KANSAS CITY. As part of the company’s 60th anniversary celebration, Arrow Truck Sales, Inc. held the final round of its VNL Master Sales Specialist competition at its headquarters here this week. Western regional champion, Aaron Elliott, based in Kansas City, took the top honors, competing against Terry Weaver, the Eastern regional winner from Chicago. Elliott was awarded $1,500 for his achievement. He was also runner-up in the 2009 competition.

Four judges, including this FleetOwner editor, evaluated each sales specialist’s 15-minute “walk-around” presentation of the features, advantages and benefits of a used Volvo VNL 780. Solid product knowledge, a professional and smooth presentation and the ability to involve and engage the customer are key elements of the competition, which was created to help develop a professional, consultative approach to used truck sales.

For the sales specialists, this means being able to discuss a vehicle’s safety features; aerodynamic benefits; engine, transmission and drivetrain; serviceability; and comfort and convenience features as well as Arrow’s ready-to-work vehicle refurbishing and warranty programs. In the used equipment business, this requires learning about a very wide and constantly changing range of vehicle makes and models.

The competition begins at the branch level, where each sales specialist at all 19 U.S. and Canadian Arrow stores participates in the first rounds. Like the company’s involvement in the creation of the Used Truck Association (which now numbers some 800 members), the Master Sales Specialist competition is all about professionalism and focusing on the customer.

Another Arrow program called “Back on the Road,” designed to help cash-strapped owner-operators get a truck and go back to work, reflects the same underlying philosophy, according to company president & CEO, Steve Clough. “For Arrow to be successful, we have to have customers and they have to be successful customers,” he said at a news conference held after the event.