2015 North America Dealer of the Year
Thermo King Dealer News - Special Awards Edition 2016 | North America

As one of Thermo King’s longest-standing dealer-ships, Thermo King Sales & Service has certainly experi-enced its share of success through the years. Founded by the Santarsiero family four generations ago, the dealership has seen great change including a re-energized leadership group that has brought a different view on the business while holding on to core values and business practices that put customers first and deliv-er on promises.

“After selling his successful trucking company, my great grandfather decided retirement was not for him and he bought into the then-struggling Thermo King franchise in the mid 1960s. Unfortunately, his work would not be recognized as he passed away a year later,” said Brian Santarsiero, vice president and general sales manager. “Seeing the potential in the business, my grandfather, a pharmacist, sold his drug stores and set out to finish what his father had started. My father got involved in the 1970s and I joined in 2011, and we are determined to continue growing this business.”

That determination has led to an increase in business beyond 50 percent in the past four years alone.

“We know our past generations would be proud of what this business has become, and we want to ensure continued success and growth for the future,” said Dan Santarsiero, owner. “This is why we increased efforts the past few years by bringing in new talent, restructuring management, doubling our sales force and transforming our culture a bit to a new way of thinking and doing business. Instead of an ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality, we started challenging ourselves to think outside of the box by asking ‘how can we get better?’ While it’s not always easy to leave one’s comfort zone, our tactics have been working.”

Working indeed. 2015 marked another record year for the dealership. Competitive wins were a highlight. The dealership convinced one truck customer that had been a 100 percent Carrier account ‘forever’ to switch to the TriPac™ APU. “We won their APU business on their fleet of 800 trucks by demonstrating the consistency and value of both the product and our service. We earned the order, and even more important, the door is now open for unit sales,” said Brian.

A similar strategy worked for another truck line that had been a competitive customer for 10 years. After several years of visiting and talking with the customer, the dealership won half of its order due to consistent follow-up. As Brian explained, “That particular deal had nothing to do with the product and everything to do with being a persistent salesperson.”

When it came to challenges, the moving of customers from their comfortable SB-230 trailer unit to a Precedent™ C-600 topped the list. “Selling a new value proposition is always a challenge but our staff did an excellent job of securing business and transitioning our customers,” said Brian.

Technician challenges are an industry reality and Thermo King Sales & Service is no different. Battling shortages and ensuring proper training is a daily trial. One thing the dealership has done in the past six months is turned its best technician into a trainer. Much like a guidance counselor, this trainer is now developing career plans for technicians to ensure training schedules are met and to outline their path in the company.

“Investing in our technicians and service capabilities is important,” said Brian. “Many customers want to do their own service work, so we have to prove every day why we can do it better and that paying us will actually save them money in the long-term.”

With continued dedication to relationships and a new focus on selling a dedicated, consistent and committed service, Thermo King Sales & Service is proving that change is a good thing. “Change is inevitable and necessary. We have proven that there is no reason to fear change; the faster, more open, and more flexible we are to trying new tactics, the more successful we can be. Positive outcomes are being created simply by never being satisfied and challenging ourselves to do more. We are excited to continue building on this new focus and generate more opportunities for continued growth,” said Dan.

As the North America Dealer of the Year, Thermo King Sales & Service will now have a commemorative plaque on the Dealer of the Year wall at Thermo King Corporate headquarters.