During the 2017 Toshiba LEAD (Learn, Engage, Act, Deliver) conference held the first week of May in Orlando, FL, a number of dealers were honored by the host, including the coveted Rookie of the Year award. That honor went to The Lioce Group (TLG) of Huntsville, AL.
ENX Magazine had the opportunity to sit down with Nick Lioce, president of TLG, to learn about how manufacturer was instrumental in helping his company enjoy a solid performance in its first year of offering Toshiba products. The partnership proved complementary for a dealership that has long thrived in providing among the fastest and most efficient technical service in North Alabama.
What were your takeaways from the 2017 LEAD Conference?
Lioce: Toshiba’s ability to build relationships with dealers is excellent. Their management team is very capable and engaged. They empower their people to work for the dealerships instead of putting up bureaucracy and sales prevention practices like other manufacturers.
How does it feel to be named Toshiba’s top first-year dealer? What were the key factors behind your success?
Lioce: It was a surprise and rather special. In selling for our other manufacturer for over 35 years, we hadn’t been recognized in this fashion. I really believe it’s the Toshiba team. All representatives from Toshiba seem to know each other, work as a team and focus on the dealer’s success rather than their own quotas. I’ve got to hand it to upper management and would like to know how they do it.
What points of differentiation set your company apart from competitors in Northern Alabama?
Lioce: Our integrity is our single greatest asset and the cornerstone of our values. TLG strives to make sure that all our business endeavors create continual success for our clients and our company. This means doing in-depth research of your needs and helping you make the right choices for technology and equipment.
We strive to do the right thing by being: No. 1 fastest on-site response time; No. 1 largest service staff in North Alabama; No. 1 largest Inventory of printer supplies in North Alabama; top 3 percent in service efficiency in the nation; top 5 government GSA vendor for Canon in the U.S.; 97 percent approval rating from our customers; and largest local independent dealer in North Alabama.
What prompted you to add Toshiba to your already comprehensive list of manufacturer offerings?
Lioce: A couple of things. Their digital signage and barcode printers expanded my product line. Their government equipment offering complemented my current GSA contract. The Toshiba management and field team were very impressive as well. My main line, Canon, was distancing themselves from their smaller dealers, which was also a growing concern.
What areas of your business are growing?
Lioce: Pretty much all areas. Commercial sales, GSA sales and software sales are all increasing 20-plus percent. The MPS business is not increasing as much as I would like.
What are your goals for the second half of 2017 and the coming year?
Lioce: Our main initiative is what we call the Next Level Team, focused on business process automation and consulting. This does involve reducing paper, but entails much more. We are continuing to expand our GSA business, which is the fastest growing division. At the same time, the traditional market which everyone knows is maturing represents great opportunity. We are capturing as many customers as we can while our competitors are searching for direction.