Lexus of Chatswood General Sales Manager Sandro Guglielmi has created a booming dealership by empowering his employees and ensuring the best possible customer experience. Italian born, Sandro has lived in Italy, England, and Spain, where he worked in hospitality, running a small business which enabled him to hone his customer-service skills.
His career in the automotive industry began when he moved to Australia in 2003 to work as a sales trainee with Lexus, quickly working his way up the ladder to become general sales manager in 2010. Sandro quickly realised great potential in the brand.
“It wasn’t as famous as Mercedes, BMW or Audi within the luxury space, so I saw an opportunity,” he says. “I love the culture at Lexus because my values align with what it offers. Lexus is not just about the product; it’s about customer experience.
“I don’t build the business; I build the people and they build the business. I encourage my people to think for themselves and make their own decisions.”
Sandro Guglielmi inspires his team to be the best
During his time as a trainee, Sandro felt that support was lacking. “It was always about sale, sale, sale, but not about inspiring me to be my best,” he says. Now in a position of management, Sandro aims to provide a high level of hands-on coaching and support for his employees.
“Now I lead by example and I empower my people: I train them to be the best they can be. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
“I never hire people who have been in the industry before because they come with bad habits. I hire based on attitude, and I love people who have a background in hospitality, because I’ve been there and I know that it’s all about customer service. If they come with the right attitude, I can coach them and develop their skills along the way.”
Lexus of Chatswood wins with a customer-centric mentality
“Since I’ve been with Lexus, we’ve been the number one Lexus dealer in the country for 11 consecutive years, and we’re just about to get the twelfth too,” says Sandro. He credits these wins to his customer-centric business model. “Being a Japanese company, Lexus has a renowned reputation for quality manufacturing, craftsmanship and attention to detail. However, we have also won multiple awards in Australia for being the number one manufacturer when it comes to customer service.
“We constantly reinvest in our community. Going back to our Japanese roots, our mission is to treat customers as we would guests in our own home,” Sandro explains. “The Japanese mentality and philosophy is very customer-centric, so it’s not by coincidence that we’ve been the number one Lexus dealer in the country for almost 12 years. We do sell a lot of cars, but it’s because we do the right thing by our customers that they keep coming back to us.”
Sandro says his biggest challenge is always people. “They are our greatest asset and our greatest challenge at the same time. You’re always going to have people who leave and must be replaced. I’m lucky to have a core group of people who have been with me for about eight years and whom I can rely on to help fill the gaps. I align myself with people who share my values. For me, the real reward is seeing the people I have coached succeed.”
“People want to deal with people.”
Looking to the future, Sandro says that technology is inescapable. “It is replacing almost everything. Our people are very important, so instead of replacing them with technology, we encourage them to use technology to do their jobs better,” says Sandro.
“We recently partnered with a company to improve our customer retention management system, as we move away from automated emails and towards more personalised communication. Our staff now have a global app on their phone allowing them to quickly communicate with customers even when they’re away from their desk.
“Innovation is crucial in this industry. You need to be competitive or you’ll be left behind. Technology must be the latest and greatest, particularly in luxury cars,” says Sandro. Many car manufacturers are racing towards the future of driverless cars and car-sharing. “We are getting close to this reality but, in my experience, customers still want a face-to-face relationship with their dealer. They want to be able to pick up the phone and call someone they can trust. People want to deal with people.”
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