StarSul, the official concessionary and garage for Mercedes in the south of Portugal, is based in Faro, Portimão, Beja, and is due to open a new showroom in Évora, and at the helm of the business is Henrique Champalimaud.
“Last year was a fantastic year for us despite the investment we made in Évora,” explains Champalimaud who saw sales increase last year to 17,000 vehicles. However he makes it clear that it is far more than just the brand and the product that has been the key to success for the business, it is the continuous service that the company offers that sets them apart.
“The Mercedes brand is the same throughout the world and it is a very clear brand, what makes the real difference is the level of service we provide, this is my goal within the company,” says Champalimaud who prides himself in always being available and even publishing his personal mobile phone number on the company website.
“30 percent of our sales come through leads for StarSul and the difference is that it is not about the product but the service that we provide – people make the real difference.”
A life-long fan of Beethoven, a passion he inherited from his father, Henrique Champalimaud considers the running of a company to being akin to conducting an orchestra: “Everybody hears the 7th symphony differently, my job is to bring together all the elements of the orchestra, recognising that it is not just the strings that are important, every element is important, from the woodwinds to the percussion.”
“When I joined the company the first thing that I did was speak to everyone who was working here, to understand who they are as people because if you don’t know the people who you are working with then you cannot be a good manager.
“You need to be able to give people the opportunity to think in business, after all two plus two can equal four but in a company there are always people between the numbers,” said Champalimaud. “I am able to recognise the skills in other people so that I can push them to then get them to then push themselves. If members of staff don’t know how to act then they are miserable, you have to be able to give people the means to be able to move ahead themselves and this in turn moves the company forward”.
By investing in his team Champalimaud has been able to successfully create a level of service that is second to none, where the cars speak for themselves and the service provides the added value.