Patrick Phillippe is a veteran of the auto sales industry, having sold cars since 2006 at several locations across the Greater Toronto Area. He’s now a sales and leasing consultant at Toronto Hyundai, located at 2460 Dufferin Street. In addition to selling cars, he also works in the community, volunteering and giving back by educating people and giving presentations about social and economic development.
How did you start selling cars?
I started selling cars back in 1996. I used to work from home, and prior to that I was working as a translator. One day a friend of mine, who was a general manager in the car business, asked me to have lunch and then, boom – he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. That’s when I started my career as a sales professional.
You’re fluent in several languages. How does that benefit you in your job?
I speak Spanish, Italian, and English. I also have a very good working knowledge of Russian, Greek and Portuguese.
It has been very beneficial indeed, especially when you have people who do not speak English, or do not speak French, and that helped me to build a quick rapport with customers and also build trust because I can communicate with them in their own language. I’m able to give them more information, which puts them more at ease, and very responsive.
What can customers expect from you when they visit Toronto Hyundai?
They will arrive to a pleasant, friendly, and welcoming atmosphere, and I will answer their questions and inquiries in a straightforward manner to enable them to save time and money. When they come in, I will put them at ease and make sure they don’t feel pressured. it’s about being professional.
Is there anything that an average car buyer should know that in your experience most don’t?
One thing that is really prominent is that people looking for vehicles are very anxious, and they’re suffering anxiety because in the past, the car business wasn’t what it is [now]. You see the difference in people who think auto salespeople are dishonest. Sometimes when I meet people, instead of giving the proper information to enable us to serve them better, they sometimes withhold information. If you go to the doctor and the doctor asks you certain questions, like where is your pain, what are you feeling, not telling the doctor about your headache or stomach-ache means the doctor can’t really help you. That makes it difficult, because that creates a misunderstanding.
Not all car salespeople are dishonest. There’s always good and bad in anything, in spite of all the changes, especially since the introduction of the Ontario Motor Vehicle Insurance Council (OMVIC). It’s an organization under the Ministry of Transportation that serves as an adjudicator should there be any problem between the consumer and the dealer. Today you have to take a course and receive certification to sell cars. It’s not a lot of hours, but they show you the legal part of the business, what you can do and what you can’t do, especially with the material facts. There are also services online that will give you the history of the vehicle: whether it was involved in an accident, how many owners it’s had, if that vehicle’s been serviced, and so on. I like dealing with straightforward people; I myself am a very straightforward person, I am very honest and fair.
As an experienced salesperson, what have you learned about addressing a customer’s needs, and how do you incorporate that into your job at Toronto Hyundai?
The most important thing is following the guidelines of the company. We have a system that is professional, prompt, courteous, and shows empathy. You find out what the customer needs, because sometimes they don’t know what they want themselves, you sit and ask them a few questions and determine what the family needs or their needs are. Then you can provide a solution. It also helps to know their budget, the type of car they want, and what kind of equipment and features they want, so finding out their needs is the most important thing.
We have a good reputation at Toronto Hyundai because we don’t play games with our customers. We are straightforward with our customers. That’s what people like, and that’s the way I operate. We are offering zero interest financing on selected models and a great cash rebate of up to $5,000 on selected models. I invite you to visit our showroom, and if I am unavailable, just tell our staff that Patrick sent you. They’ll lay out the red carpet for you.
Justin Anderson | Contributing Writer