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The Road to Success

Steve and Stephen in the Glasgow Audi showroom

Stephen Dowling recently swapped his A1 for an R8 and enjoyed ‘A day in the life of’ learning about the Lookers Audi business from the man who knows best – Franchise Director Steve Dean.

One sunny morning in July, the Lookers Audi sales executive, who normally drives himself to work in his beloved A1, instead took a flight from Dublin to Glasgow and experienced a very different journey. Greeted at the airport by driver Kevin Kilpatrick, he was then chauffeured to the Lookers Audi Braehead facility, in the brands flagship supercar, the R8.

His day then moved up a gear as Stephen spent the day alongside Steve and gained an insight into what it takes to run a successful franchise.

Explaining how the trip came about, Steve, who has been Lookers Audi Franchise Director for 4 years, remarked: “I visited the Dublin dealership in January and met Stephen there. He was very enthusiastic and asked me what it would take for him to eventually do my job. I told him if he could top the board that he could come to Glasgow and see for himself!”

Stephen in fact made it to the top of the board twice in 6 months and took Steve up on his kind offer.

During his visit to the state of the art dealership, Stephen experienced the business first hand through a comprehensive tour which saw him spend time in key areas. These included the bodyshop, paintshop, sales floor, call centre, people development and the repair centre in Hillington.

He also sat in on key meetings. These included a diary planning session with Steve’s PA, Aileen Kelly, a discussion on modern retailing and a Skype interview with the IMI (Institute of the Motor Industry).

Before joining Lookers Audi in Dublin, Stephen worked as a supermarket manager for five years. Cars however featured large in his life and he often found himself being “the go-to person for friends and family who wanted help with buying their next vehicle”. This, coupled with his desire to deliver excellent customer service, and his passion for the Audi brand, encouraged him to apply for a role in sales.

And what did he think of the ‘day in the life of’ experience? “It’s been a great opportunity to see how the business fits together. There are levels of complexity I hadn’t appreciated and it underlines that to succeed you have to work smarter, be systematic with data and ensure that every customer is treated as an individual.”

By Tracey McBain