By Art Lawler
LONGVIEW – The best seller of Mack trucks in the United States of America might surprise you.
Larry Moore, 51, is not bombastic. In fact, his superiors describe the Jacksonville native as a low-key guy you wouldn’t think would be able to do it.
Nevertheless, when the company announces its Salesman of the Year in its March 1 trade publication Mack Bulldog Magazine, Moore will be recognized as the best of the best in Mack Truck sales.
On that same day, Moore, an employee of East Texas Mack in Longview, will be taking off with his mother for Costa Rica.
“His wife (Jo Ann Moore) doesn’t like to fly,” said Bill Bankston, owner of East Texas Mack in Longview.
“He’s a good son,” Bankston said.
When the magazine appears, it will announce that he has beaten out more than 600 other Mack truck sales people throughout the United States for this reward trip. Bankston and Senior Vice President of Marketing Tom Kelly of Allentown, Pa., the company’s headquarters, say Moore does a lot of things right.
“Larry is what I call an unusual character,” says Kelly. “If he walks in to talk, you don’t know if he’ll sell that well, but he can because he cares for the customer in a manner unprecedented,” he said.
“When he comes into a dealership he will check to see if any of his customers’ trucks are in the service bays, and he will contact that customer, even if he hasn’t told Larry in advance he’s coming, just to let him know he’s watching (the truck) and is making sure it gets done correctly.
“He is literally the guardian angel of the customer.”
Moore’s self-analysis is considerably less effusive.
“I’ve got a product, so that helps,” he said.
Moore should know. He’s been selling trucks for 25 years, the last 14 with Mack Truck dealerships, here and in Bossier City, La. “They’re just easier to sell,” he said.
“I’m just tickled to death,” said Bankston. “We’ve gotten a lot of awards over the years but never had the national salesman of the year.”
Kelly has a favorite Larry Moore quote that he says explains him pretty well:
“I like huntin.’ I like fishin.’ But most of all, I love sellin’ trucks,” he quotes Moore as saying.
So what separates Moore and makes him the best of the best in the company?
“He’s not overly aggressive,” Bankston said. “You ask him to do something, he does it. He gets back on time, gets a fair price. We make money obviously. That’s the reason we’re here for, but he gets them a fair price and then delivers on what he says.
“I’ve seen many times how he delivers trucks personally, and how he’ll go to the customer’s yard, pick up a truck with a problem, then bring it back to them after it’s repaired,” Bankston said.
Moore admits he’s customer oriented. “It's not just sales,” he said. “It’s what you do after the sale.”
Bankston said Moore’s customers have learned they can depend on him.
“The reason I know this to be a fact is because Larry sells as many out of our territory as in our territory,” he said. “He probably sold 150 trucks in the Midland-Odessa area last year. And they have a Mack Dealership in Odessa.”
The trucks Moore sells run, on average, about $85,000 each, and he sold 400 such units last year, better than one per day, Bankston said.
Another advantage for Moore is his oil field background and the knowledge he gained from it, Bankston said.
“These oilfield trucks are totally different than highway trucks,” he said. “They have pumps and wenches and things the highway trucks don’t have.” Kelly said the company tries to recognize the top 100 salesmen each year in its trade publication, and also by throwing in a significant reward trip.
“It’s a very competitive thing among sales people,” he said. “They make good money, but this is about personal pride and salesmanship.”
Points are awarded based on the difficulty of a sale.
“They earn points through the year, based on units that they sell,” Kelly said. “Obviously, we reward more heavily if the sale is to a conquest customer. That’s one they’ve never sold to before. One they took away from somebody.”
“The Larry Moore story is a terrific story, as far as I’m concerned,” Kelly said.
By Art Lawler