Interview with Steve Raley – General Manager of Lexington Park Ford Lincoln

SteveRaley

Over seven years ago, Lexington Park Ford Lincoln was a new dealership with not much to hang their hats on. In fact, the dealership sold only 288 vehicles in their first year. Management soon realized that changes needed to come quickly, so two barbershop quartet singers were brought in to ‘tune’ things up.

Hailing from Mechanicsville, Maryland, Steve Raley and Shane Taylor introduced new ideas to the Lexington Park Ford Lincoln team, and soon the dealership was on its way to becoming the top selling dealership for new and used vehicles in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. With an unmatched work ethic and a love for the community they live and work in, Raley and Taylor introduced the changes needed to transform and sustain successful longevity.

Today, Raley manages 46 employees and will soon have a new state-of-the-art facility, located on twenty acres in the San Sushi Complex in Lexington Park, Maryland. The dealership now sells more than 566 new vehicles a year, putting them ahead of the other one hundred Ford and Lincoln dealerships in the Washington, DC region.

The secret to the instant change in culture and success is credited to the theory of hiring local people that care deeply about the community they live in and teaching new employees that the number one goal is to take care of the customer. An open door policy and honesty was implemented along with with a seamless transaction process, competitive low pricing and a high level of customer service.

Raley has created a business model that ensures his employees love their jobs, and enjoy coming to work every day. He also makes sure that Lexington Park Ford Lincoln customers enjoy their car buying experience, by being personally involved in every single transaction.

We were able to speak with Mr. Raley to get a better idea of what has made Lexington Park Ford Lincoln so successful.

Mr. Raley, thank you for taking the time to speak with us and I’d like to compliment you on your receptionist, Flow. She was very polite and happy. I could actually hear her smile over the phone. Flow is the “heartbeat” of our business. She is extremely important to us. She is very sincere and natural as an operator and sets the tone of the store. Flow has been in the industry for thirty-plus years and brings a lot of business to our location.

How long have you been in the business? I’ve been in the business since 1992 and Shane [Taylor] has been doing this since 1996.

Who are your primary customers? Fifty percent of our customers are referrals. We take great pride in the positive word of mouth we create.  People know us. Shane [Taylor] and I both grew up in St. Mary’s County. They know they can trust us.

lexington park ford lincoln happy holidays

How many locations and employees do you have? We have the one location in Lexington Park and employ 46 individuals.

How long has Lexington Park Ford Lincoln been in the automotive business? We have been in business since 2007.

How did you get into the automotive business, Mr. Raley? I started as a car lot attendant and worked my way up into ownership. It’s important to know every position in every department to understand management and I think this has helped with the success of Lexington Park Ford Lincoln.

What advice would you give your younger self? Being in the business for over twenty years now, I’ve learned that what customers want is a low price and an easy and transparent transaction process with no hassle.

You get involved with a number of charities. Which organizations do you assist with? Toys for Tots, Christmas in April, Drive 4 Your School, House Advantage

Who has been your biggest influence in building a successful business? Greg Basiliko General Manager of Waldorf Ford & Waldorf Dodge has been our mentor. He gave us our first management jobs. His vision and priority on customer service and community involvement has influenced us greatly.

What gives you a competitive advantage? We offer excellent customer service, better than any other dealership in Southern Maryland. We provide an honest, hometown feel. By doing so, we continue to grow our referral base by exceeding expectations.

What is your biggest challenge? Our current lot has not been able to keep up with our rate of growth. We are fixing this with a new state-of-the-art facility that will be in California, Maryland. Within two years, we will be on twenty acres of land near the San Sushi complex.

How will you sustain your competitive advantage? We will continue to outdo any other Ford store in the tri-county area. Sales have increased dramatically. We just had out biggest sales month ever, in November, with 106 new vehicles sold. We will also continue to exceed expectations that will grow our customer base.

Thank you Mr. Raley for the time you took to speak with us. Lexington Park Ford Lincoln is a great success story to the St. Mary’s County area and they truly care about the community.

If you are looking for a great car buying experience visit Lexington Park Ford Lincoln. We offer competitive low pricing and offer excellent customer service, better than any other dealership in Southern Maryland.

We are located at 21575 Great Mills Road in Lexington Park, MD 20653. Call 301-863-811 or visit us online at http://www.lexingtonparkford.com/index.htm

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