Catherine Clark, Sales Manager.
Catherine started her MINI career as a File Clerk with no automotive experience. She is now the Sales Manager for the only Corporate Store in the US.
Have you worked in the automotive industry before? What brought you to the MINI team?
MINI was my first job after college. I started as a File Clerk in 2003 for BMW/MINI of Manhattan. I worked in the Billing office for two years and then moved to MINI Sales in 2006 as a Motoring Advisor. I became Assistant Manager in 2012 and have been the Sales Manager since 2014.
When I was working in the billing office, I knew I wanted to have a job with more interaction with people. There was something about MINI that made me want to work there; it had an energy about it that was exciting.
Why should a person work for a MINI dealer over other car dealers?
The MINI brand has a sense of purpose. It’s an extension and expression of who you are, not just a mode of transportation. MINI embraces the individuality of its customers and employees. It’s about helping and advising customers find a MINI that best suits what they are looking for. It offers a sense of community among the owners, so everyone is joining a club.
What is the typical successful MINI Sales Manager like? What characteristics would you use to describe them?
The most important part of being a Sales Manager is leading and motivating your team. You need to have a love for the MINI brand and bring that enthusiasm to work every day. You want to understand that your employees all bring different strengths to the team and focus on what their strengths are to help each individual grow, which in turn helps the team grow. It’s important that they know you appreciate what they are doing and that you are invested in their future.
You also need to have good time management and the ability to multi-task. Every day is different; you will constantly be asked to do several things at once, all of which are important! In addition to coaching your team, you are responsible for the MINI business. This includes customers and the customer experience, sales, inventory management, and planning for the future.
What is the most exciting or best part about your job?
It’s different every day, and there is so much to do, so you are constantly challenged. As the brand and the automotive industry change, you need to be able to adapt. As a Manager, you also get to see your team learn and grow over the years – it’s quite humbling to know you have an impact on their growth. MINI also offers programs and contests that are fun – from bonuses to trips. Most recently, I went to Croatia and Montenegro as a winner of the Grand Motoring Tour.
What types of training are offered to the MINI dealer staff?
The training that MINI USA offers has sent me to various states from coast to coast for a combination of instructor-lead classes and time on the track driving MINIs. It gives you the opportunity to meet other MINI employees from across the country who share the same passion for what you do.
Do you have any brand partnerships or sponsorship partners for sales and/or employee benefits at your dealer location?
MINI of Manhattan is the only corporate store in the country. We align closely with companies that partner with MINI USA. When MINI teamed up with Feeding America for the last “MINI Takes the States”, we did a fundraiser as well and were able to donate money to help feed over 3,000 families.