Krusen Sales Consultant Melissa Campbell loves coming into to work for a unique adventure, daily. (AnnaMarie Ward/The Union)
Campbell shows off her sales chops as she walks through the benefits of a Chevy Spark on the Krusen lot. (AnnaMarie Ward/The Union)
Campbell talks about all of the new safety features and additional cameras in Chevy vehicles. (AnnaMarie Ward/The Union)
MT. PLEASANT — The automotive industry is commonly seen as a male-dominated job field, however, that does not exclude women from making the choice to join the automotive ranks and excelling.
Krusen Motors Sales and Leasing Consultant Melissa Campbell is one of these women.
Campbell grew up near Mt. Pleasant in the Winfield and Morning Sun communities.
She moved to the Mt. Pleasant area with her husband Jason to be closer to the family farm.
The two of them have four daughters and love being a part of the Mt. Pleasant Community.
Being a woman in the automotive industry should not be surprising to those who knew Campbell growing up.
“In my teen years I spent a lot of time working with a local dirt track racer, who was a female in a male dominated sport,” she said. “Nancy Cline and her family took me under their wing and taught me so much about fast cars and changing engines, checking tire pressure, and so much more! I can’t thank them enough for paving away for me to be where I am today.”
Despite this impact, Campbell generally saw herself entering a career in the military or law enforcement and did not join automotive sales until February 2022.
In fact, even up to her interview with Krusen Motors, Campbell had no idea her path would lead her to selling cars.
“I applied for a totally different position here at Krusen Motors than the current position I currently hold,” she said. “I came to an interview where I thought I would be helping in a different role. When I left the interview, I had been offered a completely different position!”
“Of course, I thought the person interviewing me was silly for seeing something in me that I didn’t see in myself,” Campbell recalled.
“She started with a big warm smile and a strong handshake which is always an awesome way to greet anyone for the first time,“ Krusen General Manager Kyle McKinzie said. ”Her bubbly attitude and welcoming tone immediately brought my thoughts to sales, even with no experience in that field.“
“She asked a few questions which many candidates don’t even think of heading into an interview, but it is very important to ask the right questions in the sales process so we knew she would be coachable in that sense,” he said.
She spent some time thinking over the offer, talked with some knowledgeable friends, and returned with additional questions.
“Every question I asked was answered honestly and with even more insight then I could’ve imagined,” she said. “I felt comfortable sitting in, at that time, an empty dealership and being on the same page as the owners. I had no idea who the team around me would be, but I knew that the McKenzie family would pick the best.”
Campbell is happy with her decision to step out and try something completely out of her comfort zone, and thinks more women could benefit from similar steps.
“She is a rock star salesperson,” McKinzie said. “She fits perfectly with our no-pressure approach to the process. She’s patient with customers that are indecisive, and she asks for the sale which she earns the right to do by getting to know her customers needs. Our culture is defined by our Mission and Core Values, and she exemplifies them perfectly.”
“I feel that [the automotive industry] is only a male-dominated industry because females have not had enough confidence in themselves to want to be here,” she said. “We have added more females into this same role with similar experience levels and they are also seeing success.”
“As women, we should want to be involved in the automotive industry. After all, we drive and purchase vehicles too,” Campbell said. “Women should want to know about what they are driving and the features that are benefiting them and others on the road. It’s also a great industry to grow confidence and work in an area that gets them out of their comfort zone.”
In fact, Campbell thinks that being a woman has advantages for car sales, as well.
“With more and more females shopping for themselves, some have a certain comfortability level working with another female,” she said.
She also thinks the unique and different roles that women fulfill helps them to show a different perspective to customers, engineers, manufacturers and others in the industry.
It isn’t always easy, however.
“As a female in this position there are still times where I have to overcome people’s idea that women don’t know about vehicles,” she says. “I have to earn their trust by knowing what I’m selling.”
Having that information, and being a well-informed sales person are important to Campbell.
“I have to be up to date in the automotive industry so that I can better understand what the customer is wanting or needing,” she said.
According to Campbell, being up-to-date is crucial in her ability to help guide her customers a vehicle they really want.
“As the automotive and technology industries change so does the job of a sales consultant,” Campbell said. “We are not just at a desk or on the lot showing cars, we are using some of the latest platforms to showcase and sell our vehicles.”
“In this position, I am always training,” she said. “My knowledge isn’t just in a certain year, make and model of vehicle. My knowledge has to be in several different areas such as sales, product knowledge, and most importantly customer service.”
She loves the continued excitement of learning and experiencing new things daily.
“I love coming to work daily because nothing is ever the same,” Campbell said. “Each day is different, each customer is different, and each vehicle is different.”
As Campbell reflects on the contentment she finds in her position, she has a piece of advice for other women looking to push again the grain.
“Have confidence in yourself, be true to yourself, and take risks,” she said. “When you have confidence in yourself, those around you will see that and have confidence in you.”
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