Samuel C. Tijerina has been working as a General Sales Manager at Mercedes-Benz of San Juan since September 2010. During his stint at Mercedes, he has won several accolades.
He was one among the top three New Cars Sales Managers in the region. He is also a distinguished member of Mercedes-Benz Century Club and the National Lineset Committee. The 33 year old Samuel Clark Tijerina was born in Edinburg, Texas. He went to McAllen public school and graduated from Memorial High School in 1999. After he completed his graduation, he went to Texas University in San Antonio. While pursuing higher education, he also held a job at Ken Batchelor Cadillac.
In 2003, Tijerina graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in management with a minor in finance. As an academically brilliant student, he topped his class.
Tijerina started working when he was nine. After university, he moved to Austin, Texas with the sole objective of becoming a successful automobile salesman. His first job outside college was at Maxwell Chrysler South.
During his tenure at Maxwell Chrysler South, Tijerina won the ‘Salesman of the Month’ award. He then quit that job to join his family business – Spikes Ford – at Mission in Texas.
After contributing to his family business for some time, he decided to launch his own business. He started his first venture South Texas Leasing in Sharyland. The financial recession that hit the US and several other countries impacted his business as well. In order to tide over the crisis, Tijerina took up a job as a used car manager with Bert Ogden. Shortly after, Tijerina became the General Sales Manager at Bert Ogden GMC.
A meeting with Alfonso Cavazos, who is a managing partner at Mercedes, encouraged him to join their team.
Tijerina was one of the top three New Car Sales Managers in the area in 2011. He is also a member of the National Lineset Committee, which helps in manufacturing cars for the factory.
Recently Mercedes won ‘Best of the Best’ for the second time in three years. A skilled leader, Tijerina enjoys meeting and interacting with people and helping them make the right choices. He is task oriented and ambitious, and possesses a strong desire to learn and master new skills.
In this interview, Tijerina talks to us about his new job, his role at Mercedes, and the things he learned after occupying this position.
Us: Tell us something about your early career. How did you get into this business?
Samuel: At 15, I started my career as a sales executive at Spikes Ford. I held that job until I graduated from college. While pursuing my higher studies at Texas University, I took up a job as a service representative at Ken Batchelor Cadillac. After graduation, I joined Maxwell South and sold cars for almost 2 years. In 2005, I got an opportunity to come back to Spikes Ford. I started as a salesman and in just 3 years became the general sales manager. When the company that owned Spikes Ford bought another Ford store at La Porte, Texas, I joined the new firm as a General Manager. I worked with them for about two years and then went to the Rio Grande Valley to start my own used car dealership. I worked in South Texas Leasing for well over a year. While running my own car lot, I also worked as a Finance Manager at Frank Smith Toyota. I accepted a job at the Bert Ogden Group in 2009 and went on to become their General Sales Manager.
Us: What caught your interest in Mercedes Benz?
Samuel: I always wanted to work with a luxury brand because I love the high level of service that we are able to give to our customers. We are empowered to do this because it is what truly separates us from non-luxury counterparts.
Us: So was it a dream opportunity when this managerial position came along?
Samuel: I am a true believer of the saying that when one door closes, another one opens. Obviously, it has been a dream of mine to be a general manager, and one a day an owner/operator of a dealership. Since the time I sold my very first car, I have always had this position as the light at the end of the tunnel.
Us: Give us an idea of your input and approach at Mercedes-Benz.
Samuel: I try and put myself in the customer’s shoes in any situation to empathize how they are feeling. Every situation might possibly need another but similar approach for handling the matter.
Us: What challenges do you face as a manager?
Samuel: Every day we face new challenges, such as handling the parking situation with the overflow of cars. No opportunity is too big or too small to be involved with.
Us: What do you need to work with the employees of Mercedes Benz? How do you handle criticism?
Samuel: I handle criticism very well. I especially welcome constructive criticism because if we or I didn’t know what we were doing wrong, then we/I would never know what to do to change for the better.
Us: What makes you a good fit for the company?
Samuel: Mercedes-Benz of San Juan instills some of the same core values that directly reflect my personal life. Mercedes truly cares in making a difference in people’s lives. Not just customers, but also our employees are what make Mercedes a great company to work for.
Us: How much does it mean to you to be managing at Mercedes Benz?
Samuel: It means the world to me to be able to manage and work with the best team in the world in this industry. I truly regained my passion for this business in which I had lost since leaving Spikes Ford. Every day I come in to work with the same positive outlook on life and it only gets better every day.
Us: All through your career, what would you call your key learning?
Samuel: My key learning came from my many years at Spikes Ford. My grandfather, Clark Spikes Jr., taught me a lot about what it was to be successful in this business – to take care of people as if they were family and to always know where you came from.
He proudly says, “I hope and wish, one day I can be just like my father. He is truly a Renaissance man and a great contributor to the community.”