“Guilty as charged,” he laughed.
“But in my defence I have sold an awful lot of Mercedes-Benz trucks to a lot of happy customers.”
We caught up with Francis two weeks after starting his new job, as he was visiting various businesses in Sydney’s west.
“I’ve taken this job knowing full well that I’m going to spend the next few years virtually living out of the back of my car.
Across the world, Mercedes-Benz sells about 40,000 buses and coaches every year, which represents about 17% of the global market.
In NSW the figure is closer to 10% but the German giant is showing every sign of wanting to lift that higher. Late last year Jan Moreth moved from Europe to become the new general manager of Mercedes-Benz’ Australia/Pacific bus division.
Jan’s job is to reinvigorate sales and forge closer industry ties at every level – from the major metropolitan players down to the smaller rural operators.
And those goals have been made very clear to the new recruit. “I’m a business development person and I focus on building relationships, understanding the pleasure and pain points in a business and then working out a way that Mercedes-Benz can help,” Francis said.
Now 43 years old, Francis moved to Australia almost 10 years ago.
“My career started in the construction industry in the United Kingdom”
“I looked after fleets of heavy commercial vehicles – tippers, agitators, skip trucks, you name it.
“Some of the fleets were 100-strong and I was buying and selling trucks all the time. It’s back then when I developed my love of the Mercedes-Benz brand.”
In 1999 Francis took his relationship with the brand one-step further when he moved to the other side, joining Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles in a selling capacity. “
This time is was light commercial which increased my knowledge base further, and because I went in believing in the brand I found the selling easy.”
It was four years later that Francis made his big move.