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Dealer Ops

Knott, Kevin, December 2008

Kristi Feinberg
December 2008
Sales Professional of the Month 

Kevin Knotts
Harrisburg Honda
Harrisburg, VA.
Charismatic is one word that sums up Kevin Knott. Bryan Horne, general sales manager at Harrisonburg Honda, agrees. He said, “[Kevin] has a dynamic personality … He gets the customer emotionally involved, and you can’t help but like him. The customers just adore him.”

Quick to admit he has a unique personality, Knott said his personality is different than most. While he’s outgoing and a jokester, he also genuinely cares about helping people. “When I can’t get people approved I kind of feel like a doctor that’s just lost a patient … because I don’t like to see the hurt in somebody’s eyes … It’s hard to walk out to a customer and say there’s nothing we can do.”

Customers aren’t the only people Knott is eager to help. When the sales managers are overrun with work and someone needs help, Horne said Knott is the “first to pitch in and help.” Horne added that deals aren’t split at Harrisonburg Honda, so Knott “helps out without expecting anything for it.” He used to work at a Toyota store before coming to Harrisonburg Honda, so when one of the other salespeople needs to turn over a customer, they look to him since many Honda shoppers also consider Toyotas.

Knott said he always knew auto sales could be a lucrative career. Eight years ago, when he made the switch from industrial supplies sales to auto sales, he quickly found out how lucrative. He sold 22 vehicles during his first month, of which he only worked 17 days. He currently averages 22 to 23 sales a month, which accounts for about 15 to 18 percent of the dealership’s monthly average of 125 to 145 units.

Over eight years of selling cars, he’s developed many long-term customers, so he spends most of his early mornings in the service lane visiting with his customers. Management at Harrisonburg Honda provides salespeople with a list of service customers, so they know when their previous customers will be back at the store. Knott always checks it, and while he can’t always meet with every one of them, he tries. He said, “If I know my customers are coming in, I like to be here to see them … just try to make them smile, try to make them feel relaxed … I’m usually walking through, asking if anybody needs anything, asking if anybody wants to buy a new car, just to lighten up the mood.”

Knott – who mainly works off referrals, repeat business and word-of-mouth – treats each customer like a friend and, if needed, goes the extra mile to make his customers feel comfortable. “If you don’t go that extra mile for the customer, then you’re the same as the guy down the street. I try to make it fun.”

 “The enjoyment of my day is just … knowing there’s something different every day.” He added, “You learn every day. In this business, if you’re not learning, you’re not growing. Even though I’ve been doing this a long time, I learn stuff from the new guys, and I learn stuff from the guys who’ve been doing it longer than me.”

He offered one nugget of wisdom to fellow sales professionals he picked up in training, which was, “If you have to ask the customer if they’re leaving, there are only three questions you need to ask them. ‘Is it the car? Is it the price? Or is it me?’ … If they say ‘yes’ to you, have the courage to stand up and say, ‘I’ll get you somebody else.’”

At home, which is where Knott likes to slow things down, he has a family of four—a wife, two step-daughters and a son. He said, “I like to be around the house, cook out, just hang out because it’s so fast-paced here, when you’re outside of work … you want to calm down a little bit and take a breather.”

His wife Teresa, who is his best friend, also happens to be in the industry. They worked at the same dealership during his days as a Toyota salesman, and today they work within the same auto group. He’s thankful to have someone who knows the business and understands the rigors of his career. “It’s very important in this business that you have a supportive person behind you because if you don’t have a supportive person behind you, it’s tough.”

Congratulations to Kevin Knott, Sales Professional of the Month, and thank you to Bryan Horne for bringing him to our attention.

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