Dealership Superstars Revealed: Team Winnebagoland’s Erin Eake & Karra Marg

This year offers a bit of a twist as two employees take the prize. The ladies of the Oskosh, Wis.-based store won by a landslide, receiving 1,412 of the total 2,099 votes cast. The pair was nominated for their exemplary customer service and commitment to the industry.

In 2012, the team at Western Power Sports has joined Dealership Superstar program founders MPN and Peak Dealership Performance in recognizing dealership employees who show innovation in their field, great compassion for their dealership and its customers, and remarkable salesmanship.

As in years past, a panel of judges narrowed the entries down to five finalists, but this year’s nominations offered up a bit of a twist. Tom Van Zeeland of Team Winnebagoland in Oshkosh, Wis., nominated a duo of his employees for the prize. “After reading about the Dealership Superstar competition and recalling the article of the previous winner, I felt that as general manager at Team Winnebagoland, I could not help but feel that I have a staff full of Superstars,” wrote Van Zeeland in his nomination. “I cannot separate either one of my nominees, so I must nominate both of them as a pair. Having Erin Eake and Karra Marg on my staff makes my job easy.”

His nomination of the team resonated with the voters, and Erin and Karra won this year’s competition by a landslide, receiving 1,412 of the total 2,099 votes cast.

You can read the full nomination as well as profiles of our other Dealership Superstar finalists at s18390.p525.sites.pressdns.com.

We’ve asked both of our winners to share what being named 2012 Dealership Superstar means to them.

Karra Marg

Q. What does it mean to you to win?
A. For Erin and me to win means our customers are awesome! Without them, we would not be here! Being nominated was a shock as we didn’t even know our boss, Tom Van Zeeland, had nominated us until we became a finalist and he came up and showed us the email. Even better was when he found out we won. That was awesome news for a Monday! Working in this profession for six years and loving every minute of it, you don’t realize how you affect the customers who come in to Team Winnebagoland. I am at the front desk, and I’m the “face” of the dealership, because I’m the first person they see. Being upbeat and smiling all the time puts them in a good mood, even if they just blew the engine in their machine! Honestly, for us to win is an awesome feeling and knowing that without our customers voting for us, we would not be here today.

Q. Why do you think Tom nominated you?
A. First, I would like to thank Tom for nominating us even with all the crap he has to put up with us “girls.” Between Erin and me, we work really hard at our job. It doesn’t matter if it is the job that nobody wants to do, we do it with enthusiasm and show that if you put your mind to it, it can be done. We are also the cheerleaders of the store. If we are slow or have a contest, we are both egging on everyone to compete and try their hardest. Lastly, without our customers, there would be no Team Winnebagoland. We have a different approach when it comes to our customers, because we are girls and can relate differently than the guys. I can’t count how many times a customer comes in asking for Erin or me because they have so much fun working with us.

Can you tell a specific customer service story in detail that shows why you’ve earned the title of Dealership Superstar?
I honestly can’t recall one story that stands out more then others, but it is a combined effort that is put forth to get the customers taken care of no matter what. I remember numerous accounts of running parts to customers’ houses after hours because they can’t make it in, or they are leaving for a trip before we open. My favorite is when a new rider comes in, and you get to share their enthusiasm and excitement of getting a new machine. It is my job to make sure they have all the proper riding gear and to help make the machine unique to their personality. There is something about engaging with them to learn about what their favorite things are that make them who they are. Then, being able to find a helmet, jacket and anything else they might need that describes them on the inside and lets it show through their gear and accessories is a great feeling. So, whether it be cruisin’ the street with their friends or finding the biggest mud hole with their family, they can show their personality.

Erin Eake

Q. What does it mean for you to win?
A. First off, I just want to say it was not only a surprise to be nominated, but to win is just a compliment from all our loyal customers, friends and family that voted for us. Without them, we wouldn’t be here or in the industry we love so much. We would answer the phone and people we didn’t even personally know would tell us how they voted for us or come in the store telling us how their reminder comes up every day to vote! The support was truly humbling.  

Q. Why do you think that Tom nominated you?
A. Tom’s nomination was completely unknown to Karra and myself until we were named one of the top five finalists. He’s not the type of boss to blow smoke up your butt to fill your ego, so when he does compliment you, it’s usually a complete surprise. Tom really truly values us in his department because of all the great feedback he gets from our customers. He stands behind us with new ideas for the store and helps us make them a complete success.

Q. Can you tell a specific customer service story in detail that shows why you’ve earned the title of Dealership Superstar?
When I started at Team, I was as green as green could be. I had never been involved in this industry before. I knew how to talk to people, find out what they were looking for, and it was a learning process not only for me, but also my customers. The first fall I started, we had an open house. This family came in on a Thursday night with their 4-year-old daughter and 1-and-a-half-year-old son, trying to find snow apparel for the family. The little girl was attached to me at the hip. While Mom and Dad were trying on jackets, we were playing with balloons, counting pumpkins around the store, giving her parents time and space to try a few things I suggested. Little did I know that this family would become customers for life. Every year they stop back to update gear or buy parts for the sleds or motorcycle. When they do stop in, it is a family affair because everyone wants to come in and tell me what is going on with the latest game, dance performance or how school is going. It has been a complete pleasure knowing that I have taken care of this family looking back over the last seven years. It’s hard for me to show how I’m a Superstar, because to me I feel like I’m just doing my job.

Erin on Karra

Q. Why does she deserve to be the Dealership Superstar?
A. Karra loves the industry and values her customers as much as I do. Our store is non-commissioned based, but she still treats every customer as they are a No. 1 client. Her great attitude and smile really sets the tone for the whole store!

Q. What are her strengths?
A. Karra is always eager for new challenges,and always strives to give friendly service to give customers complete customer satisfaction!

Q. Tell a specific story where you saw her acting as a Superstar in the dealership?
A. Not only does Karra give great customer service, but she is an overall team player. As a store, we have started with a monthly event/promo each month. Karra is always trying to come up with new ways to help implement our sales process with parts. One month, she took the initiative to set up a customer reward for our spotlight units that particular month, and it went off without a hitch!

Q. Why do you like working with her?
A. At Team Winnebagoland, I’m known for coming up with different rides and promotions going on in our store. She’s usually the first one that I start bouncing my ideas off of. She helps me think of ways to make it work, gain team support and the first one to jump on board with me. If either one of us is having a bad day, we lean on each other to remind ourselves, “In retail, you’re not allowed to have a bad day. We need to give our customers the greatest show on Earth!”

Karra on Erin

Q. Why does she deserve to be the Dealership Superstar?
A. Erin works very hard at her job, constantly proving why the dealership needs females to work here. She can relate to the female customers that come in that are intimidated by all the testosterone surrounding them. She puts on promotions for our customers, which include weekly rides, Christmas in July and even an annual women’s ride. Erin has an upbeat personality that can put anyone in a good mood.

Q. What are her strengths?
A. Erin’s self-confidence and efforts show through every day. Whether she is working with customers on product knowledge or introducing a new promotion to the higher ups, she does it with confidence. She puts forth effort with enthusiasm at everything she does, from the simplest task of taking out the mail to helping a new customer learn how to drive with a clutch on a new machine.

Q. Tell a specific story where you saw her acting as a Superstar in the dealership?
A. Erin is always looking for ways to incorporate women in the world of riding, and one year she put on a “Women’s Week.” She planned everything from the goody bags to the seminars. It is something that everyone has talked about, and it was great getting so many women from the community to be involved. She worked her butt off to make sure everything was perfect and when the week came, she was prepared and the Superstar of the show!

Q. Why do you like working with her?
A. As everyone puts it here, I am Erin’s little sister. We bounce ideas off each other and make them better. Customers get us confused, so we are known as the “blonde” or “brunette” that works there, which works for us! We like to gang up on the guys in contests that we have and normally one of us comes out on top. We have fun picking out the new trends and products for the upcoming year, and setting up the floor with new displays and designs as the seasons change.   

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