Jill Merriam, Female Car Dealer, Dealer for the People
Key Hyundai of Manchester and Key Hyundai of Milford are owned by Jill Merriam. Jill is the only female franchised car dealer in Connecticut. The Key Hyundai organization is CT's largest Hyundai dealer. Here's the background story on Jill. Why should you read this? You should read this because Jill is here to help you. So, the more you know about her, the more likely you are to reach out to her and allow her to help you.
The Early Years – forming Jill’s sense of social justice:
Jill’s life was a tale of two cities. Her parents divorced when she were young. Her Dad was a second generation car dealer. Her Mom was a customer service rep and a struggling single mom. So, she learned at an early age what life was like on both sides of the fence. It was a crazy upbringing but one that taught her compassion and strong survival skills.
Jill’s role in her divorced family was constantly trying to satisfy everyone’s needs and made sure that everyone was happy. She’s continued that to this day!
Her mom always instilled in her a strong sense of social justice and an ethical nature. Her mom, Judy, is her greatest hero – she is now a second grade teacher in New Haven saving the world one kid at a time.
Life B.C. (before car dealership):
Jill graduated from college and got a killer corporate finance job. She worked around the country and around the world – with stints in London, New York, Boston and Seattle. She lived the American dream for over 10 years – big job, big office, big money and big respect! Her last corporate job was as a Senior Financial Analyst at Microsoft. She even sat in corporate review meetings with Bill Gates! So, why give all that up for the car business? One day when Jill was in a meeting with Bill Gates, she got to thinking. She thought, “Bill Gates revolutionized the software business. Now, I am one of 35,000 employees on this campus. What if I tried to revolutionize my family’s CT car dealerships?”
First, Why not the car business from the start?
Jill grew up around the dinner table hearing about the daily grind of the car business. That’s why she shied away from it right after college. I mean, who wants to be in a business where people dread walking in the door and feel like they are being lied to? As Jill matured she started to think about shattering the old structure of the car business. What would the business look like if people were just treated with respect and had all their questions answered? What would happen if the ethics she holds true in her life carried over to the business? What if she just hired automotive and finance experts, met peoples needs, treated them honestly and there was no b.s.? What if she was a car dealer “for the people”? People told her she was crazy – don’t try to change the way things have been done for a million years. As she talked to Sales Managers and owners, the story was always the same, “I’ve been doing this for 26 years, and I started washing cars in high school. What do you know about selling cars?” Wow, she was going to have a challenge overcoming those barriers. But, her gut told her that this was her opportunity to give back to the Connecticut community.
The Grand Experiment:
In 2002, Jill opened a Hyundai dealership in Connecticut. She chose Hyundai because it was an up and coming brand and the cars offered real value to the consumer. No fluff – just real value. And, just like that, the grand experiment began of treating people honestly and putting no sales pressure on them. Don’t misunderstand; she makes money when people buy cars. But, wouldn’t people be more likely to buy cars from an automotive and finance expert who met their needs, rather than a product pusher? Seems logical, doesn’t it?
It’s been 10 years and the experiment is no longer an experiment, it’s a successful business run for the people. Jill is the only female car dealer in the State of Connecticut. She inserts her compassion and ethics into everything she does. Jill’s repeat and referral business and her service business are off the hook. She’s been so successful that she was able to buy a second Hyundai store in Milford, CT. Now, she’s truly able to help all Connecticut buyers get their automotive and financing needs met.
Jill was looking for a slogan and realized she always tells people she is a dealer for the people. Voila, Key Hyundai – the dealer for the people!
The key to the story is that if you go at anything from a moral and ethical standpoint, and take care of fulfilling customer’s needs one at a time, success will come to you!
In Jill's free time, she is mom (ma, mama, etc) to Brady and Carly. In fact, her biggest recent accomplishment is teaching them both to ski on the same day! To reach Jill directly, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org