Sales Pro of the Month: Tony Makes It Easy
A laserlike focus on shepherding customers through the selection and sales process helped Tony Ortega break the 30-car mark at Mercedes-Benz of Plano (Texas).
May 2018, Auto Dealer Today - Feature
Tony Ortega sold 90 vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2017 at Mercedes-Benz of Plano (Texas). Photo by Jordan Perez
Whether you’re an average Joe or a high-powered executive or professional, if you live in or near Plano, Texas, and you’re in the market for a new Mercedes-Benz, you may already have heard of Tony Ortega. He is the top salesman at Mercedes-Benz of Plano, about 20 miles northeast of Dallas, and a brand unto himself: In person, in email, and in LinkedIn posts, he wants you to know that “Tony makes it easy.”
“Professional people like it when you know what you’re doing,” Ortega says, adding that the feels it is his responsibility — not the customer’s — to find the right vehicle. “We have 21 models in the showroom. They need guidance. I can see it in their eyes.”
If there is a secret to highline sales, Ortega says, it’s understanding that premium-vehicle buyers are seeking — for lack of a better word — an “assistant” who can maintain the excitement level they brought to the store. That requires the ability to answer any question as well as endless patience and a genuine interest in how each customer lives their lives and uses their vehicle. “They want an easy process. Their time is very valuable to them.”
Mercedes-Benz of Plano’s general sales manager, James Conroy, reports that Ortega has averaged nearly 25 vehicles per month for the past several years and frequently hits the 30-car mark, including a 90-unit run in the fourth quarter of 2017. He says Ortega found another gear after the dealership invested in new tools and technology that streamlined some processes to help “pick up the slack” for their high-volume salespeople.
But Conroy makes clear that Ortega’s accomplishments are his own, and he believes staying humble and hungry has kept him atop the leaderboard for most of his 13 years at the dealership.
“A lot of people start selling at that kind of volume and their ego gets to them. They think they’ve got their car degree,” Conroy says. “Tony, on his free time, will read up on anything that will make him better. He is always trying to learn something new.”
“They say that, in 20 years, the business model will be 100% different, so I’m trying to stay connected to all the trends,” Ortega says. “But you will always need someone to help you get what you want. That’s my job.”
A native of Simi Valley, Calif., Ortega, 49, relocated to Frisco, Texas, with his wife, Christine, and two sons, James and Justin, in 2006. He was already a 15-year pro, having started at Center Chevrolet in Riverside, Calif., after being assessed as too young and inexperienced to sell Buicks at the dealership across the street. Two years later, he hit the big time with a sales job — and would be promoted to sales manager within three years — at Galpin Ford in North Hills, where legendary dealer Bert Boeckmann instilled in Ortega the mantra that customer service is paramount to success.
“Today, everyone says they care about the customer. Bert really, really cares about the customer,” Ortega says. “I was raised in that kind of culture, where the focus is 100% on the customer. When you serve rather than sell, they can’t help but come back to you.”
Another 13 years have passed since Ortega made the move to Texas, and his client base has been growing ever since. The customers love him, Conroy says, and his disciplined, productive, 10-hour days (including a five-minute lunch break, if any) are an inspiration to management and staff alike. “He’s got a great personality, but he is definitely all business.”