As part of our ongoing interview series, we grabbed a cup of coffee and had a chat with Regional Manager South, Washy Maziveyi to find out more about his role within the business
Hi Washy, thanks for taking time out of your busy day to speak to us. Take us back to the beginning, when did you start working for City Transport Solutions?
I joined in February 2021, so almost two years now
And have you always worked within the vehicle hire and logistics industry?
Yes. In 2005 I joined Enterprise as a management trainee and worked with them for six years. Then I moved to another rental company, Sixt, and spent a year there. After that, I moved to Arnold Clark and stayed there for six years. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit I was made redundant. I saw this as an opportunity to take some time out, but after six months I saw that CTS were recruiting, so I applied for the job and here I am now.
It sounds like you’re a bit of a vehicle rental veteran!
Yes, you could say that! I’ve been in the industry for around 16-17 years now. I held a senior position at Arnold Clark where I was looking after the sales team in England. And then obviously with COVID coming in it had a huge impact on my role. All of a sudden our clients’ businesses were hit and they had to stop working, which in turn forced us to stop working. At the time no one knew when the world would go back to normal, so my role became obsolete. I had the option of taking a demotion or taking redundancy, so I chose the latter.
There are times when I’ve applied for jobs within other industries, but I’ve always been drawn back into the vehicle rental industry.
Being made redundant during the Covid-19 pandemic must have been tough, how did you get through it?
It was obviously an uncertain period because a lot of my colleagues and a lot of my friends were losing their jobs, so I didn’t really know what the future held. But I didn’t really panic that much. Yes, it was an uncertain period, because when I got made redundant I spent four or five months at home not doing anything. At that moment no one knew what was going to happen. Knowing that a lot of colleagues were looking for jobs as well, the job market was a bit tight. But I knew that I would find something along the way because my knowledge and experience speaks for itself. I didn’t know how long it would take, but I’d planned for it to take a year to find another position and made peace with that. I did attend a few different interviews, but I was being really picky about who I wanted to work for. Then the role at CTS came along and it was the perfect fit. Thankfully Helen felt the same about me!
Seeing as you joined during the pandemic, are you still predominantly working from home, or do you split your time between home and the office?
I’ve only been to the office twice! Physically when I joined and then when I had to collect my laptop. I’m primarily working from home at the moment, which works for me. I live in Northampton so I know that during peak hours it could take me an hour and a half to get to the office. As a salesperson, I can use that travelling time on something more productive. The team culture at CTS is great, so although I haven’t met many of the team it hasn’t affected team dynamics. Plus we’ve got Microsoft Teams and Zoom at our fingertips if we need to catch up or call a meeting.
What do you most enjoy about your role at CTS?
Honestly, I just like helping people, so my role helps me to do that and I get paid for doing what I love. I enjoy developing relationships with people. I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a salesperson, but I do know how to create relationships and build trust and that’s what people buy into. I relate well to other people and I’m likeable, which are really strong traits to have in this industry. I’ve always maintained the relationships I’ve built with people, even when I’ve left one company and started working with another, I’ve still taken the time to check in with previous customers and see how they’re getting on. Since being with CTS the three biggest clients I’ve brought into the business are all from relationships that were made when I worked with previous employers.
I enjoy my current role because I get to speak to customers. I get to see customers, although not so much since the pandemic, or at least not as much in-person stuff as I would pre-Covid-19. Before the pandemic I’d be out on the road visiting customers all the time, often attending 2-3 meetings every day. But now it’s all done over Zoom or Teams. The landscape has definitely changed forever, but at least we have access to technology to keep us connected and maintain important customer relationships.
I also enjoy my role as no two days are ever the same. I could wake up and spend all day in virtual meetings, or I could spend the whole day prospecting for new customers. I could spend the whole day visiting existing customers, or I could spend the whole day attending events that some of my customers are going to. So yes, I love that no two days are the same. I enjoy being nimble and reacting to opportunities that drop in at any given moment.
It sounds like you’re a huge fan of relationship building, which often feels like an old-school tactic that isn’t taught like it used to be. Do you think the younger generations entering the industry are willing to put the time into building relationships, in the same way, that you have?
I do think that relationship building is developing amongst the younger generations, but I also think it’s down to the individual and the importance they place on relationship building. When I used to manage a team, you realise that everybody is different and each will play to their strengths. However, I also realised that people who build relationships were more successful than people who were more focussed on making a sale.
Relationships must be crucial at the moment as you navigate a challenging market.
Yes, communication has been key in recent months and will continue to be key for the foreseeable future. Pre-Covid, the market was challenging because vehicle hire companies had access to loads of vehicles but didn’t necessarily have the customers, whereas now, there are lots of customers needing vehicles, but there aren’t enough vehicles to fulfil orders. It’s a weird environment that we’ve never experienced before, so it’s been vital to keep customers informed at every opportunity, by being honest and transparent with them.
At CTS we work with suppliers nationwide and have some great relationships with smaller independents, so if we can’t find vehicles with one supplier then we’ll move to the next and keep on going until we can find the vehicles required. If we can’t find any, chances are there aren’t any available on the market.
And then finally, if you could give your younger self one piece of advice. What would it be?
Oh, just keep working hard because hard work brings results. The industry can be frustrating to be honest with you, and it can affect the way you work. It can be stressful, but if you just keep working hard and keep a smile on your face then everything else will follow.
That’s great advice Washy, thank you for such an honest and insightful interview.