As the newest member of the Management Team at Porsche Centre Guildford, Jilly Durrant is making her dream come true. After an introduction to life in the motor industry in her native North East, she has been steadily working her way up, expanding her knowledge and fueling her passion in the industry she loves.
We sat down with the Porsche Retail Sales Manager to chat about the challenges and perks of the job, what it took to get here, and what it’s like to work in one of the busiest Porsche Centres in the UK.
How long have you been in the motor industry and what got you started?
I’ve been in the motor industry since I was 19 years old. I decided relatively quickly that I didn’t want to go to university, that I wanted a job which I could make a career out of, and make money. I was also clear that I didn't want a traditional desk job but wanted to interact with people and be part of a successful team.
At 19, I started with Mini in Newcastle. It was a real baptism of fire, always on the go, constantly exciting tasks, speaking to an array of people, I loved that element of it. It wasn’t until I moved down from Newcastle to London and worked for Fiat that I thought really hard about ‘what next?’
How did the move to Porsche come about?
It was always my desire to work for a prestige brand but I felt I needed to understand the London customer first. Working for in Central London allowed me to understand the desires and motivators behind buying a car and I became fascinated how past experiences of the buying experience had shaped certain decisions. I saw a Sales Role advertised for Porsche Centre Reading and applied, that was in 2013. I was instantly impressed by the Centre, the team and especially the products. In my opinion there really is nothing better. When I heard that I’d been successful, it was an amazing time for me, full of excitement and optimism.
What’s special about Porsche Centre Reading?
At Porsche Centre Reading, the management team have been instrumental in shaping how I am as a person and as a manager. I have spent the past four and a half years listening, observing and adjusting. I felt it was the right time to see what I could offer to a team of my own and to be part of another high performance team. I feel like I’ve been on such a positive journey with the Porsche Centre Reading management team and that’s led me to where I am now.
And the promotion to Porsche Centre Guildford?
It is beyond exciting and at times very challenging. However, it’s a new chapter and I am throwing myself into it with the usual Jilly enthusiasm which I bring to most experiences. What helps me is that I’ve been there so I understand what the Sales Team are going through and they can hopefully realise l understand them. I’m really enjoying it and it’s such a privilege to say you work for Porsche. There are lots of fantastic things ahead with Porsche Centre Guildford. I have just finished a module all about coaching which has been so enlightening for me as part of a leadership programme. I am delighted to see how much emphasis is placed on personal development for success by key individuals within our group.
What has been the biggest challenge in the industry and do you think it’s harder as a female?
When I first joined, I wasn’t familiar with the products and I did feel at times I was being tested by my customers. They tend to know their stuff as they’re real enthusiasts. What I got from that very early on is that you need to know your product and learn how to read your customers. It definitively gets easier. In terms of being a woman in car retailing, I’ve personally never felt that it’s an issue. I feel equal, we get the same pay as men performing in the role and we all have the same opportunities so I just got my head down and worked hard. I feel it’s paid off.
We have fun, both with my team and with customers. I’ve never thought it was easier or harder as a women, it was never a factor.
I’d love to have more women in the team. It would bring a great balance to the teams and it is happening you’ll be pleased to hear as I am seeing more and more females working in our industry and in particular for Porsche Centre Reading. I love to see women encourage, support and empower other women.
Finally, what is your favourite car?
911 GTS, all day long! Oh and in Sapphire Blue!
Contact Jilly on 01483 408 800 if you require information on any of our of our new or Porsche Approved Pre-Owned vehicles.
*Data determined in accordance with the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) as required by law. You can find more information on WLTP at www.porsche.com/wltp . For Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) range and Equivalent All Electric Range (EAER) figures are determined with the battery fully charged, using a combination of both battery power and fuel.
Values are provided for comparison only. To the extent that fuel and energy consumption or CO₂ values are given as ranges, these do not relate to a single, individual car and do not constitute part of the offer. Optional features and accessories can change relevant vehicle parameters such as weight, rolling resistance and aerodynamics which may result in a change in fuel or energy consumption and CO₂ values. Vehicle loading, topography, weather and traffic conditions, as well as individual driving styles, can all affect the actual fuel consumption, energy consumption, electrical range, and CO₂ emissions of a car.
** Important information about the all-electric Porsche models can be found here