DALLAS, TEXAS – The Larson Group, a finalist for the 2019 Successful Dealer of the Year Award, was honored Thursday at a ceremony hosted by Successful Dealer at The Great American Trucking Show in Texas. Lucas Deal, Editor of the Successful Dealer publication, had a few words to say about TLG before presenting it with a finalist plaque.
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Representing TLG at the event was Chief Operations Officer Kory Larson, who was asked to say a few words as well before Successful Dealer and event sponsors announced the winner.
With a brand that puts customer service and meaningful relationships above all, Kory spoke briefly of his upbringing in his family's small truck line before becoming a dealer, "which helped form the culture we have today," he said.
Kory also praised TLG's commitment to diversity, praising the rise in number of female employees over the years who have contributed to business growth. That growth has led to TLG employing more than 1,000 people across the United States, as well as picking up a large acquisition in North and South Carolina in recent years and organically opening its newest TRP Parts store in Charleston, SC just last month. Not to mention, numerous construction projects across the board in 2019 to improve both customer and employee experiences.
"Without our employees, we wouldn't have a business," Kory said. "We're a finalist because of them."
This is the second consecutive year TLG has been nominated and became a finalist for the Successful Dealer Award. Nominations this year totaled more than 40 dealer networks, and TLG was voted by a panel into the Top 5 in 2019. It was also the only Peterbilt dealer group on the finalist list.
Unlike most dealer award programs, which are focused on sales, revenue and profits, the Successful Dealer Award is a comprehensive award program. Its team seeks to recognize well-rounded, successful businesses, not simply high-performing ones. Nominees are evaluated based on their business success, customer service response and reputation, community involvement and outreach, civic responsibility, environmental initiatives, staff education and training, marketing and more.
The goal with this award is to recognize the dealerships and groups who are succeeding on the truck lots, the service bays and parts counters, but also are leaders in their community; the dealers who put time, effort and dollars into their businesses and employees to make them more efficient; the dealers who realize a $300 donation to their local youth program is an investment, not an expense; the dealers that work beyond sales calls to market their services.
Successful Dealer Article About TLG by Lucas Deal
“We try not to say no.” Glenn Larson makes it sound so simple.
He’s trying to describe the corporate culture that has helped The Larson Group (TLG), the dealer group he started with his father as a single store in 1987, grow into the 21-location industry force it is today.
Looking back, Larson, now the company’s CEO, says he can’t pinpoint a single strategy or initiative that made the company’s culture the asset it has become.
“If we ever figured that out, I’d write a book about it,” he quips.
Instead, the best he can do is look to the company’s customer service pledge. That’s the commitment he and his father made when founding the company that said even if the business wasn’t the biggest dealer in the market, it could always strive to be the best. On that note, Larson explains it’s hard to be the best if you’re regularly telling customers no.
“If a customer reaches out to us, we always want to help them,” says Larson. “We want to make it easier for them to do business.”
Even without a book tour to show for it, it’s clear the family’s customer service pledge is working out.
With multiple Peterbilt Best in Class and dealer of the year honors on its mantle and, now, consecutive finalist nominations for the Successful Dealer Award, The Larson Group has grown over the last three decades into one of the strongest dealer operations in the country.
Both with its customers and its community at large, The Larson Group’s commitment to service shines through as its strongest asset. The Larson Group strives to make things better.
Within the business, Chief Operating Officer Kory Larson says the company’s focus on customer service is most visible in the way The Larson Group has evolved. Every expansion of the company, whether it be a new facility, like the TRP store that opened in South Carolina last month, or a new service program, such as TLG Road Guru’s mobile service, is introduced to alleviate customer pain points.
And Kory Larson adds most of those pain points were discovered through conversations between TLG and its customers. He says the company holds regular calls and meetings with a majority of its customers to remain updated on their biggest needs and challenges.
Very few TLG customers don’t “know a Larson personally,” he says, adding, “we know if our customers don’t have a business, we don’t have a business.”
In addition to its new services in 2019, TLG also touts its Guru 24-hour customer call center and expansive customer training curricula as key benefits the business extends to its partners. The Larsons also note that last word is a big one. The company’s value proposition indicates buying a truck from TLG isn’t just a transaction, it’s the start of a relationship.
Once customers turn to TLG for assistance Kory Larson hopes they never turn anywhere else.
“We are trucking people. We have a passion for our customers,” he says.
The Larson Group is impressively passionate about its employees as well. Over the last few years Glenn Larson says TLG has invested significant resources in updating its corporate structure to better meet employee expectations in 2019, introducing flex time and work-from-home opportunities for some positions and a more defined career path development plan throughout the entire company. The company also added a full-time technician recruiter to increase applicants to its tech apprenticeship program and strengthen its service operations.
“We are trying to make certain we are talking to [employees] about their future,” Glenn Larson says.
And TLG’s commitment to its associates doesn’t end at the close of business each day. The company also does its best to support the communities where those employees live. That generosity was best on display last fall when TLG donated more than $100,000 to Convoy of Hope to support communities impacted by Hurricane Florence in North and South Carolina.
“We want to be embedded in our communities,” says Kory Larson. “[Hurricane Florence] affected our employees and our customers. We wanted to support them.”
TLG also donates on a corporate level to the American Cancer Society and Truckers Against Trafficking, while each location is provided a philanthropic budget annually to support important causes in their communities. Charitable donations supported through this program include spinal muscular atrophy research, Boys and Girls clubs, local arts education, youth sports and more.
Read the Successful Dealer article on their website.