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Manitoba GM dealer triples sales after hiring women in senior roles

Manitoba GM dealer triples sales after hiring women in senior roles
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In this Wednesday, April 26, 2017, photo, Chevrolet Camaros are lined up in the lot of a Chevrolet dealership in Richmond, Va.Steve Helber / Associated Press

A GM dealership north of Winnipeg has seen vehicle sales almost triple within five years, and the reason? Women, reports Automotive News Canada .

More specifically, women working in senior roles at the company. Selkirk Chevrolet-Buick-GMC has a staff of 75 people, with over a third of those people being women, many of them in positions such as sales, technicians, service advisers and financial management.

Matt Walters, general manager of the dealership says “we’ve created a culture where everyone can be successful.”

Women contribute at all levels at Selkirk, and even the dealership’s nickname was the product of one of its general sales managers, Diane Little: “Estrogen GM.”

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The push to have more women on staff began five years ago, and since then, new and used vehicles sales have jumped from 400 to 1,100. The sales have been so good the family recently bought the Steeltown Ford dealership across the street.

“Women kind of have a different way with things,” service adviser Nancy Wendell said. “A lot of customers are just kind of put at ease.”

According to Kelly Balmer, general manager at Steeltown Ford, winning customers means “paying attention to the small ball.”

“The customer has to come first,” she offered. “Sometimes in the car business, we forget that.”

The women have all worked their way to the top, and have done their time down in the trenches. They’re hoping the success of the two dealerships is a wake-up call for the industry.
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