“OMOTENASHI by TOYOTA”
Japan is the second-biggest investor in the Czech Republic, and Japanese companies provide work to approximately 55,000 Czech people. Toyota Tsusho Praha has been in the market since 1992 and, as you can guess by its name, it is an exclusive dealer of Toyota cars in the country. Eva Husová has been with the company for 18 years and specializes in serving foreign customers and diplomats. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and exploring the world with her son.
As we have just mentioned, your customers are typically not Czechs but other nationalities. Is selling to them different from serving Czech people?
Not really. They all are customers with their own wishes, needs, and requests. Of course, you have to walk them through the process of the sale in a more thorough way, step by step, pointing out which documents are necessary, what types of insurance you can get, and also how the financing works in the Czech Republic and other countries. As for the Japanese clients, you usually “accompany” them through the whole process, including the explanation regarding the necessity to change to winter tires since this is not so common in most parts of Japan. I used to live in Japan – I was there for almost five years after graduating from the University of Economics in Prague. Thanks to that, I not only speak Japanese, but am also able to perceive what may remain unsaid.
What motivates you to make a sale?
It may sound like a cliché, but a satisfied customer is the best motivation. There is a special expression in Japanese – Omotenashi. This could be expressed as “serving a client as well as possible”. Sales numbers are important, but a satisfied client means more. Toyota is in many ways a special brand, which, even nowadays, tries to make the best possible vehicles. A client happy about their choice, who looks forward to having their new car, is something that goes beyond just “a number” of sold cars.
During my time with Toyota, I’ve had the opportunity to meet two types of customers. One type drives a company car and it represents a utility good to them, which always gets “updated” – i.e. changed after 3-4 years of usage. The second type of customer is usually a private clientele. They make careful decisions about their new “dream” car, and really enjoy the process. For them, we make the car handover a special event. The new car is covered by chequered fabric and unveiled in front of the customer. A huge ribbon decoration on the car hood gives the whole performance the feeling of receiving a gift. I’ve had the privilege to help organize several surprise car handovers where the receiver had no idea what a surprise awaited them – those moments are really special and memorable.
A woman selling cars is not very common. How did you become one?
Actually, there are many ladies working in this field already, but my starting point was different. I was a specialist for Japanese companies coming to the Czech market in relation to Toyota Motor Manufacturing (formerly TPCA in Kolín). I took care of not only selling but of the after-sales activities too, as well as helping them out in their everyday lives – somehow connected to the automotive industry, of course.
I have been with Toyota for almost 20 years, and have never experienced a surprised reaction to the fact that a woman is selling cars – though it might seem “funny” when a woman helps a Japanese manager link his cell phone with his car or explains the special features on the car to him. The fact that a woman helped them with technical issues could be a rather uncommon experience for some of them.
What about your male colleagues, how do they treat you?
As an equal. I am pretty lucky since we have a very friendly environment at work. It’s hard to imagine going through many difficult situations without the support I receive from my colleagues in the sales and service division. The important thing is that we all look for ways to make things happen. We do not try to find any excuses to explain why something is impossible to do.
How is COVID-19 and the components shortage affecting you and the clients? Do you have any advice for people who are planning to buy a new car?
Toyota is among the less affected car producers in connection to the whole COVID-19 situation. However, we are now facing a gradual lengthening of car delivery periods. For some clients it is still acceptable, while for others this means a huge problem. As I mentioned before, the Japanese have a concept of “doing things as perfectly as possible”. So, we are trying to consider these difficulties on an individual basis and find the best solution for each client. My advice is: do not postpone your decision. Unfortunately, when buying a new car, the waiting period has gotten extremely long these days. And in 2022, Toyota is going to introduce a new, long-awaited line of models. I am pretty confident that everybody would be able to find their car match.
Text: Martina Hošková and M. Zisso; Photo: Archive