In 20 years, Ziad Khoury has grown Frontline Performance to 150 associates and has expanded globally into Central America, Latin America, Europe and soon Australia and New Zealand.
When Ziad Khoury first emigrated from Lebanon to the U.S. to attend college, he knew he wanted to start his own business. While he may not have originally thought of a career in car rental, he found opportunity as a rental agent at Alamo Rent A Car’s highest volume store in Orlando. “It was a mecca for incremental sales,” Khoury says.
He quickly became a national leader in sales and parlayed his way into a job as incremental sales manager at Dollar Rent A Car for the state of Florida. When his sales seminars started drawing Dollar corporate managers and licensees from around the country, Khoury knew he had something.
In 1993, he broke away to start his own company. “I was young and driven and I saw opportunity,” he says. “I always wanted to go out on my own and I just did it. I left a six-figure job at 26 years old to do this.”
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Frontline Performance Group (FPG) has grown to 150 associates and has brought its message of service-based sales to new travel verticals such as hotels and theme parks, as well as 22 countries.
Auto Rental News talked with Khoury about his company’s achievements and direction, and how car rental has changed over the past 20 years.
ARN: What were some of the key things that you learned in the early days about car rental?
ZK: It was a business that was full of opportunities with the customer that you already had, and the staff that was already a part of your business. If you look at all the revenue opportunities (incremental counter sales, phone sales, walk-ups at airports, outside sales) you could easily double your profit by implementing the right sales management system with your existing team and from your existing business.
When I started 20 years ago, most operators didn’t know how to measure incremental sales properly. Huge opportunities still exist, but the understanding is a lot better.
ARN: What were two of the biggest turning points for your company?
ZK: After a few years, I think it was the realization that customers are buying the bottom line results. Once I understood that this was the goal, the best way to help them achieve that end goal wasn’t for me to fly in for three days and come back again the next year. I was able to get my customers bigger results by having my consultants there on an ongoing basis. It helped me grow the business and helped me get better results for our clients.
Another turning point was understanding what I am teaching isn’t rocket science. It’s a process. Salespeople aren’t born; you can develop them as long as they have the right attributes and are within the right culture.
We systemized everything that we did. The systemization of our process came from studying Michael Gerber’s “E-Myth” books and understanding that by systemizing things, you could scale and grow for better service.