Land Rover: Level up your car buying experience

There really is a unique air when you walk into the Land Rover showroom in Greenhills.

EDSA isn’t a quiet place. The noise of the motorcycles, the cars, the buses, and even the trains makes it so. Yet somehow, when you go through the double doors of LR’s showroom, it all just gets muffled away. Like you get teleported into a different location.

That was clearly by design, as the vestibule makes sure that the outside noise doesn’t disturb the quiet calm inside.

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“Good morning sir,” says the lady sitting at the front desk. I told her I was there to meet with Chris. “He’ll be right down sir. Would you like some coffee while you wait?”

It’s about 10 in the morning and I’ve already had my second cup, so I said I’ll hold off on that unless I want to start shaking while I go through the neatly curated collection of Land Rovers -and Jaguars- in the showroom. She said if I need anything, just ask.

I am no stranger to the life of sales. A lifetime ago as a young, fresh graduate from university, I walked into a car showroom and applied for a job in sales. I thought it was going to be a temp job as I applied for post-graduate, but I grew to like it. Sales is a great job for someone who enjoyed talking to different people like myself. And it seems Chris Ward, the president of Coventry Motors, is the same way.

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Mr. Ward is very much British, but I can argue he’s been a salesman for just as long. You can tell by the many stories he shares of managing dealerships and interacting with governments in some rather tumultuous areas of the world. But even if you haven’t met him, you’ll feel how his presence has transformed the Land Rover (and Jaguar) showroom experience.

Ward has been in charge of Land Rover here for several years now, and he has had the difficult task of charting a course through a pandemic that stressed the global and local economy as well as the supply chain. But now Land Rover is back to good times, and you can tell by how busy Land Rover is by launching new models; the most recent of which was the new generation Range Rover. 

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The models on display are curated to showcase what the brand has to offer different customers with differing desires and demands. Every area is crafted to welcome customers to browse what’s available. The vehicle doing the heavy lifting for Land Rover is the Defender, as it's proving very popular with customers here. Actually just beside us is the 75th Anniversary Limited Edition Defender with the striking Grasmere Green color scheme for the body and the wheels, as well as a cool interior. 

As we have our coffee, I can’t help but ask about the kinds of options that Land Rover offers clients. Land Rover is in a class of automobiles where bespoke is the norm, not the exception. That’s why there are all kinds of color swatches all around, and I imagine the potential combinations are quite literally endless. Customers want what they want, and Land Rover finds ways to provide it and build the DNA of the car around it.

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I throw Chris a curve ball and ask whether they offer ballistic protection from the factory. There are a lot of clients that shop in this class of automobile that demand that protection, and right now there are no official models that have been upgraded from the factory that are currently on sale here. But Chris says they already offer it. Land Rover (and Jaguar) did have the Sentinel variants that offer head-of-state levels of protection, but what he is pointing at is an authorized service provider in Germany where -upon ordering- a customer’s new Land Rover can be sent for those upgrades.

Land Rover really doesn’t feel like a retailer. It doesn’t feel like a supermarket where you walk in, go through your list, and check out. It’s far more personal like walking into a neighborhood general store or deli where the people are friends, maybe even relatives.

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That’s the kind of feel that Chris has carefully crafted not by words, but by action. Whenever I come by to pick up a car for our reviews, Ward makes it a point to personally walk me through the car's features, what I can expect, and what makes it special. That’s also something he likes to do with customers. He’s a salesman, but the role he plays so well is an ambassador for the brand.

That is what he has been working to transform with the people whether they are in sales or service. They have to be brand ambassadors to the customer, not just salespeople or service advisors. That makes the difference.

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Volume brands have to chase the number of sales. Numbers first. In the luxury sector, the game is different. Chris believes that the quality of the sale matters just as much as the numbers. Every client should depart (preferably drive a new LR) from the showroom with an experience that makes them smile because they feel they were cared for and valued.

Selling a Defender, Discovery, Discovery Sport, Evoque, Velar, or the full-on Range Rover isn’t difficult. These vehicles are so desirable in style, capability, and luxury that they sell themselves, so the challenge is to level up the experience.

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That is what Chris Ward and Land Rover Philippines have been stepping up on. They’re not focused on just selling a product. They’re welcoming clients into a unique and elevated brand experience. And you feel it the moment you walk in the door.