By Debbie Holden 04 Sep 2018 6 min read

A day in the life of an automotive retail manager


John Fitzgerald is a retail manager at Johnsons Hyundai, based in Bootle. He’s worked there for 2 years and has kindly taken the time to share a day in his shoes…


Looking for retail manager roles in the automotive world? Click here to find a job you love


“In August 2016, I started working in sales at Johnsons Hyundai. After a couple of months there, I became senior salesman, helping management to close customers, win business and training new staff. I was quickly growing as a young and keen manager who wanted to make a difference. My role quickly escalated into a Sales Controller, which then resulted in a Retail Manager position. The phone call came on my day off, and naturally I was extremely eager to show my skills, ambition and desire within this role.

Working in sales, I felt like I really excelled, especially because I like dealing with people. My preference is face to face sales, people can see, hear and even feel how genuine I am. It’s really important to care in this role – I listen to their needs and take into consideration what they want.

My main aim as a retail manager is to ensure our company and sales processes are followed at all times. Previous to myself there was a relaxed management style, which resulted in losses for the business last year – something I wasn’t willing to settle for. I worked hard from this point to evaluate my methods, met with as many customers as I could and supported staff profusely. The result was that I smashed my previous results out of the water, and with the rest of the team showing the same ambition, dedication and grit to succeed, we went from the worst Hyundai dealership under Johnson’s Group to the top on profits. Something I was extremely proud of my team for, and still am.


What does your day consist of?

A typical day in my shoes consists of a very early morning, to check the showroom and catch up on emails. I try not to spend too much time on my computer because I like to get involved in my team’s ongoings throughout the day – it keeps me in the know. I always check the previous day from sales, e.g. where did they come from, who’s sale earned the company most or themselves the most. I check our online diary management system, so I can remind staff (they will know themselves), but mainly so they know I am on top of what is going on. I will also remind them to get cars ready for test drives etc.

The delivery schedule will also be checked, as well as the valet system to ensure vehicles are appropriately prepped for our customers. Our team will get together for a morning meeting, which is usually an upbeat message regarding sales. We will also receive online leads, which I then distribute to our team. I work mostly on reward and recognition, so those who have delivered well for me that month are likely to receive these.

I’ll then proceed to meeting some of my staff’s customers just as a friendly face. I find that this shows that we care across the board, and that we value their business. We have found that lots of customers appreciate seeing management during making such a big purchase, and I do think it helps to build a relationship up a notch. It also works as a support mechanism to my sales team – if they feel they’re not having much luck I can always pitch in to provide an expert opinion.

I will also run part-ex appraisals through the day, something my team does very well. When business is quiet, I’ll always look for ways to drive more business, for example liaising with service customers, and I’ll also deal with any complaints made – although I’ve actually only ever had one proper complaint during my time as Retail Manager. Thankfully it was quickly resolved, with a smile!


Anything else?

Other priorities for my day will include account meetings with account managers and directors, one to one’s with my staff, where I will provide coaching, observations, and feedback, and then I usually finish off with diary management, where we track all customers via our diary, listen in on phone calls to deliver feedback, and chase up new leads.


What do you love about your job?

I LOVE watching my team grow. I can truly crack a smile when watching them, because I know how hard it is as a salesman. I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly, and am proud to say that we as a team are now performing way above average. When I see them working hard and together, it makes me proud. We succeed for everyone’s benefit.

There’s an awful lot I love about my role, including the path to progression (looking to continue my career path towards becoming a general manager). It’s well paid and I’m treated very well, which motivates me to achieve. If you’re making the right noises and constantly delivering, it will get you where you want to be. My biggest motivation is my beautiful 1-year old son – he drives my ambition to succeed every day!


What would you say to anyone looking to get in to a similar role?

If there is an opportunity to grow, do it! Climb the career ladder for the right reasons, not just glory! My aim was to get it and then work past general manager level eventually – this is my long term ambition!