Great Gary Scott – Enthusiasm Is What Drives Me

Gary Scott, Sales Director at KIA Motors SA, on being a good director for your team.


Vital stats

  • Gary Scott
  • Designation: Sales Director
  • Company: KIA Motors South Africa
  • Sales Team: 250 sales people, 60 sales managers, 75 dealer principals in 77 dealerships (and growing), and a small but dedicated team of fleet specialists and call centre agents.
  • Career:  After completing his articles at Deloitte, Scott followed his passion for motor cars by joining Kia Motors South Africa in 2002. He worked in finance, IT and parts before joining the sales team in 2013.

What makes your team successful?

The compelling mix of experience and youthful exuberance. There is a core of highly passionate people who have spent five, 10 and 15 years with the brand.

Knowing where we started and how we have progressed in that time gives this group every reason to believe in an exciting, prosperous future. That belief is contagious.

Related: Today, Sales is Everyone’s Job

What is the best advice you have ever received about sales management?

At this level, it is more about providing leadership and articulating our vision. At operational level, our sales managers focus more on management than selling. Without managing the people who must achieve the sales, we won’t build selling-competency in them; you have to help your people to maximise their potential if you aim to breed the next generation of managers and business leaders. Effective management is deeply personal but empowering – it is never micro-managing.

What’s your sales leadership style?

It is more helpful to focus on the cause of the result, rather than the result itself. This applies to both under- and over-achievement. Everything comes down to people. It is as important to cultivate a positive mindset as it is to train on process.

What’s your greatest sales learning?

A great product can easily be sabotaged by a poor purchase experience. It is not sustainable to remedy a poor experience with discount. Therefore, continuous improvement – and re-invention where necessary – is the only acceptable approach.

What’s the worst sales mistake you have ever made?

Being afraid to make a mistake. The regret experienced from playing it too safe has taught me that a bold, considered approach is best; it creates more opportunities. Small failures should be used as learnings to strengthen the business for future opportunities.

Related: Tenacity Rules

What are the biggest deals you have closed?

My role in sales is facilitative rather than transactional, but I would say the development of our fleet department over the last two years has created a new sales channel for our dealers. It’s always satisfying to land the big orders from our major car rental partners, like Europcar.

What business lessons have you learnt from colleagues and mentors?

  • In general: Culture eats strategy for breakfast.
  • In delegating important tasks: Check. Check. Push.
  • In developing a vision: Consistency, conviction and communication.

Favourite business quote?

Like my favourite song, it changes all the time. Right now it’s “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right.” Henry Ford

Best business advice?

Confront the trolls. Problems rarely solve themselves and should be dealt with before they distract you from other opportunities.

What is your personal mantra?

‘No true fiasco ever began as a quest for mere adequacy.’ It’s a quote from the movie ‘Elizabethtown’ and I find it empowering.

What motivates you every day about the business?

Seeing the pride of our people when they turn innovative ideas into reality is its own reward.