Built Peoria Ford Tough
Pat Hickey brings a community-first approach to modern car sales at Peoria Ford
For decades, the world of car sales has been accented by wacky-waving inflatable arm displays and salesmen who stand outside the dealership ready to jump on the next deal. Now, car buying has shifted to a consumer-friendly, customer-first landscape where would-be car buyers dig in online and seek out as much information about a particular car they might buy. Even then, they may opt to purchase their next vehicle solely online and have it delivered, cutting out the need for salesmen altogether.
This tech-forward approach to making one of the most important and most expensive purchases of someone’s life is something that Pat Hickey, general manager of Peoria Ford, is taking in stride and using as a way to shape the way he does business and stays at the top of auto sales in the Greater Phoenix area.
Located just west of the 101 freeway along a veritable auto dealership row, Hickey’s Peoria Ford has been the number-one volume Ford dealership in the state for eight years. Because of that, Ford gave the first open point in 18 years to Hickey, which became Surprise Ford located off the 303 and Waddell.
But this merit didn’t happen overnight. In fact, Hickey has been at this for decades, having started his career in 1990 at ABC Nissan before embarking on his own career as an influencer in the car sales market.
“I think that the key to success is processes and people,” Hickey notes, pointing to his approach to developing car sales professionals around him. “We keep refining our process and training our people. We don’t fake status quo and we want to think of new ways to reinvent ourselves and how to get more value to the customer. It’s a big purchase so we want to create a lot of value for the customer.”
Hickey, a Valley native who graduated from Arizona State University with intentions of becoming a lawyer, took the opportunity to engage with the customer in a more hands-on, personable, and efficient way, cutting out the need for puffy sales tactics. This helped lead to his purchase of what is now Peoria Ford back in 2010. Since then, Hickey has seen dramatic growth in sales and other areas of the dealership including a budding fleet department that sells nearly 400 new units per month, and a state-of the-art service department complete with the latest equipment to get customers in and out quickly.
But a major emphasis that Hickey has cultivated at Peoria Ford is his devotion to developing true sales talent from a grassroots standpoint. The dealership employees nearly 250 individuals, including sales professionals who have to not only be able to converse with the customer but also have the knowledge that comes with this new age of car sales.
“We’re rewriting some of our processes for customer experience as we focus on touch points on how to speed up the deal and work on efficiency. We want to educate the salesmen a bit more on how to sell the car, and we want to create a million dollar presentation for a $30,000 car,” Hickey explains.
Research shows that nearly 86 percent of all potential car buyers do their research online, and it’s not just to look up what make and model they want. From tech features like driver or parking assist and self-driving to more practical yet updated features such as better gas mileage and distance between oil changes, customers are wanting to know every aspect of the car and the car-buying process.
“Selling a car isn’t just kicking the tire and saying it’s a good deal anymore,” notes Hickey. “People want that trust factor.”
That’s what Hickey and his leadership team are instilling from the ground up at Peoria Ford where knowledgeable sales people can walk customers through every aspect of the car they’re interested in. Whether it’s the much talked-about electric Mustang or the dealership’s lineup of Tuscany products, including Shelby and Harley-Davidson trucks.
Peoria Ford teamed up with the carmaker in 2011 to offer Arizona car buyers these unique models of Ford trucks. While many are familiar with the F-150 and Super Duty options, the new Raptor and Shelby models stand out to those in the market for something truly original, much like how Peoria Ford has reshaped the way to buy a car as we head into a new decade.
Beyond developing a transparent and knowledgeable staff of professionals and offering one-of-a-kind car models and mechanical service, Hickey is a true devotee to the status of his community, helping causes around him. While Peoria Ford pumps life back into the surrounding community with more than $2 million annually from tax revenue, helping everything from roads to schools, Hickey does his part to help veterans, foster children, and pets.
From Phoenix Children’s Hospital to Boulder Crest, a rehabilitation service for veterans back from service, to partnering with local radio personalities Johnjay and Rich to help foster kids in the #LoveUp Foundation, one of Hickey’s missions is to inspire those around him. This same approach goes into his daily leadership focus at Peoria Ford.
“I’m a local guy and I love my community,” he explains. “That’s what I want people to know is that we’re all about community here and helping those in need, and that can include making sure people get a great deal on a car.”
9130 W. Bell Rd, Peoria, AZ 85382