The Sytner Group represents prestigious car manufacturers in over 140 dealerships across the UK including Jaguar Land Rover, Bentley, Mercedes Benz, Audi, Volkswagen, BMW, Mini, Lamborghini, and Porsche.

They are one of the UK’s largest motor retail groups, employing over 7,500 people and retailing over 135,000 cars per annum. With the company Head Office in Leicester, they contacted the University of Leicester’s School of Business to develop a new training and development programme to enhance their sales performance.

Through a collaborative partnership starting in 2014, Professor James Fitchett, published Professor of Marketing and Consumer Research, designed and developed a workshop session. Underpinned by theories developed in his research, Professor Fitchett’s designed a workshop to facilitate and fuse together new ideas, new knowledge and best practice in customer insight and sales excellence.

“James has been an incredible success with our Senior Management, Sales Executives and Service Consultants. He is crucial to the start of our Sales and Service Pathways workshops. His sessions challenge the thinking and open the minds of our teams using knowledge, data and questioning.” Sue Sansome, Sytner Group Head of Learning and Development

The workshop formed part of an innovative training programme for sales executives, introducing the latest theories and concepts for understanding consumers. Supported professionals delivered value and outstanding customer experience which led to an increase in sales performance and meeting the Organisations customer expectation levels and create long term customer relationships. The partnership continued to develop and led to ‘Best Advice’ seminars being delivered to After Sales teams in BMW, MINI and Jaguar Land Rover. This focused on customer value, service quality and service innovation.

“The partnership has developed over a number of years and has progressed across several key business areas. Utilising research with real world application is proving to have real impact and benefit for Sytner.” Professor James Fitchett, University of Leicester School of Business Professor of Marketing and Consumer Research

A research collaboration has been created to looking into developing new innovations to continually improve services. The research is exploring how video and film based ‘service evidencing techniques’ can be enhanced so that they become devices of added benefit articulation and customer value rather than simply cost justification devices. In order to evaluate these issues, a research programme involving a multi-site qualitative research design is being conducted in collaboration with Sytner UK to evaluate, assess and test insights from a range of different stakeholders and involved with the development and implementation of radical service technologies.


This article first appeared in the 2018 State of the Relationship report, commissioned by Research England and compiled and published by NCUB.