Lucky Number 13 for Sarah Eccles
I was working at L C Charles Volkswagen, now Crewe Volkswagen, when Swansway purchased the L C Charles group of companies.
At the time I was working as the receptionist and feeling rather apprehensive; the Dealer Principal had left the business, taking with him a good proportion of the staff, but had left me, so, as you can imagine I just didn’t know what to expect.
Then I met the Smyths! I was amazed that they were interested in what I had to say and what I thought, after all I was ‘just’ the receptionist. In those days Swansway Head Office was just across the road from the dealership and John, Peter, David and MS popped across all the time.
One day John offered me the opportunity to try and start local business fleet sales for the dealership, I had no experience of sales or fleet, but John said he thought I had the right attitude and personality and to give it a go, if I found it wasn’t for me then the job on reception would always be there.
I’ve always been one for a challenge, so, I decided to give it a go. From just looking after fleet sales for Crewe Volkswagen I went on to start a Group Fleet Sales department, selling the brands from across the group, but via one central group point.
We started with two of us in a small room at Head Office and things just grew from there; I knew we were on the right track, when in 2007, we picked up a hat-trick of very prestigious Volkswagen UK awards – the Being Volkswagen Award, Volkswagen Fleet Retailer of the Year and Volkswagen Fleet Sales Executive of the Year, I was absolutely thrilled!
I see myself as a ‘Stokie girl’, the fact the Smyths are very down-to-earth and love a laugh, have made the last thirteen years a whole lot of fun; my team and I go for nights out, weekend’s away and generally just get on like a big family. I’ve never been one for titles, so when I was made Group Fleet Sales Director in 2013, in a funny way I felt a bit embarrassed, but also proud, that the Smyths felt I’d earned it.
Group Fleet Sales continued to grow, we moved to a much larger office and in 2014 we sold and delivered 4,000 vehicles; with the team now nearing thirty members we’re on the move again to our new purpose-built centre, situated next door to head office.
It’s another challenge for me and for the team and I can’t wait!