My Job, My Day with Janita Kelly General Sales Manager at Volkswagen
When Janita Kelly first joined Orange Volkswagen 15 years ago, it was not common for a woman to be involved in the automotive industry.
“Absolutely. Back then it definitely was very male. I even had a lot of conflict with customers not wanting to deal with a female because ‘they don’t know anything about cars,” said Janita.
“I used to go to sales training in Sydney and I was lucky to be one of three girls in a room of 60 to 70 people. Now, it is still not equal, but it is changing.”
Janita found her way into the industry after resigning her position as general manager of a local radio station.
“I was approached by one of the managers here,” she said. “They had never had a female sales person and asked me if I would like the role. I thought it would be a challenge and so I took it on, as a short-term thing, and 15 years later I'm still here.”
Janita’s day-to-day role is diverse and involves handling customer inquiries, overseeing staff, chasing up parts for cars, ordering vehicles on top of general administration.
But the key to the role is building and maintaining relationships with your customers, she said.
“You’re here to make sales happen and when they do happen and you have a relationship with the customer - you want to keep that relationship for life,” said Janita.
“It’s not just that one sale, you need to keep the customer for life, keep them coming back when they need their next car. That means keeping in touch with them. If they have questions, answer them and follow up things for them. If there is something they don’t understand on the car, being available to show them how it works — anything they need. When they walk out the door with a new car, the last thing you want is for that to be the last time you see them.”
In the last few years Janita has twice been named ‘Volkswagen Champion,’ and travelled with her team to Shanghai in 2017 and South Africa in 2018.
She is proud of the career she has built at Volkswagen and believes more women should consider working in the industry.
“I think so; I think it is a good role for females. It doesn’t hurt anyone to know more about cars for starters, but I think a lot of women have a softer touch, they don’t come across as a 'pushy car salesman.' And I find a lot of female customers are relieved to deal with another female in this industry — I'd love to see more of it.”