Mercedes-Benz of Orlando Building Relationships
Do you remember 1984? In spite of Orwell’s dire predictions, it was the year the first Apple Macintosh went on sale, Sony and Philips introduced commercial CD players, gas was $1.10 per gallon, Tom Selleck was playing a cool P.I. in Hawaii, not a middle aged police commissioner in New York, and the Dolphins had the last season that took them to a Super Bowl. Remarkably it was also the year Mercedes-Benz of Orlando opened its doors in Maitland and Bob Berryhill, on his 25th birthday, reported for his first day of work there.
Thirty years later, the dealership continues to attract new customers, while keeping a loyal base most dealerships could only dream of. One reason, though he’s quick to give others the credit or to say, “It isn’t about me,” is that Berryhill is still there and has been the general manager for over a decade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans stay at their jobs on average for about 4.4 years and for Millennials it is half that; yet at Mercedes-Benz of Orlando, 60 percent of the staff has been there over 10 years.
For Berryhill, his vision is to not only bring customers what is arguably the most well-crafted and technologically advanced automobiles in the world, but to impact the community in ways that are as innovative as the brand he sells.
Connecting to Community
“Mercedes-Benz was not really about prestige, but about quality and engineering,” Berryhill said, “it was the car that people aspired to, usually as you got older. Today, we have cars that fit almost any age group. And there is such a passion to innovate; you could probably take all the patents and inventions of all the other manufacturers and it couldn’t compare to Mercedes’ patent portfolio.”
Yet Mercedes-Benz has never enforced one of their patents; they believe that innovations, especially in safety, are too good not to share. “Working with a company with that mindset is rewarding. When a customer calls me and says, ‘This car is the reason my wife and children walked away from an accident.’ That makes it all worthwhile,” he said.
Connecting to the community is what transforms a dealership into more than a place you visit once every few years when you’re in the market for a car. For Mercedes-Benz of Orlando, connecting means giving back, which has really resonated with their customer base. “We have always supported charities and utilized our location as a place where organizations can hold events that attract hundreds of people. What excites everyone the most, both customers and employees, is that for 17 years we have raffled off a car every year and have raised well over $2 million, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to charities like Habitat for Humanity, Give Kids the World and the Children’s Home Society,” Berryhill explained. This year, they are focusing on Heart to Heart, a Community Care Home dedicated to the needs of homeless women and children in Central Florida.
“We tell everyone we meet and everyone we do business with about the raffle and the charity it will benefit; that is an opportunity to tell the charity’s story to hundreds and hundreds of people.”
It is the continuation of a legacy of being more than a place to buy an automobile, but a place to meet, to share and to celebrate what is best in the community.