Oftentimes when Shawnee Mission Kia General Manager Darrell Thompson is finishing up paperwork, he sees two or three sales people still working.
Shawnee Mission Kia’s used car sales lot at 7810 Shawnee Mission Parkway in Overland Park closes at 8 p.m.
“They are getting the lot ready for the next day,” Thompson said. “They get cars ready for service and arrange the lot so our inventory looks fresh. These guys are our front line. They dictate the store’s success. All we do is supply the cars.”
The 11-person sales staff that Thompson praised for its daily dedication was rewarded Nov. 13 for being No. 1 in the Central Region in the third quarter (July 1 through Sept. 30) in Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) sales.
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The Central Region comprises 13 states, ranging from Minnesota to Michigan to Kentucky and includes Kansas and Missouri. During the third quarter, Shawnee Mission Kia had 140 CPO sales.
CPO sales are Kia-only vehicles that are less than 5 years old and with fewer than 60,000 miles. Each car has to go through a 160-point inspection for Kia.
“It comes with a 10-year, 100,000 mile warranty,” Thompson said. “When you purchase a new Kia, you get a 10-year, 100,000 warranty from the manufacturer. That is not valid for the second owner, so when you purchase a certified, pre-owned it reinstates the 10-year, 100,000. It is the next best thing to buying a new vehicle.”
A little less than a year ago, Thompson said, Shawnee Mission Kia made a concerted effort to improve its CPO sales.
“We were doing a decent job prior to that but we really made a target to be number one in the region,” Thompson said. “We decided CPO was the best, most efficient and most profitable for the dealer and best benefit to the customer.
“It was more of a two-year goal and it happened in less than a year. It means the world to us.”
Smiles were aplenty when Matthew Donovan, Central Region district sales manager for Kia, spoke highly of Shawnee Mission Kia’s achievement and handed out several awards to the staff.
“We are here to thank you for everything you do,” Donovan said to the sales staff. “We know it is not easy to be No. 1 in the entire region. It takes a lot of time to work with customers and build trust and grow your business in the community, and you guys have done an excellent job.
“We don’t do this for every dealer. This is a little extra for you guys because you have gone above and beyond. Thank you for everything you have done for the community.”
Also on hand for the presentation was Rick Watson, senior district manager for the JM&A Group, which is the administrator for Kia, Audi and Volkswagen.
“We handle the claims, print the paper, handle the phone calls and train in different programs,” Watson said. “We are behind the big push for the certified program for Kia. It is the No. 1 certified program in the country now.”
Watson also took a few minutes to offer praise to the workers.
“It is very important to recognize a top performer,” Watson said. “It motivates them. It gives us pleasure, rewarding them for the things they have accomplished. It is difficult to be top dog in an area that is not a major market. It is a good car market, but we are not Chicago.
“These guys have done a bang-up job. They are in the top 10 in several categories. I think they will continue to be a good hometown dealer.”
The sales people at Shawnee Mission Kia showed their focus immediately following the presentation. Many went right back to their desks instead of heading to the break room where pizza was brought in for them for being number one in the region.
Thompson was all smiles.
“It is just incredible,” Thompson said. “We did it all with basically 11 sales staff. We have three sales managers and one assistant sales manager. It is relatively a small staff for the amount of units that we run out of this show room.”
Selling 140 CPO in three months impressed Donovan.
“They continued to grow their business and build relationships with customers,” Donovan said. “It is more about relationship building and getting the word out in the community that this is a good place to do business.”
And that is exactly what the Shawnee Mission Kia staff wants to do in the final quarter of the year and well into 2016. Thompson said it is important to recognize the work of the staff.
“On a daily basis we try to get with them and let them know how important they are,” Thompson said. “It is really more of a daily recognition than an awards ceremony.”
If you have a story you would like to see On the Move, email David Boyce at Drive@kcstar.com.