Meet the team: Pete Southwood, Sales Executive
blog / sales
Pete has worked for Winchester Caravans and Motorhomes for the past few years; originally joining the sales team in 2015.
In his spare time he follows American football. He played for the team that is now known as the Solent Thrashers from the age of 16-18, before leaving to set up the Portsmouth Dreadnoughts, a team he played for until he was 23. Now retired, Pete religiously watches the NFL on Sunday nights and lists the Superbowl as one of his annual highlights.
What’s your career background?
My first job was at Brambridge Garden Centre; this was my first experience in a customer-facing role and I really enjoyed it. I was there for a couple of years before getting a job a bit closer to home at Morrisons in Horndean. I worked in a variety of departments but spent most of my time at the customer service desk, which enabled me to develop my customer service skills further. My first full-time job was working in a factory warehouse and then in the summer of 2015 I started working at what was then the Winchester branch of Chichester Caravans in the sales team. I really enjoyed the role and settled into the team well.
However, 18 months later I decided to embark on my lifelong dream of travelling around the world. I went to the USA, New Zealand, Australia and even sailed a boat around Fiji and some of the islands north of it. On my return, I wanted to rejoin the Winchester Caravans and Motorhomes team but there was no vacancy so I worked in a bank, which gave me some great experience, until a role came up in autumn 2017.
Have you always been interested in caravanning?
It’s been part of my life for as long as I can remember and caravanning holidays are always so enjoyable. I have many fond memories of spending my summer holidays caravanning in and around the Devon and Cornwall areas and I remember spending 3 or 4 weeks travelling around France in the caravan, which was an amazing experience!
What does your role entail?
It varies from day to day! Monday mornings involve myself and the Sales Manager, James, rearranging the forecourt to move the sold caravans off and the new arrivals into the prime position. I deal with a lot of customer enquiries via the phone and email, and also assist with updating the website. I go out to customers' houses and/or storage sites to carry out viewings of the customers’ current caravans for part exchanges. When customers come to collect their new caravans, I show them round the caravan to ensure that they are happy and comfortable with every aspect of it. Occasionally I will help out in the accessory shop or deliver the odd caravan if those teams are particularly busy. As I said, it is very varied! I love meeting the customers and ensuring they get a great all-round service.
What do you aim to achieve within your role?
I always aim to make every customer’s experience a positive one, going above and beyond to present the different options to them so they can make the decision that’s right for them. My role at the bank as a customer advisor taught me many things. Everything was very regulated and you were not allowed to promote a particular product or lead a customer in a certain direction; you just presented the information and let them make an informed decision. And that is what I continue to do now. I give the customer as much information as they need on the caravans they are interested in, giving comparisons etc. The customer is then armed with everything they need to make the decision themselves.
What is the most rewarding part of your role?
It’s nice to see customers that you have sold caravans to in the past returning to see us, as this indicates that they were happy with the service we provided! It's nice to catch up with them and find out where they have been in their caravan.
What are your goals for next year?
I hope to expand my product knowledge on caravans, and as we have recently started selling pre-owned motorhomes and campervans, I’d like to learn more about these too so that I can pass on this knowledge to my customers.
What is your proudest work achievement?
Being part of the team that contributed to winning two Owner Satisfaction Awards in the last three years - we won Best Supplying Dealer of New Caravans 2020 in January - speaks volumes for the level of service that we provide our customers with. This is an amazing achievement and speaks for itself!
Why is Winchester Caravans and Motorhomes a great place to work?
It’s a family business - not just my own family, but the entire staff body is an extension of the Southwood family! Many of the staff are long service members which says a lot in itself and it’s a fun, relaxing atmosphere in which to work.
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