Ferris Hamdan, 39
General sales manager, Sun Toyota
The feelings that come with wrestling and selling cars aren’t all that different — at least not to Ferris Hamdan, general sales manager of Sun Toyota.
Hamdan, who wrestled competitively in high school and won a national championship his senior year, passed on attending an out-of-state college on a wrestling scholarship. “I love Florida too much,” he said.
Instead, he got a job at a dealership to help pay college expenses. After graduating from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and entering the auto business full time, he rediscovered the highs he felt while wrestling competitively.
“The feeling of helping customers out at that time … brought me back to my high school years of winning championships,” he said. “It’s a good feeling, and I was kind of hooked at that point.”
Since assuming the role at the Toyota dealership in Holiday, Fla., in 2016, he still embodies that mentality of being No. 1. Under his leadership, the store has broken every sales record going back 20 years. Sun Toyota was named DealerRater’s Toyota Florida Dealer of the Year for 2018, 2019 and 2020. The dealership also won a 2020 Toyota Board of Governors Award, given to the 60 dealerships with top sales and highest customer satisfaction numbers in 2019.
Hamdan credits the dealership’s success to the routines he and his team put in place to lock down sales. A company culture that motivates people to win also is critical, he said. The dealership has an internal system that displays store and personal sales goals on a 70-inch TV. If the dealership reaches the volume objective or sets a sales record that month, it flies a “W” flag that employees are “pretty proud of,” he said, adding that the store got the idea from the Chicago Cubs.
“I’m going into work today because I love where I work, I love the people who I work with,” he said. “It’s just such a good environment that we’ve built here. Everybody is always high-fiving; the energy is second to none.”
And while winning and increasing sales are great aspects of the job, Hamdan said his favorite part is being able to coach members of his “phenomenal team.”
“I like to take people that may have never been in the business or have never thought that this would be something that they could be successful in … and I like to mentor them,” he said.
He added: “There’s nothing more rewarding than changing someone’s life for the better.”
— Krystal Hur