Scott Will Toyota salesman says personal approach can pay off

Greg Jenkins, center, shares a light moment with personal friends and customers Julia Holley, right, and Genesis Burbridge recently at Scott Will Toyota at 2540 Broad St.
Greg Jenkins, center, shares a light moment with personal friends and customers Julia Holley, right, and Genesis Burbridge recently at Scott Will Toyota at 2540 Broad St.

He's not your stereotypical car salesman and has a unique meet-and-greet technique that helps him build a personal relationship with customers and remember most people's names.

He's not flashy, but instead many consider him down to earth and genuine.

It all seems to work well for him as he's quite possibly one of Sumter's most known and top car sales representatives.

He's Greg Jenkins of Scott Will Toyota.

Born and raised in the Dalzell/Cotton Acres community of Sumter County, Jenkins got his start in the car business in his early teens in the mid-1990s through a former popular job training program that helped kids prepare for the workplace with summer jobs.

Jenkins said he worked on the service/detail side for Boyle Toyota - the former family Toyota dealership in town.

But he said he wasn't drying off the cars after they came out of an electric car wash machine.

"I was the detailer and did it by hand," Jenkins said. "There were no push buttons."

It was a 40-hour-a-week job in the summers. He said each week he washed both the delivery (just sold) vehicles and all the automobiles still on the lot. He didn't count the number of cars he washed by hand weekly but said it easily totaled at least 100.

After doing the summer gig at Boyle Toyota through his high school years, Jenkins decided to stay in the business after graduating from Crestwood High School in 2000 and moved into sales.

A true "people person" with a passion for helping others, Jenkins - interestingly - doesn't consider anyone in the car business to be his role model or his biggest influencer in life.

That credit, he says, goes to God and his great-grandmother.

"The things that I have achieved in the business, I owe it all to God," Jenkins said recently. "He has been my sustainer to allow me to be the person that I am today."

His late great-grandmother, Ronea Jenkins, raised him from when he was a baby until he finished high school, and he credits her as his biggest personal influence on the man he's become.

She was also a "people person" and encouraged others with her wisdom, advice, love and Christian character, Jenkins said.

She took care of people in the community and outside the community, he said, through her vegetable gardening and cooking.

His great-grandmother touched lives by passing out tomatoes, watermelons, peas and okra and cooking food that she took to neighbors in need, Jenkins said.

"She never knew a stranger and was loved by many," Jenkins said.

Growing up, Jenkins said he initially wanted to become a school counselor, but "my plans got switched."

"I had another calling to serve people through the auto industry," Jenkins said.

He describes his work today with serving customers as very similar to counseling in many respects. Many of his customers face challenges as far as credit and other financial burdens, he said.

"I try to find a way to help people get back on the right track," Jenkins said.

He left the Toyota dealership for a few years but came back in 2009 under its new owner - Scott Will Automotive.

He said he appreciates the dealer's ownership for allowing him to serve his customers in the manner that he does.

Jenkins, 38, said he's able to remember his customers' names from his meet and greets.

"I initially ask people questions like: 'Where are you from?' and 'What church do you attend?," Jenkins said. "That helps me to get to know people in a personal way and build a personal relationship."

Most of his clients are repeat customers, he said, and he sells to them, their children, grandchildren and other friends.

Despite coming from a humble upbringing, most consider that Jenkins has done well in the business.

His advice to others is to pursue their dreams and follow God.

"Never give up on any dreams that you may have, and keep the faith," Jenkins said. "God will do exceedingly and abundantly above anything you can ask for, when you follow Him."