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Toyota is a dependable and highly recommended vehicle.

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Mark Sampson. Toyota- Life after Recalls at Frank Smith Toyota, June 2010
Mark Sampson. Toyota- Life after Recalls at Frank Smith Toyota, June 2010. Photo by Pollux Castor Inc.

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“You simply treat a customer with courtesy, just like you would if you were welcoming a guest or family member into your home. Respect the customer’s time, provide honest answers when asked questions and give the customer a great value up front.”—Mark Sampson

As originally First Published by Texas Border Business newsprint edition on June 2010

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By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez

Mark Sampson, general sales manager for the Frank Smith Toyota-Hyundai dealership in the Rio Grande Valley fell in love with South Texas. After one year in this semi-tropical piece of land he has learned to discover the value of what can be the last frontier.

“Detroit had its economic boom for the past one hundred years, this area is just beginning,” he said.

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Mark was born and raised in South Florida and he finds a lot of similarities, “The humidity is less here,” he said.

Mark is a seasoned dealer administrator who started his career in the automotive industry in Toledo, Ohio. “For 18 years I worked my way up the ranks,” he said.

During those days he learned from his clients the importance of how to develop customers for life. He says that this is possibly the only way to be successful in the auto dealership business. “I’m in the people business!” he said.

His learning experience was while he was managing the Buick and Cadillac dealership adding that to accomplish this is actually a very simple process.

“You simply treat a customer with courtesy, just like you would if you were welcoming a guest or family member into your home. Respect the customer’s time, provide honest answers when asked questions and give the customer a great value up front.”

Mark has been in the business long enough to understand that the sale of a vehicle represents only five percent of the relationship with the customer.

“It’s how the customer is treated after the sale and every time they come back to the dealership that makes up the other 95%,” he said.

Mark says that this is the philosophy that first attracted him to Frank Smith Toyota-Hyundai. In the conversations that he has had with owners Rolland and Melissa Smith, they shared with him their desire to ensure that this philosophy on customer relations remains consistent in the operation of the overall business.

As a result, the State-of-the-Art facilities and customer amenities they provide at Frank Smith Toyota-Hyundai allow our customers to take advantage of a very comfortable and pleasant car shopping experience. Mark says that’s the way it should be.

If you have not yet visited the Frank Smith Toyota-Hyundai building, you should. The dealership is different from outside to the inside, and your visit will be a pleasant experience. Inside the lobby, which is ample, they have a Paletera franchise business as well as complimentary shoe shine and manicure services. The premises occupy a building with more than 60,000 sq. ft.

“We believe that this type of dedication towards customer relationships is exactly what it takes to be the very best automobile dealership, not only in the Valley but also in the State; and I believe that is something our customers deserve.”

Mark pointed out that in the 22 years that he has been in this business; he has seen hundreds of recalls from all of the manufacturers but never seen one quite like the Toyota recalls of 2010.

In addition he said that in the past other manufacturers might have had seven or eight recalls within just a couple of years of each other but the media just swept it all under the rug.

“With the 2010 Toyota recalls it seemed like all day, every day, morning, noon and night all you would hear was “Toyota recalled this… and Toyota recalled that.” It was astounding,” he stated.

Historically Toyota has been a great vehicle, now-a-days it has improved in all aspects. The advance technology is one that customers are getting used to and it competes exceptionally well with other automakers.

Mark said that while he may not know the reasons for the overkill on reporting the 2010 Toyota recalls, he told Texas Border Business that Toyota customers have been loyal and faithful to the end.

“I want to commend both previous and first time Toyota owners alike for their support and for understanding that Toyota stands for much more that what was being reported,” Mark stated.

It is well known that Toyota’s dedication to safety and customer satisfaction remains relentless and at Frank Smith Toyota the loyal customers have led them to achieve new sales records. “For that, I can’t express my appreciation enough,” said Mark.

Even though the recall and bad publicity were awful and there was overkill in many cases, the Frank Smith Toyota team took the recalls as an opportunity to be proactive and give customers the very best service. “We extended service hours and our staff so that we could take care of our customers promptly,” Mark said.

In addition, Toyota has responded aggressively by releasing the highest level of new incentives in Toyota’s history. Incentives like 0% Financing and backing every new Toyota sold with a 2 Year/25k Mile Toyota Pre-paid Maintenance Program.

“Coming up on the horizon, Toyota is shining brighter than ever with their fantastic all-new and completely redesigned Sienna, 4Runner and Avalon models,” he finalized.

Mark Sampson, general sales manager can be reached at 1-956-784-3300 TBB

This article was published in June of 2010

Written by Roberto Hugo Gonzalez the 2009 SBA Journalist of the Year Award Winner & The 2009 and 2012 Paul Harris Award recipient.

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