Welcome to the inaugural post in a new series on the Idealease blog, The Elite Spotlight. In this feature, winners of President’s Club Elite status share their perspective on what it takes to perform at a consistently high level—no matter what.
First up, a 2021 President’s Club Elite winner and, overall, an eight-time President’s Club member, Teresa Dias. Teresa has been a part of the truck leasing and rental industry for 45 years and has spent the last nine of those with Peterson Idealease in San Leandro, California.
Teresa, welcome to The Elite Spotlight!
What has been the biggest challenge for your business as the pandemic continues?
The biggest issue has been that customers either decided not to place orders or canceled orders they had placed, and are now faced with lease equipment coming off-term that they must continue to operate with exposure. And there are new prospects that have sold trucks off or have trucks that have aged out of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) program, and now have limited resources for new or replacement vehicles.
Have there been any unexpected benefits or surprising silver linings?
Absolutely. I have realized that it IS possible to remain very close to your customers without being physically in front of them. I became more efficient and provided even more support to my customers, albeit from afar. Everyone has become accustomed to being taken care of remotely, and some have really embraced it! It allows for even more efficiency.
Do you have any tips or advice you'd like to share with the rest of our team?
I think the most important thing I’ve learned during these trying times, is to provide your customers with regular updates since things are constantly changing and delivery dates are not staying put. Give them updates with context. I like to send customers links or articles about the ongoing supply chain challenges, microchip shortages, and port container issues.
Reach out to them first, instead of having them call you. If you are on the back foot, it can sound like you are giving them an excuse as to why their new truck is not delivered, or their current truck is still down. It’s the same story, but with a different manner of delivery and a much different outcome.
Also, when talking with customers, I like to start by asking them what challenges the current environment is causing them. Then you can reply with empathy while also making them empathetic! We’re all stuck in the same situation.
Which Idealease Core Value—Expertise, Responsiveness, and Stability—do you feel you leaned on the most this year, and why?
I’ve really relied on all of them, but I think Responsiveness has been the most successful for me. Most of our competition has taken the “oh, well, nothing to see here. I’ll just rest on my laurels for a while,” stance. So, by being uber-responsive, it’s really helped us stand out.
Also, when the economy slows, like it did the past year, folks have the time to talk and to listen. So, if you’re the only one talking to them, you are positioning yourself in a unique way.
What's helped you keep a Full Speed Ahead mindset as the year has gone on?
It’s truly the responses I’ve gotten from my customers. It’s very easy to feed off their positive
attitude to us. There have been so many successes this year.
We signed a local 50-truck/30-year customer from the competition that I had been chasing for over 20 years. A piece of the puzzle was that I was providing information to them all during the pandemic, and their old provider was pretty much hiding their head in the sand. The customer said, “If you guys are this good when things are horrible, how great will you be when things are good?!” They knew we would be in it for the long haul.
You do not prove your worth when things are smooth. It’s easy for everyone to be good when things are easy.
We couldn’t agree more, Teresa. Congratulations on another successful year and thank you for sharing your winning attitude with us in The Elite Spotlight!