BY: KEISHA JOHNSON
Frank Junior DaCosta arrived in Toronto from Jamaica newly wedded and eager to prove himself a good husband and an honourable man.
When his sister told him about a job opportunity, he donned his wedding pants, got a new shirt, borrowed a tie from a friend and showed up.
We don’t know what Frank said in his interview but he was hired on the spot to sell cars. He had no experience. And after only one week of training, he was thrust to the shop floor to make sales. Within his first month he sold twenty-four cars, tripling the industry average of seven car sales per month!
“I had a family to take care of,” Frank reasoned. He would not be deterred by culture shock, inexperience or subtle prejudices and ignorant perceptions of immigrants.
The following months Frank continued to outperform his colleagues, many of them more experienced and senior to him. He avoided cooler talk, busied himself when not seeing clients and doubled down on his work hours.
Something as simply as always being warmer than the customer in the winter, Frank soon realized could make or break a deal. “I learned to always be well dressed. You don’t want to be in a hurry to find shelter or warmth when a customer wants to see more cars.”
Early in his career he also decided that “if I set myself a daily target of selling one car per day, that would take care of the weekly and monthly quota.” More importantly he says “connecting with each customer on some common ground” was his best strategy to build client trust and convert many curious window shoppers to proud car owners.
“My strategy was to treat everyone the way I would like to be treated. I am honest with the customer and always, always give them good service,” he reflected.
He takes a picture of each customer receiving their new car keys and sends it to them. He makes birthday calls, organizes servicing and willingly goes the extra mile. “I remember one customer who was concerned whether the car she liked would fit into her garage,” he recalls. “So I suggested that we drive it to her house. When we got there, her garage was full of stuff but I removed it all just so we could see if the car fit.”
These are good memories that people eagerly share with others. Over the years, word-of-mouth has exponentially multiplied his efforts to find new clients and has helped him to build a loyal base of repeat customers and volunteer referrals.
These little details distinguished Frank in the industry. And in 2011 Frank Junior DaCosta became the number one car salesman in all of Canada for Nissan. That year he personally sold a record 411 cars.
He became the first person of color in Canada to achieve that record! His accomplishment gave his dealership bragging rights and they joined the community in backing Frank 100%. More advertising dollars was invested in promoting him and he became the voice and face of his dealership.
Frank has seen consistent success by eating the elephant one bite at a time. He has been number one salesman at the five dealerships he worked at over his eighteen-year career. He says he has no regrets and credits his wife Terry-Ann for the support and encouragement she gives especially on the days when he feels like he’s failed himself.
“She always says, ‘it’s okay, tomorrow you can try again’. And that’s all I need to hear. Once she says everything will be ok. I know everything will be ok,” the proud father of four mused.
On the job, he continues to lead sales at the Agincourt Nissan dealership in Toronto. “Every day I’m asked how do you do it? How do you sell so many cars? And I tell them, I treat people the way I like to be treated.”