Backstage at Louwman Exclusive –Alexander Sterk
‘Being distinguished’ is Alexander Sterk's motto. The well-spoken Brand Manager has often reached for unconventional means to achieve his goal. Once he offered his supervisor to sell cars without being paid so he could prove himself. Nowadays he provides a unique experience for McLaren drivers at Louwman Exclusive. At his desk, with a real McLaren Formula1 on the background, he passionately talks about the extraordinary people in his customer base and the importance of being distinguished.
You seem a real sales machine, although your career started in a warehouse?
I didn’t have a good head for study, so I started work rather young. My first job was as a warehouse assistant at a Toyota dealer. I saw the guys from the sales department walking around wearing ties and driving a company car. The commercial part suited me well. I started selling cars in my free time on Friday and Saturday without asking money for it. After some time that worked out so well that the management made me a full-time car salesman.
And then you had acquired the taste?
Of course then I wanted more. To work as a salesman for Toyota or on the Auto RAI was the dream. The first year I was not invited to work during the RAI. Of course I went there wearing the same suit as the booth crew and simply worked with them. The problem however was that I did not have a hotelroom for the night so I even spent the night once in my car to be able to be and to work in the RAI the next day. The next year I was invited by the importer, that was a real honor for me.
I got to know more people in the car business, one of them was Frits Kroymans. At his company I became Assistant Manager of the Toyota branch and later on I specifically focused on used cars within the group.
At that time Arjen was manager of a couple of Saab branches of Kroymans. We clicked and kept in contact after the time with Kroymans. When he contacted me for a job at Louwman Exclusive I had my own business selling used cars. But I chose for a new adventure, that was five years ago.
You have been a real specialist in used cars. How does it feel to sell new cars as well?
I have a lot of experience in the used segment, but I’m feeling fine in doing both. Of course a new McLaren is not a uniformity. You literally can compose it yourself. These cars are as unique as the McLaren drivers themselves. That makes my job so interesting. People deliberately opt for a McLaren. For them it isn’t just another car, they could have chosen again for a Porsche to take the easy route. The choice for a McLaren can be an absolute falling in love kind-of-thing, or they like to distinguish themselves.
When we started five years ago, soon the idea came up to bring these people together. In a certain way they are all succesful and can tell an interesting story. From the Bugatti collector or a 23 year old Bitcoin dealer to a former military man who has been succesful in the telecommunication. We organize ‘Invited’ evenings where people can share how they became succesful and chose for a unique car, for example a McLaren. We organize these evenings together with our partners like Holland Casino, Gassan and Heeren van de Wijn.
This way we bring people together.
The purchase of a McLaren is more than just accepting the car keys. It is a unique customer experience?
You always have to think distinguished. See to it that you have something someone else does not have. This is a very personalized company with an individual attention for our customers. Little things can make all the difference. For example our technicians have their own business cards. They also are in direct contact with the owner of the car. And sometimes I send a card to a customer, the unexpected makes it special. Nowadays everybody knows the bottle of water in the car after maintenance.
You regularly drive the most exclusive cars, is your heart still beating faster seeing a usual car?
For sure. At home we have a Toyota Aygo and a Youngtimer Jaguar. But the most pleasure I get driving in our DAF cabriolet with my children or the dog. Twelve years ago I went to collect a cupboard bought on ‘Marktplaats’. Arriving at the madam selling the cupboard I saw the DAF cabriolet parked in the garage, it belonged to her departed husband. She did not want to say goodbye to it, but after a conversation she decided to give it to me after I promised her never to sell the car. I refurbished it and now the whole family is enjoying the car.
Brand Manager McLaren / Employed since: 2013 / Age: 49 / Children: 3 / What keeps him busy besides work: Alexander loves hiking with his dog Jack and hitting the road together with his children in his DAF cabriolet.