Brothers Shawn and David Ball, owners of the new Ball Toyota in Charleston, understand that success in the car business begins with satisfied customers and stellar products.
They also know that committed, happy employees are a part big part of that equation.
Following that philosophy, the new Ball Toyota in the Patrick Plaza is doing things a little bit differently than most area car dealerships. Namely, its sales representatives do not work on commission.
As Shawn Ball explains it, that approach makes things less stressful on both sides of the deal. It eases the tension inherent in the customer/salesperson dynamic.
“We’re a little bit different. One of the things that’s different in the auto industry, for us, is that we do not have a commission pay plan for the salespeople. We don’t want customers and salespeople against each other. We want them to be on the same team. The customer is there and the salesperson is there to help the customer,” Shawn said.
If salespeople are “trying to make as much money as they can” when dealing with their customers, then “that’s not a very good relationship,” he said. “That tends to throw a barrier between the salespeople and the customers.”
Make no mistake – the professional sales people at Ball Toyota are keen to sell as many Toyotas as they can.
“The numbers of units they sell is important to them, not how much money they make on individual deals. It takes a lot of that pressure off of them,” Shawn said.
Shawn and his brother grew up in the car business. In the 1970s, their father had a Jeep dealership in Madison. Now, in addition to owning Ball Toyota, the brothers also own L&S Toyota in Beckley and Advantage Toyota in Barboursville.
Coming from that background, they have an appreciation for their salespeople, as they are the ones who are on the front lines every day greeting customers in all kinds of weather.
“I want people to come to work, make a good living and go home and enjoy their lives. We try to give as much time off to our employees as we can. I’m a very big salesperson advocate. Those guys go out when it’s 110 degrees to help customers, and when it’s 20 degrees, they go out and help customers. Those guys work their butts off, and I appreciate what they do. We’re very employee-friendly with all of our people.”
Shawn said a big part of his and his brother’s day, as well as those of their employees, is providing excellent customer service. That holds true at all three of the brothers’ dealerships.
Just one example is that the sales staff are required to give their cell phone numbers to their customers. The salesperson becomes a trusted contact with the dealership.
Having a “devoted salesperson” as the customer’s point of contact with the dealership provides peace of mind for the customer in many ways.
For instance, if a dashboard light comes on indicating it’s time for a tire rotation, “you text your salesperson,” Shawn said.
That sales rep, in turn, then makes sure to get his or her customer set up for a service appointment.
“You need someone you can count on when you have a problem.”
At Ball Toyota, as well as at the Ball brothers’ other stores, the sales staff are experts on Toyota products.
“There’s so much to these cars, and that’s why these guys are pros. They know their electronics — they know everything about that car. And we demand that.”
Shawn and David Ball opened Ball Toyota last year, and one of their goals is to earn the prestigious President’s Award from Toyota. It’s an award they’ve earned at L&S Toyota and at Advantage Toyota.
“It’s a big deal to win,” Shawn said. “It signifies excellence across the board.”
Ball Toyota is a full-service Toyota dealership with sales, service and parts departments. The dealership is at 1905 Patrick Plaza, Charleston, in the former Bert Wolfe Toyota location.
For more information, visit www.balltoyota.com or call 304-513-3777.