Motorone is the official Mercedes dealer in South Korea. Koreans have this huge fancy owning a Mercedes as it serves a symbol of one's wealth or a tool to show off. Not surprisingly, the German luxury car maker is one of the largest patent holders in the world and the new technology often servers industry standard after 3 to 6 years of registering.
Among many models, S Class, G Class and G Wagon are top sellers to Koreans. PowerKorea met Kim Sung-min, a Motorone dealer, at Seoul National University of Science and Technology and heard about his job.
Q. I heard you graduated from the university?
A. That's right. I started to run a NGO from my last year and met a lot of respected people in our society. One thing that attracted my eye is that many of them drove Mercedes. I then had a great interest in cars. Somehow, it hit me hard and made a visit to a store with a fancy thought to get a job there. As you might guessed, I was kicked out since I had no experience what so ever.
Q. Is it hard to work for the company?
A. It is. You have to prepare hard. You start as a position called 'product expert' if you are luck to get a job. You greet people coming into a store, explain about each model and arrange test drive and delivery order. (*Kim earned high score at product expert appraisal.) Then I started to think of being a professional dealer rather than greeting customers.
Q. Was your first dealer's job at Mercedes?
A. No. I started with Lexus on Dosan-daero, Gangnam District, Seoul. You wouldn't believe this but I had sold 17 of them in 10 months. If I expose one of my secrets during that time is that I proactively engaged in gatherings of my clients in which they introduced potential buyers to me. The experience I had there eventually helped me get a job at Motorone. Working for Motorone, I added one more of my selling secrets: attention to detail after-buying-care. For example, one of my client bought a Mercedes and it got broken after a week. I used my own money to rent a car in order to respond quick while I was checking what caused the problem with highly trained mechanics. Like I mentioned earlier, I met a lot of leaders of media, political and economic circles through NGO activities during my last university year. I actually built a wide scope of network which helped greatly what I'm doing now. It is especially notable that I took the manager's role at the Korea University Global Business CEO Course and also the assistant administrator's role at the CBS Christian Leader's Club. The philosophy of Mercedes-Benz is 'The Best of Nothing'. For the same reason, I do not participate in price competition. I just follow the official promotion but more focus on client management so that I can give my clients a feeling that they are chosen ones to drive Mercedes. Of course, it must always come with attention to detail warranty which makes my clients worry-free and can only focus on their business and daily life.
Q. Apart from being a professional dealer, I heard you are a man of quick wit and good heart, I might say?
A. As you know we are in grave period of virus spread. So I bought KF94 facial mask worth 10 million won ($8,413) last February and sent to my clients who mostly are running their own businesses. A mask can be nothing but I wanted to share something warmness with my clients in this time of hardship. (*Kim received March this year a citation from the Land Infrastructure and Transport Committee for this deed.) One of my clients waited for a year to get Mercedes S63 AMG 4M L but I found the warning light of engine blinking. Super expensive models are very sensitive to any abnormalities of operation so I told my client that I needed to check first before taking a hand over receipt. I found that it should be ok to change the cooling water pump and got hold of the part from a province by a courier. My client expressed gratitude to my quick and attention to detail services and I actually feel proud as a dealer whenever I'm complimented for my professional services.
Q. Do you have a motto you always carry with you?
A. I have and I read it every morning: "Live with a rudder to sail toward the right direction and share what I have with others. Work hard and diligently not only for me but for others." I believe that hard work never betrays. I'm firmly determined to do my best to each of my clients. I never pursue profits in front of my eyes but I pursue companionship with my clients whom I can share things with. I also think that business is like a seed. I plant a good seed and it grows a good tree. If somebody asks me why I want to be a Mercedes dealer, I would say because I want to give the best gift of happiness to my clients. Who wouldn't want the best car?
Q. What do you think is important in your job?
A. Like all other jobs, it is important to have passion in what you are doing. Success will less likely to follow you if you don't have it. I start every day making sure of myself to work the day with passion, diligence and responsibility. Your clients, customers or business partners will be impressed and touched by you.
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