South African born Kaashief Boonzaier, Scania Australia’s top salesman for six years in a row, had no truck-selling experience when he applied to join the company in 2011. But his burning desire to deliver for his customers, a laser-like focus on success and ambitious career progression aspirations resulted in promotion to State Sales Manager for Scania New South Wales. Now he looks to mentor a new crop of sales superstars.
State Sales Manager, Scania NSW
Prior to emigrating from South Africa, Kaash had been involved in telecom sales and then built his own construction company, specialising in apartment blocks. Moving to Australia he managed a call centre for a premium car company, but knew he wanted more.
“In South Africa I had developed strong communication and negotiation skills, dealing with customers face-to-face. I was excited when I saw a job come up at Scania. I knew that working for a global company offers many pathways to success,” Kaash says.
“Because Scania owns its own sales network in Australia, there’s a structure and a career path within a company-owned business. When I started, Dean Dal Santo, who is today Director of Sales told me ‘You can set your levels and your career aspirations quite high here. You can achieve a lot if you push yourself’.
“I had a good mentor, John Byron. I worked with him, and closely with Dean, attending a lot of meetings. I saw Dean as a role model. I wanted to emulate him. He always made time for me, which was highly appreciated. I'd ring him and say, ‘What can I do better, to become a better person’.
“He would always push me, and he still does, and challenges my thinking. That makes me the strong, confident person I am today when I'm sitting in front of customers, because of that guidance,” Kaash says.
“My plan was to work up to a senior role within the company, but first I needed to develop my leadership skills. I asked for leadership skills training, and they sent me. I was also exposed to Scania’s solution selling. It is more than just selling the equipment; it's about actually listening to customers.
“Success doesn’t come overnight. From the first to my fifth year, it was hard work. Knocking on doors, meeting people, introducing myself. So, people got to know me, and now they come looking for me.
“I always said that whether the customer owns one, five, 10, 50 or 100 vehicles, I'd give them the same level of customer service, the same levels of attention.
“Follow-up, loyalty, honesty, it's very important to these customers. We sell many trucks to single-vehicle operators, and they talk to a lot of people, they look at all the fleets to see what they buy.
“Trust, respect and persistence are important. To keep in contact through quiet times as well as busy times with customers. Always being there for customers and fostering good after sales relationships too,” he says.
“A lot of people ask me, ‘What motivates you? You always come to work motivated, happy’. The answer is simple. I wake up every morning, I look at my wife and my kids, and I just want more than anything to give them the best life that I can.
“Scania has been really good to me, they supported me from day one,” Kaash says. “I couldn't have asked for a better company. You can’t believe the loyalty and the support that Scania has offered me, through good times and bad, they've been there for me.
“Success is always about teamwork. It’s always been about the support network within the organisation. We work with multiple departments, with good skillsets, and great people, so together we form a strong network to support our customers,” he says.