MHC Mobility Germany reaches the 9000 mark of active contracts

Since its foundation in 1959 – at that time still under the name “Maske” – MHC Mobility Germany achieved a contract record for the first time reaching an active contract portfolio of more than 9200 contracts. With this and a fleet size of now over 10,000 vehicles MHC Mobility Germany are growing steadily and coming closer to the goal of becoming the B2B mobility provider for long-term car rental.

They used this milestone as an opportunity to talk to Head of Sales, Andrea Gerken, about this success, what it means, how they got there, and how she sees the industry developing in the coming years.

What does this milestone mean for MHC Mobility Germany?

First and foremost, this number is of course a milestone and a reason to celebrate! But all in all, it also means security for us – for the development of the entire company and especially for our employees.

During the very uncertain last few years, we were able to ensure almost full utilisation of our fleet and “kept the shop running” as they say, while competitors and other industries struggled.

This shows that what we do, how we do it and our range of products are exactly what our customers and prospects need.

What would you attribute this success to in general? Has something fundamental been done differently?

We clearly took the right decisions, made the right investments and went full throttle with a motivated team across all departments, before and especially during the pandemic.

During the pandemic the limited availability of vehicles posed challenges for our entire industry. Our customers also had to struggle with difficulties in planning their short-term business activities alongside  their longer-term mobility needs.

We knew that we had to stay very close to our customers in order to support them in the best possible way, which in turn created long-term trusted relationships.  Based on the intensive exchanges with the fleet managers, we then decided to focus primarily on flexibility:

With the help of our FlexiRent product, our customers were able to plan at shorter notice and rent vehicles, for example, initially for only 3 months and, depending on the situation, let the contracts continue or return the vehicles.

In addition, we purchased vehicles on a large scale, further focused on electric vehicles and expanded the models in parallel to ensure a sufficient vehicle stock. This allowed us to react to the flexible requirements and at the same time we were also able to serve long-term contract terms.

With this strategy, we have already achieved the greatest growth with FlexiRent during the pandemic, while the market was decreasing.

Of course, the financial tailwind of our parent company MHC Inc. helped us a lot.

Since then, we have continued to focus our flexibility with FlexiRent and support it with Electric Flex: providing our customers with EVs for testing, to lay a foundation for the longer-term transition and supporting them as a trustworthy partner throughout the process.

Have certain sectors shown particular interest?

We have seen a particular increase in new customers in the social services sector – for example, care services. Due to the shortage of skilled workers, companies, especially in social professions, have to offer their employees more incentives  in order to motivate them and retain them. The company car is still at the top of the list.

The contract portfolio has grown with both new and existing customers, as we were able to offer the flexibility they needed during the last 2.5 years. This has also persuaded many to step back from their rigid leasing contracts and stay with us.

For you as a sales manager, what makes a successful sales team? What do you need?

For me personally, motivation is the be-all and end-all! Of course that’s not only important in Sales, it matters across all areas of the business, but it is especially important in Sales. We are usually the first touch-point with the potential customer and represent what the company stands for. If the team stands behind what the company is doing and, to put it bluntly, is keen to bring the product forward, in my opinion that’s already the first 80%.

And that works when leaders and management are close to the team show appreciation, and not just in monetary terms. It is important to be open to ideas, to let the team go its own way and try new ideas. This creates a sense of responsibility and increases motivation even more.

How is the Sales department at MHC Mobility Germany set up and how does it work?

From my point of view, there are some aspects that we deliberately do differently compared to classic sales processes, because we put the customer and their needs in the foreground.

Unlike perhaps in classic sales, where often everyone is a lone fighter and tries to develop their own contract portfolio, we place a lot of emphasis on teamwork. We work very closely with each other, exchange information regularly to ensure knowledge transfer and substitute for each other when we are on leave.

On the one hand, this ensures that clients do not have to wait unnecessarily for feedback, vehicles, etc. On the other hand, the sales staff are not left standing in the dark and are not under additional pressure to make up for missing hours as quickly as possible if they are absent.

Also the person who has the first contact with the customer and wins them over also looks after them throughout the whole process. It is important to us that our clients have confidence in us, and they usually base this on their key contact. If the spark ignites during the first meeting, it is fatal from our point of view to suddenly change the contact person.

At the same time, we have built up specialists in the team who, as experts, take the lead in driving forward the focus areas of light commercial vehicles, electromobility or international sales. And of course, we are constantly training our colleagues with communication training and coaching and getting them out of their comfort zone – this makes them even more self-confident in the most diverse discussion situations, and it keeps them motivated because it never gets boring.

In general: What do you think are the most important factors for the success of a company?

What customers want today is flexibility and at the same time commitment – we see that every day. If you promise something as a company, you have to keep it or communicate in time. There is so much choice nowadays, customers don’t hesitate – if they don’t trust you, they rarely forgive mistakes or delays, but switch to the competition.

That’s why it’s so important to be flexible and committed, not only with your products, but overall. In a world which  is changing as much as it is today, you need to find creative ways and be open to new ideas. Fixed processes are still important, but they must be flexible if they don’t work for the customer.

If we look at internal company factors, motivated teams are the driver of success and growth. And employees are motivated when they are valued by what they do, but also when they know exactly where the journey should go. That is why, in my view, it is extremely important to define and communicate goals and visions clearly and transparently.

Following on from this, what do mobility service providers like us have to do to remain successful and fit for the future?

Quite clearly: Being flexible – in all aspects.

Where do you see us as a mobility provider in 5 years?

If we can continue to build on the financial backing of our parent company, which, along with the hard work of our motivated teams, lays the foundation for growth, the market leader tier is not just a vision, but very realistic.

Of course, especially for us as mobility service providers, there are still a few things to consider:

Mobility in cities will continue to change – “borrowing and renting instead of owning” will continue to increase in my view. The role of public transport will also increase. With all this, however, the mobility offering will also change.

Of course, cars will continue to be important and they will continue to be bought, but owning a vehicle as a means of identification, as we know it from the past, will decrease.

With the multitude of options that customers have today, flexibility, but also simplification are the keywords here. We have to offer customers easy access to mobility and, ideally, meet their mobility needs with an individual all-round solution from a single source, so that they can devote more time to their business and less to securing mobility.

In your opinion, which trend/ topics in our industry should you keep a close eye on?

Electromobility is on everyone’s lips today and is also a very important focus for us. From my point of view, however, we absolutely have to take a close look at the offers from the customer’s point of view in order to be able to support customers in making the switch. The challenges in charging infrastructure and range and the doubts that go with them are no secret.

Then we have the “Auto Abo“. Very regularly, there are new offers on the market under this term, which,  present themselves quite differently. However, the term itself seems to have become very familiar to users and customers.

With FlexiRent, we have the original Auto-Abo in our portfolio for 60 years already!

It remains to be seen to what extent we will draw further conclusions for ourselves and our business.