On the Rise: Jill Richter
Auto dealer account manager | RHD Tire | Age: 33
What was your first job in the industry?
My first job in the industry is my current position at RHD Tire. I love that I found my place in the world of tires.
What attracted you to the industry?
Growing up in the metro Detroit area you naturally develop a sense of pride and huge respect for the automotive industry. So when I learned that RHD Tire is a Michigan-based company whose main customers are Ford and GM car dealerships, I felt like the position was a perfect match. The interview process at RHD Tire took almost three months, and during my visits and meetings I found out the tire industry has some of the most hard-working, straightforward, and genuine people in it, true salt of the earth individuals.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
When I joined RHD Tire in 2012 I had very little knowledge of tires. My educational background is graphic design and marketing, but I always held jobs that centered heavily around sales and customer service. As many sales people know, you need to have knowledge of the product you’re selling, so this was the biggest challenge for me. I tackled it head on and spent the first three months at RHD Tire utilizing every spare minute to study tire models from the leading tire manufacturers. I enrolled in every online tire course I could find, and even created flash cards and outlines to study at home. I knew I would need to have confidence when speaking about tires to my accounts and I wanted my knowledge, confidence, and skills to be honest and genuine.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
Since joining RHD Tire have met many great people who have influenced my career, from fixed operations directors with over 50 years of experience to brand new technicians and everyone in between, and through all of those individuals I find that I learn something new every day. But I have to say there are two people who have influenced my career the most, my boss, Mike Korte, and my co-worker, Bob McCombs. Mike always recognizes and rewards hard work. He is fair, he believes in me and my ideas, and he has a wealth of tire knowledge and experience to share. And Bob is a former GM field manager. He has so much automotive experience, specifically with car dealerships, and therefore he is my lifeline, my phone-a-friend, and my mentor. Bob is always just a phone call away and makes time for everyone. That kind of courtesy has taught me so much about the importance of communication and how to be an excellent communicator. He truly leads by example, and has taught me to do so as well.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
Three short months after countless hours studying, I felt confident enough to make my first sales call. Now almost four years later I am RHD Tire’s Ford, Lincoln, and Quick Lane sales representative, a certified auto dealer account manager for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., a tire trainer, a Ford Tire Program expert, a tire warranty specialist, and I now call on 40 dealerships with visits twice per month. During my dealer visits I set up, manage, and maintain all of my client’s tire inventories, and with this responsibility I have developed loyal and supportive customers, and I have helped maintain RHD Tire’s ATW Platinum Distributor status. I have also spearheaded innovative marketing campaigns and contests to build and maintain RHD Tire’s client base and increase sales year over year.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
I would expect to be in a role that is an extension of what I am doing now. Maybe that would entail leading a sales team at RHD Tire, as our company grows and expands, or simply just mentoring one or two co-workers in sales roles.
What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?
My world centers around car dealerships, so I would say the biggest issue we face is customer retention. Fortunately there are distributors like RHD Tire who can aid in inventory selection and management, as well as tire sales training, to help dealers retain customers through tires and other important service products.
What’s the one thing you wish someone would have told you before you entered the industry?
I wish someone would have told me how much fun and rewarding this industry is. I would have started much sooner!
How do you encourage others to enter the industry?
I do my job day in and day out with a smile on my face and positive attitude. I truly love what I do and I hope that shows and therefore encourages others to join the industry.
Tell us about your family.
I am married to a great man, Jacob Lalinsky, who is a clay sculptor at General Motors. Jake is so creative, inventive, and handy, which I love because I enjoy giving him many projects around our home for him to complete. We have an 8-year-old daughter, Isabelle, who is smart, creative, and exceptionally funny. She keeps us laughing all the time! Isabelle just began playing soccer, and I have fully accepted the role of a soccer mom (minus the minivan). We also have two small dogs, Ava and Ben, both are equally neurotic and cute.
What’s your favorite weekend activity?
Spending time with my family. We love to hike, ride bikes, play sports together, go fishing, and we have super fun Nerf gun battles.
What keeps you up at night?
My husband’s snoring keeps me up at night.
Tell us something about yourself others might not know.
I can open a champagne bottle with a sword.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Fedex, UPS, USPS. My husband would probably say it is online shopping. I would agree.
Name a talent you wish you had.
I wish I could sing. Apparently my singing is so bad that according to my daughter when I sing it makes her physically ill.
What’s your favorite food?
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
My deceased grandmother. She was quite the character, and it would be amazing to catch up with her.
If we took your cell phone away and said it would cost you $1,000 to get it back, how long would you survive until you paid the ransom?
I would not survive more than 30 seconds. I check my cell phone constantly. You’d have my money in no time!