Triple M Trailers - A Culture of Teamwork
In 1981, William ‘Bill’ McKinley founded a farm and ranch supply business that would, eventually, be known as Triple M Trailers of Texas. After moving through a few locations, the business landed in Canton, Texas in 1991. You may know Canton, a relatively small town of 5,400 people, for its “world famous” First Monday Trade Days, an event that brings over 300,000 to the area.
“It’s known as the world’s largest flea market,” says Matt McKinley, Bill’s son and current owner of the dealership. “It’s an interesting place on the map.”
Though Matt was active in his father’s industry since the age of seven, he found work as a General Manger with Olive Garden before, eventually, choosing to return to the dealership. After taking the reins five years ago and purchasing it three years ago, Matt’s experience in the food industry has paid off in unexpected ways.
“The biggest difference is who I’ve become on this journey,” Matt says. “I didn’t know what I was doing when it comes to understanding leadership versus management. Today, I’m a student of those areas.”
Matt has noticed striking similarities between his former industry and the one he works in now.
“In the restaurant industry, what’s more important – the front of house or the back of house? Servers take care of their guests, but the kitchen staff has a whole restaurant to feed. The same dynamic exists within service, parts and sales departments. Everyone must understand that not one job is more important than the other. The departments must work together for a common mission,” Matt explains.
While building upon an already cohesive staff, Matt became acutely aware of importance of individual development within his employee pool. A self-proclaimed student of Zig Ziglar and a Ziglar Legacy Certified Trainer, Matt acknowledges that it all starts with the hiring process. His process focuses on people that have the right attitude. He even puts them through Zig Ziglar’s goal-setting workshop and personality insights training, of which he is a certified instructor, to understand how his team ticks.
“Then, we determine how we identify those traits in a customer,” Matt explains of the process. “We can’t change a customer, but we can change ourselves interact better with that customer. To pull that off, the staff must be special and unique.”
It may be a long and arduous process, but Matt believes that the hard work his team has put into their personal development has led to greater rewards for both them and Triple M Trailers of Texas.
“The customers can sense it. The interaction feels different. You realize relationships are important. Each employee is different in their journey. Not only has the dealership grown, but the individual employees have grown as well.”
When you take as much time in the selection process as Triple M Trailers of Texas, it’s even more imperative to get the rest of the process correct as well. For Matt’s team, that’s when the real training starts.
“I send everyone, from accounting to service, to manufacturing facilities. Everybody goes. They tour it and learn the service and sales side of things from the manufacturing perspective,” McKinley explains.
From there, new hires spend a week in an orientation program, which includes a day in each dealership position just to understand the questions from that department’s perspectives. Finally, product knowledge meetings and sales-related training helps interpret the product features into the customer benefits.
Matt says, “I want our staff to be known, by the manufacturers we represent, as the industry experts. I’ll invest whatever’s necessary to do that. We make sure we’re educating and positioning ourselves to be experts.”
While a strong company culture looks good on paper, it must translate to the customer’s experience. Happily, Matt reports that the incredible team he’s been lucky enough to work alongside has exceeded expectations in that area.
“We want customers to feel an experience when they come to the dealership. That’s part of our mission statement; to provide the most extra-ordinary experience that one could have at a trailer dealership.”
When asked what he feels towards his team, Matt simply replies with, “Gratitude. I love what I do. I believe that my team here does as well. That makes a difference.”