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Meet James Mainwaring, Sales Manager
blog / sales
James has worked at the Winchester Caravans and Motorhomes site for 20 years, (under previous ownership prior to 2015) working his way up from sales assistant to sales manager and is now the unofficial second in command.
James is a self-confessed cake lover and outside of work he enjoys the odd round of golf to unwind.
What does your job entail?
One of the things I love most about my job is that it is extremely varied. Although my main task is to assist customers in purchasing caravans and motorhomes, I never know what other tasks will materialise from one day to the next. One day I could be rearranging the vehicles on the forecourt, the next travelling to purchase a pre-owned caravan from a customer and the next dealing with staffing matters and rotas.
I manage the sales team and also oversee the other departments to make sure our entire service is seamless and that the operation is running as it should. My main priority is to make sure we have a range of stock to suit our customers’ needs and that people are enjoying their caravans they’ve purchased from us.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I love the fact that we have so many repeat customers as I feel they must come back to us because they’re happy with the vehicles as well as the service they’ve received. I’ve got some long-term customers that I’ve sold 7, 8, or 9 vans to over the years! It’s great to see people time after time and hear about the adventures they’ve had and how much they’re enjoying their caravans.
This year I’ve particularly enjoyed learning more about motorhomes. Since branching out into this area at the beginning of this year with pre-owned motorhome and VW camper sales, I’ve been learning more and more. Now that we’re an approved dealership for new Bailey motorhomes, I’m looking forward to seeing where this takes us.
What do you find challenging?
The fact that there never seems to be enough time in the day! With such a varied role there are lots of things that need to be done so we’re constantly busy and on-the-go, which is a great thing, but it would also be nice to have a little time to get ahead with a few things too. Since we reopened in June it’s been non-stop - caravanning presented many people with the ideal holiday opportunity for 2020 as you can easily self-isolate in a caravan with all you need on board, and this has meant demand has grown hugely.
What do you aim to achieve in your role?
I just want to help my customers find the caravan or motorhome that matches their needs. Seeing a family come in, find the perfect van and go off and enjoy holidays in it is really satisfying for me. I like that we’re helping make that happen for them. We don’t work on commission, so there’s no pressure from us to buy anything, We just aim to provide all the necessary information and guidance as needed to help the customer make the decision that's right for them.
This year has seen more and more young families getting into caravanning and it’s fantastic to see the demographic diversifying. Caravanning is a great holiday choice with something for every age group and especially fun for kids, so it’s great to see this being recognised.
What’s your proudest work achievement?
I’m really proud of the way my career has progressed here. I joined as a youngster and learned the ropes from those around me and I’m pleased to be passing that knowledge onto others now. I’ve enjoyed taking on more responsibility over the years and it’s a great feeling to know that James Southwood (the owner) trusts me to be his right hand man.
How have you been supported during your time here?
James has invested hugely in me, as he does with all his employees. Since he took over ownership of the company in 2015 I have received a range of training which has helped me develop additional skills and looks great on my CV! I completed a 6-month management course, a disciplinary course and I’ve undertaken a number of health and safety and risk management qualifications too. James is a firm believer in continuing professional development and ensures that the entire team has the chance to progress if they wish to.
Why is Winchester Caravans and Motorhomes such a great place to work?
I love meeting new people and finding out about their caravanning trips and adventures! The other main advantage is the great team we work with - many of us have worked together for a long time and everyone works together well to provide a first-class service.
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