The women of Hino: Nicole Ardiles – Sales Consultant, Prestige Hino.
When it comes to choosing an industry to pursue a career in, it’s probably no surprise the transport industry isn’t at the top of the list for many women. For so long it has been considered a male dominated industry.
From truck drivers, warehousing, sales and service, etc…the number of women in these roles is minimal. However, a change is coming.
The government is taking steps to encourage women to consider a career in the transport industry by recently launching the ‘Women in Transport’ national initiative, which aims to improve gender balance within the industry.
To serve as inspiration and encourage more women to become part of one of the fastest growing industries in the country, we want to showcase some of the many women that work for Hino Australia.
Over the next few months our ‘Women in Transport’ series will showcase these amazing women, what they do within Hino, and what they’ve learned about the industry.
Our first feature is on Nicole Ardiles, who has been a Sales Consultant for Prestige Hino for the past four years.
Are there any skills or traits you’ve picked up from previous jobs that have helped you?
I worked for Bunnings Warehouse for 7 years, and being in a workplace where customer service is at the forefront of the job, it came naturally to me to have good customer service skills. I think this is one of the biggest points of differences I have because this role is more than just selling trucks, its about gaining the customers’ trust to give you their business, then about building and maintaining the relationship for ongoing business/referrals.
Why did you choose the transport industry?
I was looking for a challenge and knew nothing about what I was stepping into, but what better way to learn then throw yourself in the deep end, right?
What were some of the learning curves you had to face? How did you overcome them?
Learning how to negotiate. Sales was never something that I thought I would do but it is a skill we all do in our everyday lives. I have learnt to negotiate by trial and error, as well as by listening to my colleagues and learning from them.
What have been some of the challenges dealing with the customers in this industry?
The customers in this industry aren’t your average retail customer. They’re business owners who are busy and are juggling 100 things at once. They (typically) don’t look at buying a truck for fun, they come in because their business requires a truck as a tool to continue to grow and help them do their job. By understanding this and respecting their time and needs, the relationship cannot only be formed but be strengthened.
What is the process of getting the right truck for your customers?
The process of getting the right truck is understanding their business and what their needs are. Usually, the most important question is, what they are trying to carry? (what material and how much weight). A lot of the time customers come in with a perception of what they want but aren’t aware of barriers. A very common example of this is customers wanting to carry a large amount of weight on a car licence… it’s my job to explain to them the road rules and what can and can’t be done, as well as their responsibilities as the vehicle owner and/or driver.
Further to that, it’s understanding where the customer wants their business to go. For example, if their aim is to grow, then I welcome the thought of potentially upgrading now so they don’t need to buy another truck in the near future, or, if they are planning on upgrading in 5 years, what the second hand market looks for that they can consider now e.g. manual vs auto: most of the second-hand market are start-up businesses with a younger demographic that wouldn’t know how to drive manual.
What have been some of the highlights?
The team culture we have here, it is also quite unique and a lot of fun.
What are some things you’ve discovered about the industry that have surprised you?
There are many roles that require different skill levels. There would be something here for everyone.
The Australian government is wanting to attract more women to the transport industry. From your experience, what could they do to make the industry more enticing?
Just advertise. I was never put off by the industry…I had just never considered it. So, I think advertising it more would be a good start.
What advice would you give other women considering a career in the transport industry?
Just go for it! Us women bring something to the table that just seems to work in this industry: a nurturing care factor that is perfect for the type of customers we get.
There you have it, our first edition of ‘Driving forward: Women in transport’.
Nicole is an inspiration to women who are uncertain about considering a career in the transport industry, and how ‘just give it a shot’ can lead you down some unexpected roads.
Stay tuned for our next edition to see other roles where the transport industry can take you.