What’s currently having the greatest impact on your business?
For many dealers, diminishing margins present the biggest challenge, but let’s face it – margin pressure in our industry is hardly something new. The real challenge, in my opinion, is changing buyer behaviour. You really need to be digitally savvy to identify, attract and nurture new business opportunities today. Having a website just doesn’t cut it anymore. How do you engage? How is your brand perceived? And, crucially, how visible are you in the online abyss both nationally and locally? Buyers and inﬂuencers are using their mobile phones and tablets to look for information in the same way that you may be looking for your new holiday. Dealers can’t afford to do what they’ve always done or they’ll cease to exist.
Where do you see the next big opportunity?
The industry is awash with change and innovation, so it’s hard to predict where the next big opportunity is going to appear. That said, were I to hedge my bets, I’d push the chips onto artificial intelligence. You can already see how quickly automation through simple process-driven app technology is redesigning how we perform office tasks. Alongside AI, blockchain technology presents a big opportunity when somebody very smart figures out how to make it more commercially accessible to users.
What would make your day job easier?
Eliminate fear and pride from business, both have the ability to hinder progress and change. If we could all be on the same page, so much more could be done.
What’s the best bit of business advice you’ve been given?
Treat everyone as you’d like to be treated. I live by the principle that, if I’m respectful to everyone and treat people the way I’d like to treated, then we have a chance of a harmonious existence where we all profit from the relationship.
If you had had a crystal ball, would you have done anything differently?
No is the simple answer to that! I truly believe that we learn something from our experiences, and that these mould us into what we are and how we react to situations.
Describe your most embarrassing moment.
One that springs to mind occurred a couple of years ago during a presentation at an event to an audience of about 60. I hooked up my iPad to demonstrate some content on the large screen. What I didn’t count on was my son had set up notifcations for a game he was playing. Five minutes into my presentation the audience were informed my ‘troops were ready to invade a Scottish castle’ and ‘to launch an attack’. Sadly, that wasn’t all, the shock caused me to trip and fall into a nearby display stand.
What was your first job?
My first job as a teenager, I was a butcher’s assistant, chop chop!
What would be your dream job?
Without a doubt, I’d be a travel writer.
Fine dining and good wine, or curry and a pint?
I’m a bit of a hedonistic foodie I’m afraid. This is perhaps unsurprising given my father’s family have vineyards and make their own wine in Sicily. Likewise, my mother’s Neapolitan family have a background in the restaurant world, so food and wine have always played a big part in my life.
Money’s not an issue, what’s your perfect car… and where would you like to drive it?
Shockingly, with my Italian background, I really have no interest in cars! Cars have always been a means of getting me from A to B. That said, I do look forward to a world of fuel efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles and, for me, that’s making a statement.
Favourite holiday destination.
I do love Sicily as my go-to destination. My father’s family still live out there and I’ve been visiting since I was a baby. It’s a beautiful Island, rich in culture and diversity and still unspoilt by mass tourism.
How do you like to spend your spare time?
I love running and, in particular, trail running. I typically run 60km a week, work permitting. This year I ran Edinburgh and Dublin marathons and completed an 89km ultrathon.
When I’m not running, I’m going to be out with the kids. The rest of my time, I’ll usually have my head buried in a fantasy Sci-Fi novel or on a social media platform.