(Note to readers: Our complete interview with Kristina Coverdell will be included in the May 2018 issue of Modern Dealership.)
Celebrating her 25th birthday next month, Kristina Coverdell has already discovered her key to success: balance. OK, and probably also her love for Volkswagen! Here, she shares tips for selling more cars “by the book” as well as via getting creative with social and dating apps.
1. How long have you been at Volkswagen of Lee’s Summit?
Two years and nine months, basically my whole career [selling cars]. I was at Infinity for one month – they recruited me. I thought, “OK, it’s a premium product, maybe I could make more money over there.” But it’s not what I thought it was. It did make me a stronger salesperson, though. And I realized how awesome our product at Volkswagen really is, and our culture.
2. Why did you want to get into the car business?
I love Volkswagens – I’m an enthusiast – and I thought I’d be able to sell them to anyone. I wouldn’t say I was into cars, but I loved my Jetta. I got it my freshman year of college six years ago. I liked the reliability of it, getting me back and forth from school. And I didn’t have to do anything to it, just oil changes! German engineering has real value.
3. How many cars do you sell a month?
I average 12 to 15. I used to try to push for 16, because of the next pay plan. But my expenses have gone down, and I want the time off work. I like to live comfortably and have time with my dog and my boyfriend.
4. So you don’t have the “20 cars a month” goal?
That would take a lot of time away from my boyfriend, my dogs, volleyball, my family. Everyone who sells that many cars works a lot of hours. Even when I was doing 15, 16 cars, I was working all the time. That was fine when I was single, but I’m comfortable living off what I make now, which is still good – 12 to 15 cars a month is still good.
5. What’s one word you would use to describe your sales approach?
Passionate. About the product, and about customer service too. I make sure every customer has the best car-buying experience ever. We have a process, and for a good reason. Without it, it’s like taking a test that you haven’t studied for. If you didn’t study for it, you won’t do as well.
6. With your own personal marketing, you don’t seem to follow any processes – it sounds pretty creative.
Yes, I don’t want to rely on the store for all of my leads. I actually obtain more referrals through social media and dating sites. Facebook is limited, because I can only have 5,000 friends, but dating sites work really well for me to get leads. I actually got the idea to use dating sites after I stopped going out so much and wasn’t meeting as many people. So I had to network in a different way. And my boyfriend is supportive because I’m really upfront with people and don’t lead them on.
7. Can you share a little more about your process?
I swipe right on everyone, females and males. I never message anyone back on the dating sites, though. They add me on Snapchat – it’s in my story in my dating site profiles, along with lots of pictures of me with my boyfriend. And then I wait for them to message me on Snapchat. That’s when I tell them, “If you ever need a car, I’ll hook you up.” One day they’re probably going to need a car. I sell two or three cars a month this way right now. Through social media and dating sites combined, it’s probably five to seven. I think it’s a good idea to rely on sources other than the store’s.
8. Women are a minority in this industry. Do you work with a lot of other women?
There are about 20 sales reps right now. Four are women. We even have a female service tech. Eventually I’d love to be able to do that, once I can get my expenses down even more, and then build that up to, say, instead of being express lane service, I’d be an advisor. I’m definitely interested in the full Volkswagen experience. Maybe sales management one day, or even Corporate. It’s a dream!
9. What would you like to see change regarding your job in six months?
I see myself in the same spot, but hopefully with even more people coming in and asking for me. Two cars I sold this month already (this interview took place on April 12) were from referrals.
10. Any advice?
Follow the process. Know your product. Treat your customer how you would like to be treated.
Always have a smile. And market yourself – don’t just rely on the dealership. You just gotta go for it!