Dan Zarrillo, 34
Variable operations director, Hendrick Lexus Charleston
Achievement: Improved new-vehicle sales by more than 50 percent, contributing to the store's record profits in 2015
Dan Zarrillo, variable operations director at Hendrick Lexus Charleston, believes success is a team sport.
Last year, after being promoted from used-car manager, Zarrillo motivated his sales team to increase the store's new-vehicle sales 57 percent to 1,131. Combined with strong used-vehicle sales, that helped propel the store to record profits in 2015.
Zarrillo attributes his success to the dealership's culture of treating employees with respect, which in turn helped him to win their respect. That camaraderie makes it easier for him to motivate his team to work harder and smarter and go the extra mile to take care of the store's customers.
"Once you gain everyone's respect and they're on your team, they'll do anything for you," said Zarrillo. "They will go to bat for you and make sure that we all succeed."
Zarrillo has set his sights on becoming a general manager at a dealership within Hendrick Automotive Group. The 2015 graduate of the NADA Dealer Academy is well on his way.
Last year's accomplishments came on the heels of his leading the used-vehicle team to a 47 percent increase in sales to 1,008 in 2013. The gross profits of its fixed operations got a significant lift as well.
Zarrillo said the dealership switched to market-based pricing, a practice of advertising its best price for its used vehicles upfront, which is always under market value. The dealership uses third-party pricing sources such as Kelley Blue Book to assist with pricing, provide proof to doubting customers and cut down on price haggling.
"It's our best price, and we're not taking advantage of the customer," he said of the used-car price strategy.
The sales team's embrace of price transparency coupled with solid customer service in the dealership's service department has made a difference, Zarrillo said.
"We work together. It's not just the sales department. It's the sales and service department as a team."