Channel poids lourds – The power of personal service
Daniel Siabas runs ‘Channel poids lourds’ from Marck and Calais in France. The company sells, rents and services trailers and also deals in the second-hand market. Daniel has been at the helm for about thirty years now. His knowledge of the market and the STAS product is encyclopaedic. "I might be old fashioned, but I firmly believe it is still the personal service that does the trick, even in our current digital era."
"I met Willy Heyse around 1989. Francis was about twelve at the time. I was at the beginning of my career and along with STAS worked extremely hard to develop the business in our region. Now I'm doing business with the next generation; the sons of my original clients. That alone tells you something! Most of this I put down to our excellent service. It's in the small things. In the prospecting phase, we sometimes loan out a trailer, which the haulier can try for a couple of weeks. In most cases, this will result in a sale. And as well as our breakdown assistance, we've got a wonderful second-hand fleet on offer. Our willingness to take over and resell is our core strength. However, at a dealership, it's not mainstream to offer such a service. Others seem inclined not to get involved in this way. Are they right? Perhaps. But it's our profit margin that’s standing out there on the lot. And I just know that it's partly down to this that we’re still in business. STAS always retains its excellent resale value and if you are an old hand in the business, as I am, then you know exactly how to handle this. Anticipating your clients' needs, knowing when a secondhand vehicle would interest them, in what period of the year and for which sector; that's the key to success."
The voice of the drivers
"We sell 220 to 250 vehicles annually. between 80 and 100 of these are STAS. We have a market share of approximately 35% in the region. Along with the human factor, proximity and speed are significant elements in our approach and the service we offer clients. We don't have a website and tend to avoid social media, but we know all our stakeholders in person. Valérie answers the phone, deals with the queries, passes clients on and does the follow-up. This is how we keep in touch with our clients and how we know, for example, that the drivers' voices get heard, particularly in SMEs. And that‘s a major part of our client portfolio. If a driver wants STAS, he'll get it. (laughs) With direct personal contact, we can keep the lines short and react instantly, as expected of us."
“Anticipating your client's needs, knowing when a second-hand vehicle would interest them, in what period of the year and for which sector; that's the key to success” - Daniel Siabas
"Product quality is of course a major element in the package. I always urge my sales reps not to talk continuously about price. Talk about the material, I tell them. After all, that sells itself. (laughs) We certainly like to highlight superior quality detailing to our haulier clients. The entire organisation behind the brand also assists in opening up market doors. STAS is led by a team that looks forward and outwards, beyond the Belgian borders. That's what delivers results for them. And of course, that sympathetic ear, which is still there today. And I for one certainly am in need of this. Have they already mentioned my unique, some might say ‘difficult’ nature? (laughs) If there's anything I don't like, I’m not shy about speaking up about it. All intended as constructive criticism, of course, to move both our collaboration and the product along. I appreciate that the STAS team respects this and takes it on board. Together we’ve been able to generate excellent quality, to embed the end client's respect, and there’s no way I would want to lose any of this because of some petty details. STAS is my baby too; I'll take good care of that."