CASE STUDY #2
Effective Communication Puts Family Business Over the Top
Growth became stress-free for McLea’s Tire and Automotive once they had a model in place to teach employees how to communicate with customers effectively, ultimately leading to the successful sale of a 5-store family business to AAA.
In 1979, Bill McLea opened the doors to McLea’s General Tire in Sonoma County California. Over the course of the first 20 years, McLea’s would grow into a thriving family-run business built on creating long-lasting relationships with customers and employees. They built a positive culture where customers and employees knew they would be treated like family.
By 1996, Bill had decided it’s time to fish more and work less. It was time for his son’s Les and Rick to take the reigns of the family business. The transition was seamless, culture remained positive, and sales consistently grew. The business was in a comfortable place, but Les wasn’t. He felt the “squeeze” from competitors popping up all around him. He said “we either get bigger or get run over”. And get bigger he did, by 2001 McLea’s opened its second location,
and a third in 2003.
The three locations were performing to expectations but Les and Rick always felt like there was something they could add to the mix to continue to push the business forward. “How can we get better... close more deals, and be more efficient”, thought Les.
The McLea’s understood the importance of having great customer service that created customer loyalty, but how do you teach that? The source of stress that he and his employees felt was due to not having a simple model to teach them how to communicate effectively. And even if he did, how would he measure and analyze the results of his teachings with them in an effort to raise their skills? The positive results in his business were directly tied to a moment in time when there was a commitment made through effective communication. He began to realize that in order to be consistent at all locations, they would need a scalable model to teach their employees how to communicate effectively.
In 2011, Les McLea enrolled his stores into Power Sales Training. He empowered his son Darren to take over and drive this program - and drive it he did! Power Sales Training and the language of commitment began to have an impact not only on his employee’s communication skills, but also on how they show up in all areas of their life.
Employees became more confident at their jobs, and therefore more successful. This positive shift netted results in all areas of the business; building customer loyalty, increased sales, and reducing stress for everyone. The McLea’s were witnessing the business transform into a commitment-based organization focused on helping customers.
With Sales Call Analysis and Call Tracking, Darren strengthened bonds with his employees in listening sessions giving feedback on recorded calls where they could improve communication. Employees took notice of the investment and priority the McLea’s were making in developing their people. Employee recruitment and retention was no longer stressful for the McLea’s. Darren said,
“I could literally walk into a Chic-Filet and offer the checkout kid a job that they could be successful at because I had the structure and model in place to teach them how to communicate effectively.”
By 2013, McLea’s had grown to 5 highly successful locations. The McLea family built an empire focused on improving the communication skills of its employees and making commitments to customers. In 2020, AAA made the McLea’s an offer to purchase all 5 locations that they could not refuse.