What It Takes to Shine on a Showroom Floor

IB Publisher Jody Glynn Patrick writes about business for her column, with a departure to “no business allowed” in her blog “After Hours.” Even the print magazine’s parameters are loose for Jody, as she writes from the heart and typically more toward HR or human interest topics.

As we celebrate great management with the publication of our Executive Register in this issue, we also are investing a little ink in thanking the salespeople who help make (or break) a manager’s reputation in any business. (Let’s face it – the manager may write payroll checks, but it’s the customer who ultimately signs them.)

John Wineke, general sales manager with Jon Lancaster Toyota, is helping us spotlight one special salesperson this month by sharing his pride in Nathan Riesen, a top performer for the car dealership. "If you don’t know him yet and are around him, it won’t be long before he’s found you," Wineke promised. "That’s the thing about Nate – it’s never about him. It’s always about you."

And in the car business, success is relegated to how customer service translates into "the numbers." Riesen’s stats are impressive: with 375 sales in 2011, he was ranked No. 1 in Toyota’s Chicago region, and featured in the top 45 in the nation. Riesen was one of only 11 associates in the Chicago region to earn the STARS award (Sales, Toyota Product Knowledge, Ambassadorship, Retention, and Service), and his YouTube video page hit a million views in 2011.

The chef-turned-salesman found his niche in car sales by establishing and expanding the organization’s Internet department, where Riesen posts dealership and FAQ videos and automotive forums. However, his manager says he brings fun and excitement to the customer contacts he maintains on the showroom floor, too. "What makes Nate our salesperson of the year is that he created his own style and shines above others with his charisma," Wineke said. "It’s not about the amount of time he spends at work, but that he loves what he does, and incorporates his job into time away from work. It’s his way of life."

Riesen is a member of the Rosenberry Society for the United Way of Dane County. "Nate is an unselfish teammate whom I admire greatly for his natural talents," Wineke added. "With some persistence, he has found a way to get to the top. As his boss, I would not ask a new salesperson to do what Nate does, because that’s his thing, [but] I would be thrilled to see [that new] employee have half of the energy and fun that Nate carries over to his guests."

Quite the endorsement: thanks to John Wineke for helping put words to what makes a great salesperson, and congratulations to Nate Riesen for inspiring such confidence and pride from his boss!

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