Tropicalazing Established Sales Strategies Pays OffMon, 09/01/2014 - 12:37
Sergio Díaz Torres, President of the Board of Bardahl, traces back his own origins in the company to a fateful encounter. “While working at a service station, a man arrived asking for an oil change and I offered him a Bardahl additive, explaining to him the benefits of the product,” Díaz Torres recounts. “He was so impressed by my explanation that he reached for his wallet and pulled out his business card. He turned out to be the President of Bardahl.” This proved to be a turning point for Díaz Torres, as he would later on become an official Bardahl distributor that shared the same cultural affinity with the company. “Because of my in-depth knowledge of Mexico, its culture, and consumer market, I was able to effect on my own 40% of all Bardahl sales in Mexico.” Having a tropicalized sales strategy gave Díaz Torres the opportunity to become its Director of Sales, Credit, and Collection in Mexico City in 1964, a nice step up from being a simple distributor. According to Díaz Torres, starting out in the distribution side of the automotive industry offers a unique glimpse into the knowhow and workings of the industry. “Throughout my career, I have discovered that the most successful way to sell a product and ensure future sales is by carrying out demonstrations,” Díaz Torres states. This demonstration-focused approach was also endorsed by the founder Ole Bardahl, who used to fill his oil pan with one of Bardahl’s famous formulas, drain it, and then drive it for 100 miles. This demonstration came to be known as the No-Oil Run and is carried out worldwide. According to Díaz Torres, taking control of the distribution network was no easy job. “Due to past mismanagement and dubious practices, there was not much growth and it was up to me to reorganize the company.” Straightening out operations began with a visit of all the distributors in order to understand the logistics of the network. When finishing the evaluation, the company decided to divide Mexico City into eight zones. “I restructured the sales team and dynamics. Some would sell, others delivered, and the rest would collect the money,” Díaz Torres adds. “I commissioned ten more demonstration machines to be made, and in that year sales went up dramatically.” Dividing the sales operations and basing the sales strategy on demonstrations offered Díaz Torres more transparency. This success and ambition led him to acquire 25% of the company and then take full control, making it entirely Mexican-based. Despite its transformation,
the company has continued to be entrenched in the Mexican consumer culture. “We carry out intense market studies and we travel twice a year around Mexico to visit our distributors to discuss areas of improvement,” Díaz Torres explains. Moving away from a period of instability, Bardahl has increased its product portfolio which accommodates a range of industries aside automotive. In addition, the company is the only one in Mexico that has in-line blending. “Other manufacturing sites combine light and heavy oils with additives in a tank and leave the mixture to settle for six hours,” Díaz Torres details. “Conversely, Bardahl’s tanks have open valves that are controlled by computers and the liquids are added simultaneously according to the formulas, making the mixture perfectly homogenized as the tanks are filled.” He proclaims his pride that, after 62 years in the market, the company has never shied away from evolving, making it a leader in motor additives and fuel additives.