BMW PH to recruit Apple-style \'product professionals\'

To better explain car tech to customers
by Vernon B. Sarne | Jul 27, 2013

\"BMW

Perhaps the most annoying experience for all of us when shopping for a new car is that awkward interaction with a dealership\'s salesperson. That\'s a lot of pressure right there--on both parties at that. First, there\'s always pressure on the sales agent to convert the walk-in customer into an actual buyer (not least because the sales agent has a quota to meet). Then there\'s pressure on the customer to offer something profitable to the persistent salesperson (lest the customer be looked down upon as a no-good peasant).

And so, more often than not, it becomes a lose-lose situation. Not only because the salesperson is treating the customer as just a potential statistic, but also because the salesperson doesn\'t really bother explaining the car to the customer with an unsoiled passion and thorough knowledge. As far as most salespeople are concerned, either buy right away or don\'t waste their time (as if standing around the showroom is something to be wasted). The usual result? The customer walks away not only disappointed but also pissed. And then a competing brand usually reaps the benefit of the sorry encounter.

BMW Philippines, aka Asian Carmakers Corporation, thinks the solution to this problem is to stop making salespeople the customer\'s first point of contact at the showroom. ACC is rolling out a program that aims to recruit BMW Product Professionals from the latest batch of college graduates. The idea is simple: These product specialists will be tasked to make the customer feel as at home as possible, and introduce the cars and their high-tech features to the customer to the best of their knowledge.

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Now, remember, these product professionals won\'t pressure or rush the customer, because they are not expected to close the sale--they\'re just there to explain the cars and their specs and features. Whether the customer buys or not, the salary of the product specialists is fixed and the same. And because the encounter will be pressure-free and pleasant, the odds of the customer actually buying shoot up immensely (at least in theory).

Anyone who has been to an Apple Store in the US will recognize the similarity in concept in how the Cupertino-based tech company employs \"Geniuses\" to answer every question that a customer may have about a certain Apple product. After all, a grandmother may be intimidated by FaceTime if it is not properly explained to her. Imagine what BMW\'s iDrive knob or dual-clutch transmission can do to an aging corporate executive.

Hence, a specially trained group of BMW Product Professionals to ensure the customer will have all of his/her queries addressed--without the dealership employee breathing down his/her neck to try and secure the purchase. In principle, the customer will only face a sales agent once he/she signifies a serious intent to buy the car.

\"We will only recruit BMW Product Professionals straight out of school, with a degree in business, engineering or marketing,\" ACC executive director for marketing Glen Dasig told TopGear.com.ph. \"We will hire only the best applicants, those who can represent the BMW brand well. We will train them for one month and give them a one-year contract.\"

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Dasig explained that ACC would be the one to provide the salaries of the product professionals. The rate is better than what call centers or typical advertising agencies pay fresh graduates. After the one-year contract expires, ACC will install a fresh batch of product specialists. As for the outgoing BMW Product Professionals, if they\'re good, they stand a very good chance of getting hired by the dealership. And even if the dealership doesn\'t hire them, the one-year experience is at least a nice thing to put on their résumé--something that is sure to stand them in good stead later on in their young career.

BMW has dealerships in Makati, Libis, Alabang, Pampanga, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and Bacolod. The plan is to assign two product professionals each to the bigger dealerships and one each to the smaller ones.

If you\'re a fresh graduate (or know someone who is) and you want to enter the automotive industry, this program might be your stepping stone to bigger things. How to apply? According to ACC, \"individuals who meet the criteria and are interested in taking on the challenge are invited to send their résumé to hr@bmw.com.ph, indicating \'Product Professional\' in the e-mail subject.\"

So, fancy a job as a BMW Product Professional?

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