is about our customer service,” Brent says. “It’s all about the customer.”
Hallmark opened in 1983, and Brent confirms that it still has customers who were original Hallmark vehicle owners, speaking volumes about not only people’s loyalty to the brand as a whole, but to Hallmark particularly. That loyalty goes so far in some cases as to be passed along from one generation to the next. “I just spoke to a young lady last week, who was looking at a new Corolla,” Brent says, “and I was telling her how it would be nice for her to continue the tradition of buying from here that was started by her grandmother and carried on by her father.”
Hallmark’s customer-focused efforts for sales and service have earned the dealership the highest honours Toyota offers: the Pinnacle Award. Started in 2008, Toyota’s Pinnacle Award is given annually to the national location that has earned the highest customer ratings for sales and service. Hallmark won it three years in a row. While the average rating for Toyota dealerships across the nation is 87 out of a possible 100 percent, Hallmark customers rate it at 93 percent.
Brent is quick to chalk up that high ranking to his staff. “It’s because of our honesty and professionalism. Our technicians are very well trained, including two master technicians. Our advisers can be trusted, and our technicians fix it right the first time. What makes us differenton the sales side is we do have that steady, consistent staff, so when the customer comes in, they know us. Our main focus is not to just sell a car, but to find one that meets the customer’s needs best. Overall, from our admin to receptionist to service advisers – all of our front end staff – when customers walk into the showroom or service department, they immediately feel the good impressions that the building brings. My goal every day is to make sure that every customer who comes in has a good experience.”
That wishing to pass on good experience extends into Brent’s and Hallmark’s community support. “Our goal is sponsorships: sports, clubs, the hospital, organizations, charities… we have a ‘Don’t Say No’ policy: if you’re running an event, we’re going to help you. If you’re doing something to help the community, we’re not going to say no.”
Perhaps that’s in part because it’s Brent’s community, as well. “We live here. I brought my kids up here. I moved to Orangeville when I started working at Hallmark, and it’s been a wonderful community for my wife and I to bring up our two children. And with the amount of recreation here – I ski and golf, cycle, and curl… all locally – Dufferin County couldn’t be a better place to live and work.”
Written by Reay Jespersen