Automotive News 40 Under 40

Patrick Duffy

AGE: 39

POSITION: President, Faulkner Buick-GMC, Trevose, Pa.

 
Patrick Duffy

Patrick Duffy got off to a bold start when he was interviewed for a sales job at Faulkner Buick-GMC at the age of 26. When the general sales manager interviewing him asked where Duffy wanted to be in five years, he responded: "I hope to be sitting where you're sitting."

After five years in the Navy and some cooking jobs, Duffy had no dealership experience. But he had ambition and was accustomed to hard work -- he started out as a child actor in Philadelphia at age 4 and began working at restaurants at age 12.

After five months selling new cars -- and making twice as much on fewer hours than he did as a cook -- Duffy moved to the used-car department. He became the dealership's top sales rep for three years running before working through management positions.

He landed in the general sales manager chair around that five-year mark he'd envisioned and became the store's general manager in 2010.

Sales are up, and the store is now the top-selling Buick-GMC dealership in Pennsylvania.

Duffy credits a couple of initiatives for getting him there. During the depths of the recession in 2008 and 2009, he launched a minimum-standards guide for the sales department. It sets clear expectations for productivity, and managers work with sales reps to help them achieve goals. "We saw a really big increase in sales and productivity," Duffy said. "You weren't allowed to sell four or five or six cars a month anymore and stay."

Sales reps now average more than 13 vehicles a month. Duffy expanded the initiative to the service department, and guidelines are now in place for every gross-generating position in the dealership.

On the customer side, Duffy wanted to improve retention. In 2009, he created a program called the Faulkner Advantage. Anyone who buys a new or used car gets one year of free maintenance, one year of dent and ding and windshield chip repair, plus free car washes for the vehicle's life.

Service retention for new-vehicle buyers rose from 38 to 64 percent. Service retention for used-vehicle buyers increased from 17 to more than 40 percent. Several other dealerships in the 16-store Faulkner group have adopted the program.

"It helps with sales, and it helps with retention," Duffy said. "People seem to like it a lot."

-- Amy Wilson