Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Business

Driving Toyota forward

SUCCESFUL SALESMAN: Kegakilwe

Armed with a big, easy smile, a lifelong passion for cars and the gift of the gab, Thapelo Kegakilwe is perfectly suited to his job as Sales Manager at Francistown Toyota.

It is a role he has performed with distinction for the last six years.

In this latest installment of Meet the Boss, fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride as Kegakilwe takes you behind the scenes at one of the oldest dealerships in the second city.

Let’s start by touching on your professional background?

I’ve got two backgrounds in terms of education.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Before I started in Sales and Marketing, I was an IT person, that was my profession.

I worked for a company called Business Machine Services (BMS) under the office tech department from 2003 to 2008.

I then resigned, venturing into the business world to start my own thing, particularly in property and the food and beverages industry.

During those self-employed days, I started doing Marketing part-time and developed a deep love for it.

So how did a Gaborone businessman end up at Francistown Toyota?

Things were not going well in the business world, I had to start looking for a job and in January 2016 came here with the little experience I had.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

I initially started as a Sales Consultant in Gaborone but within a month was transferred to Francistown.

The company then sent me to Toyota Academy in South Africa [Sandton] where I was enrolled on various Marketing courses.

By October I was promoted to Sales Manager because they could see my potential.

Over the next few years, I would go for further courses at the academy whenever any became available. In 2018/19, Toyota sent me to UNISA (University of South Africa) for a year to study Marketing and Sales. As a Sales Manager for Toyota, you need to have that qualification.

Sounds like Toyota really take care of their employees?

I have seen places through this place! Toyota measures you according to how you perform.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

If you are doing something right they will reward you. I have been fortunate enough to go to Durban Toyota Plant, and even Tokyo, Japan to watch the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.

Toyota South Africa sponsored the whole trip; it was based on our performances for the year – I was one of three from Botswana that were picked.

It was a truly amazing experience.

How many Toyota outlets are there in Botswana?

There are seven Toyota dealerships in Botswana. Four fall under Motor Centre Group – that is for Mr. Dada and includes: Francistown, Motor Centre (Gaborone), Broadway (Mahalapye) and Bamangwato (Selibe Phikwe). Two (Kasane and Maun) fall under Halfway Group and then there’s Dennis in Serowe.

As a Sales Manager, what do your day-to-day duties involve?

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

To look after the sales executives, that is very important.

You have to take care of your sales executives before anything else so that you can achieve the sales! This includes making sure they have the products and stock they want to sell to customers.

I deal with customer complaints and also interact with clients, making sure they receive the best service.

I also have to check and sign off on every quotation, making sure the correct discount and exchange rates have been used before my execs can hand them over to the customer.

Remember, we buy our cars from South Africa in Rand, so have to make the necessary conversions into Pula.

After ordering a car, how long does it take to arrive?

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

It depends on the model. Some models are imports, like the Land Cruiser Pick-ups, which are manufactured in Portugal.

Others, like the Toyota Urban Cruiser, come from India. It can take three to six months for these cars to get here, depending on unforeseen circumstances.

The vehicles that are manufactured here, at the Toyota plant in Durban, are your Hiluxes and Fortuners which normally take one to three months to arrive.

It only takes one day to build a car – but remember there are about 192 Toyotas across Southern Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini South Africa and Namibia, while Toyota SA also supply the European Market.

If all these guys put in an order, obviously the Mega dealerships with the bigger orders will get preference over us.

Speaking of unforeseen circumstances, were you affected by the recent troubles in Durban?

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Yes we were! Some of the stock that we’re expecting later this month, including the Cruiser 300, was actually meant to arrive two weeks ago but because of the troubles, they had to hold everything until the situation stabilized. Now the situation is okay and we have started receiving stock.

What makes a good Sales Manager?

Love what you do, you must have passion for the job. Growing up, my dad loved cars and passed that obsession onto me.

Product knowledge is vital, you must know your product inside out! And finally, listen to your sales consultants, what they want, what they need.

I prefer to see myself as a leader not a manager. We work together – I also sell and try to lead by example.

On average, how many cars does Toyota Francistown sell in a month?

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Again it depends. We’re classed as a small dealership but try by all means to hit a target of at least 25-30.

And how has Covid-19 affected sales?

We’ve definitely noticed a difference in the last few months. January to March were good months.

But from April, when Covid cases really starting rising in Botswana, our sales have been down.

It’s understandable, in times of crisis luxury items such as cars take a backseat.

So what strategies have Toyota put in place to survive the pandemic?

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

We’re sticking to the tried and tested methods. Marketing remains the same – we still go out and hold stalls, following Covid19 protocols of course, advertise, communicate with clients via e-mail and over the phone etc.

We also follow our workshop strategy, whereby a client brings his vehicle for service – this is actually quite a big source of income for us. It gives us an opportunity to chat and build a strong relationship with our customers.

What tips do you give staff on how to deal with tricky customers?

Don’t compete with the customer. If they’re not happy or angry with something, stay calm.

Listen to what the customer is saying. If you try and talk back when they’re still upset, they’ll get even more furious.

When they’ve cooled down start talking but be respectful. If that still doesn’t work then bring the customer to me.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

If that fails then I’ll take the customer to see the Dealer Principal.

It’s very rare for this to happen and is usually caused when a customer’s car doesn’t arrive on time or if there is a price increase due to exchange rate fluctuation between when they paid for the vehicle and when it arrived.

Customers sometimes forget that ordering a car is not like buying bread – they’re not ready made and have to be manufactured from scratch.

Finally, what does the future hold for Francistown Toyota?

I see Francistown Toyota growing from where it is today. Hopefully the surrounding mines like BCL and Mupane Gold Mine will re-open soon, which would be a big boost.

I truly believe we can upgrade from a small dealership to achieve medium status. Toyota is the future, Toyota leads the way!

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

PERSONAL PROFILE

FULL NAMES: Thapelo LP Kegakilwe

DATE OF BIRTH: 18th July…. I’d rather not say!

PLACE OF BIRTH: Selebi Phikwe

MARITAL STATUS: Married with two kids

MENTOR: My father, wife and mother

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

CAR DRIVING: Toyota Corolla Quest 1.8 Exclusive

DREAM HOLIDAY DESTINATION: Long Beach, Los Angels (USA)

PASTIME: Chilling out with friends, watching TV

FAVOURITE FOOD: Lamb Biryani (Indian)

FAVOURITE DRINK: Anything hot or cold

WHAT MAKES YOU ANGRY: People who tell lies!

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

You May Also Like

News

VIOLENT HUSBAND IN COURT FOR GRIEVOUS BODILY HARM An aggressive Zimbabwean man appeared before Francistown Magistrate Court on Tuesday charged with causing grievous bodily...

News

Mother withdraws maintenance case after son’s poisoning A distraught mother, Boitumelo Mompati, this week withdrew a child maintenance case from Extension II Magistrate court...

News

*Lions terrorise Sepako farmers *10 cows killed within four days The human-wildlife conflict has reached an all-time high in Sepako, a village 50km north-east...

News

PRINCE HARRY CONDEMNS DRILLING FOR OIL IN THE OKAVANGO DELTA, MOBILISES THE WORLD TO STOP IT One of the most powerful men in the...

News

I want to hug Jesus-The General tells friends before killing himself Botswana Police are investigating another case in which one of their officers, a...

News

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Councillor for Medie/Kweneng, Edwin Shanakane, on Monday appeared before Molepolole Magistrates’ Court charged with defilement. Shanakane, 37, is accused of...

News

Balopi says emergency meeting was for Bye election preparations Botswana Democratic Party’s Secretary General, Mpho Balopi, has come to the defence of his party...

News

A Tsabong family has lost P129,000 in cash saved for their son’s wedding expenses in a fire that also left them homeless on Friday....

Politics

Member of Parliament for Selibe Phikwe West, Dithapelo Keorapetse, has assured the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) members of a better future ahead following...

News

As part of preparations for 2022 national population census, the Ngamiland District has conducted a two-week training of enumerators for the pilot census which...

News

•Boy 14, uses dad’s loaded gun to kill 6 -year -old sister A father whose six-year-old daughter died in a shooting accident by her...

News

Palapye Labour Officers to appear in court over Makoro Bricks case Two Palapye District Labour Office employees will appear before Justice Diwanga of Francistown...

News

COP BLASTS HIS BRAINS WITH SERVICE RIFLE In a traumatic incident that has left the police with more questions than answers, a constable stationed...

News

REPORTS THE DISTRICT OFFICE TO COMMISSIONER Botswana Miners Workers Union has reported the Palapye District Labour Office to the Commissioner of Labour Goitseone Kokorwe....

News

The City of Francistown and AMA Future of Africa Holding (Pty) Ltd has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) for the establishment of an...

News

Journalists and celebrities test-drive DYNAFLEX TECHNOLOGIES For the past two years, most Batswana, like me, stayed home as travel was cancelled due to the...

Advertisement

Copyright © TheVoiceBW. (Since1993) made with ❤️ in Botswana.