While some people see auto sales as a starter job, something to do until “something better” comes along, “I always saw it as a career,” says Melissa Jakoby, General Sales Manager of Abbotsford Volkswagen, one of 10 dealerships at Abbotsford’s Fraser Valley Auto Mall. “For me, this is my ‘something better.’”
Armed with an undergraduate degree in economics and a masters degree in marketing, Jakoby launched her career 30 years ago with Volkswagen in Brazil. Today, three decades on, “I love cars, I always did,” she says.
But more than that, “I hate to be just mediocre,” she says with a laugh. “No matter what you do, if you have drive, you can succeed.”
Of course, that means more than simply selling cars; it’s about building relationships. “Today, I’m working with the grandchildren of some of my first clients,” Jakoby notes.
For Tammie Hamilton, Service Manager at MSA Ford, the scope of the industry continues to provide a career that’s both rewarding and challenging.
“You can go in so many directions, depending on what your interests and career goals are,” she notes.
Since starting as a lot porter as a teen, Hamilton has worked in a variety of roles, and appreciates her longstanding connections, both with her team and clients.
Industry changes have also been driven by changes in vehicles themselves. Thanks to both technological and mechanical innovations, one person is no longer an expert in all aspects of servicing and repair, meaning teams are working collaboratively more than ever before – something Hamilton also appreciates.
“The industry has changed so much that there’s not one person who can do it all or answer all your questions. The key is to know where to go to find the answers,” she says.
Whether in service or sales, seeing women in what has traditionally been perceived as a male industry is welcome for many clients.
At Open Road Toyota, all of three of the sales management positions are held by women who bring many years of industry experience and insights.
Beyond that experience, they’re also fully engaged in the dealership’s philosophy of actively listening to fully understand clients’ needs and goals, rather than simply listening to make a sale, says General Manager Brian Choo.
“Female customers have observed that we have a number of women here at all levels. There’s a good energy and a welcome dynamic for both the team and customers.”
The Fraser Valley Auto Mall is home to 10 full-service franchise dealerships, offering vehicle shoppers and owners convenient access to all their automotive needs. Learn more at fvautomall.com