Ten Years in Practice: My Sales Management Journey

Jason Gao – Sales Manager, Porsche Centre Shanghai Minhang, Jebsen Motors

I’m a big fan of theatre, my favourite being the theatrical adaptation of English novelist Agatha Christie’s thriller “And Then There Were None.” I think that theatre, rather than film, is a better test of an actor’s abilities. Live performances leave very little room for error; every stage performance requires everyone to be at their best.

I view my work in a similar vein. When it comes to customer service, every day is an important performance, where the whole team must strive to be the best we can in every aspect. I joined Jebsen in 2006 and was promoted to Sales Manager in 2014, looking after sales management at Porsche Centre Shanghai Minhang. Once, an upset customer came into our showroom, complaining that no one was following up with his purchase since his Sales Consultant left the company. Though he was not my client at the time, I did my best to help him and gave him the most attentive service we could. He eventually became one of my regular clients, and his parents, daughter and son-in-law all bought cars from me. They own a vineyard in the Shanghai suburbs and always bring me vine-fresh grapes every time they visit the centre.

Just like an audience can always tell if an actor’s performance is authentic, customers can always feel a Sales Consultant’s honest sincerity. With my customers, I do much more than my call of duty. Not only do I help them with their purchases, I also try to spend more time with them by inviting them to events like product launches and make time to chat with them about cars. I find out about their likes and dislikes, and these interactions create stronger relationships and a solid foundation for providing smoother, better service.

My attraction to the luxury Porsche brand was one of the reasons I joined Jebsen in the first place. Since then, I have learned that running a high-end brand is an art in itself. While preparing for the opening of the Porsche Centre Shanghai Minhang seven years ago, my team and I made it a point to look after every detail, big or small – from billboard installation, down to the placement of tables and chairs – making the space welcome to customers at every turn. I believe that a true luxury experience is made up of little things. In theatre, every prop, light and sound is chosen to create an effect, to bring the audience an unforgettable experience. Customer experience is the same.

I particularly enjoy shows at smaller theatres. Aside from being able to see the stage setup up close, I’m also excited by the interaction between the actors and the audience, and among the actors themselves. It reminds me of the teamwork we need to harness in the workplace for optimal performance. The tricky thing with teamwork is not just pushing for achievements. As a manager, I need to create a teamwork culture. I like to check in with my team members regularly and show them my support. I make it my priority to know every colleague, from our receptionists, security and cleaning staff to everyone in the team, greeting them by name every morning. When they feel valued and respected, I have full trust that our team members, in turn, will bring that value and respect to our customers.

Managing a sales team takes a broad perspective. The more people you manage, the truer this is. Porsche has been growing rapidly in China, with Porsche Centres opening all around the country. With this growth has come intense competition, and through it all I have learned that it is not enough to focus just on my personal performance. To succeed, I must look at the overall development of the company, encourage my team to grow, and leverage better communication skills to coordinate resources between centres.

I joined this company at the age of 26. At 40 now, I can say I have spent my best years here. I have grown and learned with every challenge I braved with my team together. My goal now is to lead the team to become Dealer of the Year under Porsche China. From only 1,000 Porsches in the country back then, the brand has grown to a point where the sales volume in the Minhang Centre alone has surpassed the national number. We are very close to achieving our goal. All we need is greater determination and perseverance in reaching it.

Even though there will undoubtedly be pressure ahead, I look forward to relaxing and unwinding with my theatre visits. More than bringing me a sense of balance, my interest in art and culture also opens up endless conversation topics with my customers. When it comes to creating a fantastic customer experience, every little bit counts. I cannot agree more with the saying that a minute on stage is the result of ten years of practice. Every successful sale is the result of a craft that my team and I have spent years perfecting. I am grateful to Jebsen for giving me this stage.