Kalee McKenna, Motoring Advisor.
Kalee had never worked in the automotive industry prior to joining MINI. Read how she has come to thrive as a Motoring Advisor.
How would you describe the MINI "brand" experience at the dealer level for MINI employees?
The MINI is truly unlike any other brand. MINI just has a unique vibe. It is quirky and customizable. Each MINI is tailored to the customers' tastes and needs. With MINI you get options to be yourself. It's not like this elsewhere.
How would you describe the opportunity for advancement with a MINI dealer career?
My dealer wants us to advance and grow and provides a lot of opportunities to do so. This is my first time in sales and my first time working in the auto industry. I come from a family that loves cars. I moved from Pennsylvania to Georgia and took the job here. MINI offers online training videos. I’ve become a product expert, and I got much of that knowledge from the training videos. The videos also helped me learn the ins and outs of the brand.
The company also sent me to California for hands-on training about the new MINI Countryman model. My dealer provides rigorous training before sending a new employee out on the showroom floor.
At MINI, I receive continuous training. After I had been a Motoring Advisor for nearly one year, I was sent to North Carolina to attend the freshman training at MINI University. It was 1.5 days of learning the MINI way of selling and also the DISC system for selling to people's learning styles. They also taught me how to tailor my word track to the MINI customer. The MINI University instructor was amazing and the training was invaluable. Two months later I took a MINI University refresher course online to reinforce the training.
What is the typical successful MINI dealer employee like? What characteristics would you use to describe them?
The most successful MINI dealer employees have a passion for the MINI brand and for understanding people. Not all people consume information in the same way. Some want a quick overview while some want to know every detail about the MINI vehicle.
My degree in communications and PR gives me an advantage because I studied how to convey ideas to people and read non-verbal cues, which is really useful in my role as a Motoring Advisor.
How would you describe the MINI lifestyle?
The MINI lifestyle is unlike any other. I've never seen people more passionate about their vehicles. They care about their MINIs like the car is part of the family. I see my customers on Facebook involved in MINI Club groups. It’s a tight knit community of people.
MINI customers are quirky and fun. MINI is a vibe, not a specific demographic. I've sold people their first cars ever, and the other day I sold a MINI to an 85-year-old man. Customers include architects, artists, art teachers, and everything in between. MINI customers are people who like smaller, open vehicles. In a crowded area like Atlanta, they want a smaller car to be able to get around easier in traffic and also have an easier time finding parking.
Why should a person want to be a MINI Motoring Advisor?
It comes down to a niche. If you appreciate cars you will enjoy your role here. MINI offers different tiers of high performance cars. The John Cooper Works is very high performance. MINI is an agile vehicle. MINIs are everywhere in Georgia, and when I look at the people driving them, they are always smiling. It's a different kind of car. Most people think it's small, so they will be cramped inside the vehicle. When they try it out, they realize that the car is roomy, and they are really surprised. Also, just because it is small, doesn't mean it is unsafe. MINI gets good crash ratings and is very well built. This is a lot of the Motoring Advisor job – getting people to understand the vehicles are roomy and also safe.
What other advice or selling points would you share with someone considering a career at a MINI dealer location?
If you want to engage in a fun product, continuously learn and also grow your network, MINI is for you. If a person just wants to sell cars and doesn't care much about the brand, then they'd be better suited at a different, high-volume car brand. At my dealer, I've sold different brands of cars to people as well. It just isn't as fun. The customers are just buying a car to get from Point A to Point B. MINI customers are so excited to be buying the vehicle. They are often surprised at how delighted they are about their new MINI.
So my advice to potential MINI Motoring Advisors is be passionate, be excited to sell, be excited to learn and grow, and be ready to delight customers with a fun and unique car.
MINI also has awesome incentives for Motoring Advisors. We had a Memorial Day incentive, and right now we have different tiered bonuses for selling a certain number of cars during the third quarter. MINI really tries to keep people engaged and motivated.
Do you have any brand partnerships or sponsorship partners for sales and/or employee benefits at your dealer location?
MINI gives back to the community. They partnered with Feeding America, which is a nationwide network of food banks that feed more than 46 million people through food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. We did an event in April where MINI donated $1 to Feeding America for every new car test drive.
MINI also created a campaign called Defy Labels to encourage people to overcome cruel labels and not let others define them. They partnered with star athletes like Serena Williams and other celebrities who have had to overcome negative labels. The campaign encouraged people to define the MINI for themselves and not just accept the stereotypes.
Professional skateboarder Tony Hawk also produced limited-edition skateboards to be given away as prizes or auctioned off for charity at MINI events around the country. Tony Hawk drives a Countryman as his family car. He has also made stunt videos showing him jumping over a moving MINI with his skateboard. MINI supports the Tony Hawk Foundation, which creates public skateboard parks for children in low-income communities.