Being recognized as #1 in your business is tough. Doing it two years in a row is more than twice as hard. But, imagine being #1 for five straight years. That’s practically unheard of. Yet, in 2010 Classic Chevrolet outside of Dallas pulled off that incredible achievement. For the fifth straight year it was the #1 volume Chevrolet dealership in the United States.
General Manager Hagen Durant is proud of what his team has achieved over the last half-decade, but you get the impression that being #1 is simply a by-product of something much more important … treating the customer right. Durant says, “When people are going into a transaction, that could be an emotional time in their life,. Committing to a monthly payment, that’s not an easy thing to do.” He doesn’t believe in pushing people to close a deal. “Be friendly about it. You might get to see that person again some other time when they’re back in the market.”
Durant admits that Classic Chevrolet isn’t the five-time volume champ simply because it has friendly salespeople. Sitting right in the middle of two large markets like Dallas and Fort Worth is certainly a big asset. And having more than 2,000 vehicles in inventory on a 40-acre dealership also helps convince customers that this is a good place to shop for a new car or truck. And the great products from Chevrolet also help attract customers.
Durant says Classic sells four trucks for every car. But, he admits the car lineup has really stepped up its game in the past few years. Here are some of his quick takes on some of the latest cars:
• The Cruze: “The Ecotech with a turbocharger on the Cruze is pretty nice.”
• The Camaro convertible: “It’s really nice. I feel honored to have it in my showroom.
• The Volt: “It’s amazing to be in a car that’s not combusting whenever you’re driving. It’s just a whole different experience.”
How many teams have been #1 for five years in row? In major sports only three teams have been able to do it, the New York Yankees from 1949 through 1953, the Montreal Canadiens from 1956 through 1960 and NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson (driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevy) who is currently on a five-year championship run. So, it looks like Classic Chevrolet has its work cut out for it if it wants to make it six in a row. But, Bill Russel and the Boston Celtics managed to win seven championships in a row, so the Classic team has a role model to follow as it pursues history.
Hagen Durant doesn’t talk a lot about being #1. He talks much more about making sure customers have a good experience. We asked him, What do you hope the customer says when leaving Classic Chevrolet? His answer was simple: “See you next time.”
With people, products and pride, you can be sure Classic Chevrolet is aiming for a sixth straight sales championship.