Episode 11 – Thembinkosi Pantsi

May 11, 2018

Episode 11: Thembinkosi Pantsi | Dealer Principal, AUDI Polokwane

Thembinkosi Pantsi first caught my attention on Instagram, when I saw a post about him offering the use of the Audi dealership conferencing facilities to young entrepreneurs and startups who do not have the capital to invest in office space, but need to meet with clients to grow their business.

Thembinkosi grew up as the son of farm workers, and through hard work and perseverance, worked his way up to become the dealer principal at Audi Polokwane. In this episode, he shares his journey, the hardships and opportunities and the 3 biggest lessons that he feels contributed to his success today.

The importance of values and perspective

Although his parents were farm workers, Thembinkosi, like many other South African children, grew up with a relative in a nearby town so that he could access better schooling. It was here that he was exposed to the greater world and the possibilities that existing that he would not have otherwise been aware of had he stayed on the farm to walk the 7km gravel road to school everyday.

Our circumstances and environment can sometimes blind us to the opportunities available out there - Thembinkosi Pantsi, Dealer Principal, Audi Polokwane Click To Tweet

It was through this exposure, realizing what opportunities awaited him in the world, that the hunger and drive for success kicked in. He speaks about how he had to ask himself what he wanted to achieve in his life and what he needed to do to achieve his goals. One of the critical things that Thembinkosi attributes to his success is the values he inherited from his parents. He speaks with very high regard for this mother and father, describing the key values he learned from them as hard work, respect for others, and perseverance.

Start from the bottom if you have to, just start!

Thembinkosi initially wanted to become an engineer, but his parents couldn't afford to support his studies financially, so he had to drop out of university. However, as Thembinkosi says, "I didn't just sit back and cry foul, I decided to do something about it". He describes his first formal job as a cleaner at a restaurant in Knysna. Reflecting back on the values his parents taught him, he says that he always told himself that no matter what he did, he would always do it with excellence, even if that meant cleaning toilets with excellence. His work ethic and attitude did not go unnoticed, and with time he worked himself up, until he was offered the chance to enter the corporate work space.

Thembinkosi says that he was never phased about where he lived or worked, to him it was always about the opportunity and pursuing what he wanted in life.

You need to start small and build yourself up. Take every opportunity that comes your way - Thembinkosi Pantsi, Dealer Principal, Audi Polokwane Click To Tweet

From a cleaner in Knysna, to a financial broker for Liberty Life in George, to a car salesman in Cape Town, it was his unwaivering pursuit of excellence that saw him be successful in each of his roles and eventually be snapped up by the Marble Gold Motor Group who approached him to become the dealer principal at the Audi branch in Polokwane. Thembinkosi Pantsi also shared his best tip for being a good salesman, saying that you need to listen to people's needs and provide them solutions rather than focusing on the sale.

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3 Lessons for Success:

  1. Set goals - young people need to start the habit of setting goals, not just for career, but every aspect of their lives
  2. Create the habit of focus - you need to focus on what matters in your life
  3. Have the drive for excellence no matter what your task - you never know whose watching. Learn to feel the satisfaction at the end of the day knowing you have done your job to the best of your ability.