Laurie Brown-Haysom is an Account Manager at Driveline and works out of our Auckland Office. He sat down and chatted to us about his background, how he ended up at Driveline and some of the key concerns which his clients have about vehicle leasing.
Tell us a bit about your background.
I left school when I was 17 and studied part time while working at Shell as an office junior. I was with Shell for 17 years before I left them and bought a service station and a car franchise. After that I had a few years dealing in second hand cars and also ran a small finance company. So I’ve been involved in the motor industry and the finance side of things all my working life.
How did you end up at Driveline?
I met Lance Manins, Mg. Director of Driveline about ten years ago through a mutual friend. It suited me to join up with likeminded people who had the same sort of background as I did.
I think the company provides a great service for the clients we look after. Driveline act as a one stop shop and I thought that was quite a good idea. And having my background in cars, vehicles, finance etc – well it’s gone from there and I’ve been here about eight years.
What are some of the things you enjoy about the job?
I certainly enjoy the interaction with people. I’ve made a lot of good friends through doing this even though a lot of them were just business acquaintances to begin with.
I could be retired but I really enjoy the camaraderie here at Driveline. Plus I like making money and spending money.
I believe the products we sell are good products. And all the people that I deal with are good folks. Mainly the small business and I think we provide good benefit to those guys.
What are some of the challenges?
We’re in a very large and a very competitive industry. And that’s a very big challenge from Driveline’s point of view as we look to show clients that a cheap lease rate is not necessarily the be all and all of lease quotes and sometimes paying a bit more works out better for them in the long run. The big challenge is to acquaint the products that we sell with the client. They are experts at what they do and we are experts at what we do. Explaining what we do in layman’s terms I think is the big challenge. It’s easy to present pictures of cars to people. But it needs to be something which they want; something which is practical, useful, affordable and works for them. I assume they know what they’re doing and I have to help them make the right choice.
I don’t push any particular products on them just for the sake of it, I look to supply the best finance product to suit their needs and I never want them to feel that they’ve been pushed somewhere where they don’t want to be.
What are some of the main concerns clients have?
On the initial contact, a lot of people have no idea of what a lease entails and that has to be explained. Generally their interest is in cash flow and tax effectiveness. Often they’re worried they’ll never own the vehicle which can be very important to them and is a big point for smaller businesses. They end up understanding what the advantages and disadvantages are of the different lease products are and also traditional finance arrangements. Once this is all explained and on the table they end up at ease and assured that they are not being ripped off and that there really are tangible benefits to the offering. The range of discounts we can provide is a massive point and generally something they can’t normally arrange themselves. So we have a lot of advantages to offer them over and above my years of experience in the industry.
I’ve had a number of people who have been put off from dealing with many other companies by the junior clerical type responses they receive. They have felt that they’re simply being quoted numbers and that’s it. My main goal where possible is to meet them first and get to know them. Sometimes we cannot help but at least we’ve had a face to face discussion and they have walked away with a bit more useful knowledge.