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Take care of the little things

Jason Cannon October 25, 2013

“Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves.”

If you’ve ever played a sport, you’ve probably heard that quote.

And, for the most part, it’s true.

At its core, the quote says doing the little things build up to become one big thing. But doing the little things is also a good measure of how detail-oriented a person is.

The little things are the details. The big things are the end results.

This week, I was able to steal about 15 minutes from Ron Donze – a man who’s made quite a career of sweating the small stuff.

Donze is a 10-time recipient of Freightliner’s elite Leland James recognition.

Donze – who works from Truck Centers Inc. Troy, Ill. location – holds the distinction as the only Freightliner sales representative to earn recognition each year since its inception.

Does that make him the best Freightliner salesperson in the country? It certainly puts him in the discussion.

Donze’s practice of fundamentals and attention to detail are pretty impressive.

If he’s not selling a truck, he’s in the service bay trying to figure out why those trucks are there. When’s the last time you or your sales staff seriously combed through maintenance records?

Would you consider knowing ABC Hauling has had at least one truck in for service every month a helpful sales tool? What if you saw that 50-plus percent of the time it was for the same reason?

Couldn’t you call that customer, after some research, and let them know that failure may be caused by them asking the truck to do something it wasn’t spec’d for. Maybe, after its customer base has evolved, ABC is hauling heavier loads over longer distances. Maybe many of his veteran drivers have left and he’s putting new recruits in trucks they’re barely capable of driving.

You may find out there’s an opportunity to help him by selling him equipment that suits his needs now, rather than continuing to fix trucks that were spec’ed for business conditions 4 years ago.

What if one of your customers called you and said one of his trucks just lost a water pump, and he needs a replacement “now.”

Would you forward the call to your parts department? That may not be the “now” he needs.

How much customer loyalty could you build by saying, “I’m on my way”?

Ron Donze has built a strong personal brand by providing his customers with customer service whenever the opportunity presents itself, not necessarily just when it makes sense.

Taking the water pump call and personally finding the parts manager may be your definition of providing good customer service, and it is to a certain extent. But that parts manager has 1,000 other things going on. That water pump probably isn’t the same “hair on fire” priority for him that it is for the guy who needs it.

You’ve got 200 emails to answer, five quotes to send, three voicemails, a sales meeting in an hour and it’s almost time to go home. You don’t have time to deliver a water pump to a customer.

Donze doesn’t have time not to. The other stuff can wait. The customer can’t.

Donze takes care of the little things, and his big things have historically taken care of themselves. If you don’t believe me, you can sit on hold, listening to TCI’s hold music for 20 minutes and wait for him while he’s on the phone with a customer. And then, when he finally can pick up, you get 3o seconds into the conversation before he says he has to call you back because a customer has come to see him.

That happened to me.

So I sat there and waited while Donze took care of the little things.

Jason Cannon is Online Managing Editor for Truck Parts & Service.

You can follow me on twitter at @By_Jason_Cannon

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