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Landstar Hosts Grow Your Star Program for Agents

Agents participating in Landstar’s Grow Your Star program are reporting they’re more prepared and more motivated to find ways to improve their independent businesses. The program helps agencies reach new goals by providing information, support and mentors to agents through small group, three-day sessions.

“If you’re an agent feeling stuck at your current level of business – whatever level that is – there are always growth opportunities to be found within the Landstar system, and we are here to help you find them,” says Katie Mountain, vice president of business development at Landstar. “Whatever the struggle – sales, staffing, operations, efficiency, breaking into different transportation modes, or serving new industries – Grow Your Star can help an agency discover effective ways to meet its unique business goals.”

But be forewarned – Grow Your Star is not a “sit-through-the-presentation-and-take-a-handout-home” experience. It is a deep-dive, interactive session where attendees are expected to fully participate in every discussion. This includes roundtables where agent mentors share their experiences and answer questions about how they have overcome difficult situations and successfully grown their own businesses. And, presentations from various Landstar service departments that agents may not be taking full advantage of to help make their goals a reality.

Landstar Agent Tony Lay with Triple C Logistics in Walton, Kentucky, attended a Grow Your Star event last year. “It significantly changed my business for the better,” Lay says. “We were doing okay, then business just flattened out. When Landstar announced it was holding Grow Your Star, I applied.”

Lay says he expects to nearly double his business by the end of 2023. “Much of that growth I directly contribute to the program. I got a lot out of hearing other agents’ ups and downs, their challenges and what they did to overcome them. It was a kick-start for helping my agency team learn what we needed to do to reach the next level,” he says. “Grow Your Star is one of the best things Landstar has done for agents.”

Landstar Agents Matt and Alissa Williams of Rane Logistics in Menifee, California, attended the very first Grow Your Star event.

"We’ve always felt support from Landstar,” Matt Williams says. “When we got to the event, we saw firsthand how many people and departments we can access to help take us to the next level. Plus, we got a lot of good advice about how to improve our operations.”

Williams states that as a result of the program, he changed his approach to customers. “We had an outside sales rep, but since Grow Your Star, our strategy completely changed,” he says, “I was handling agency operations, but it became apparent I needed to be the one focused on sales and building those relationships.”

Other agents also have made significant changes after attending, according to Mountain, who leads the meetings. “Agents tell us they’ve changed many aspects of their businesses after going through the program, whether it's improving operational efficiencies, rethinking hiring strategies, or branching out into new areas – like new transportation modes or diversifying their customer base.”

Agents are better educated about the functions of Landstar’s different departments and better connected to employees in a variety of modes and services from corporate accounts to operations to specialized hauling. Lay says that after going through the program, his agency realized how many departments at Landstar are available to assist. “Now I know there are a lot of people and places within the system we can call on whenever we need help. We’re reaching out more, and it’s making a big difference.”

Most Grow Your Star participants say the most helpful part of the program centers around the agent-to-agent discussions with successful agents who volunteer to share their experiences.

“The agent mentors are often the most impactful and motivational,” says Mountain. “They have been right where our participants are, and have successfully overcome the same challenges they’re facing.” 

“The agents were from a wide range of backgrounds, ages, personalities, and ways of doing business,” says Landstar Agent Seth Gowitzka of Sileon Shipping in Mansfield, Ohio. “It was very helpful to hear that many of my peers have had the same struggles and shared with us how to make the needed changes and fix the issues.” 

Gowitzka says one Grow Your Star roundtable changed the way his agency works with other agencies. “It opened my eyes – although we are all independent, I now realize there is so much collaboration possible with the other agencies in the Landstar system. If I have a customer who needs a type of service my agency doesn’t have access to, there’s a Landstar agent somewhere that I can collaborate with and enhance both of our businesses.”

“What helped us the most was the roundtable discussion about sales,” recalls Williams. “Everyone was giving ideas, their stories of success, strategies that worked for them – it was incredibly beneficial. I would recommend the Grow Your Star program 100%.”

Gowitzka agrees and gives this advice to Landstar agents invited to attend: “The program is challenging, but the challenge will help you move forward. Go with open ears and an open mind." He says he was encouraged when he heard from peers overcoming some of the same challenges he's faced. "You’ll question everything that you’re doing, but that’s a good thing. It is well worth it.”

Agents create a list of action items and their plan for implementation, which is also given to Landstar agent development executives and regional sales vice presidents. Over the six months following the sessions, those executives follow up to provide support and assistance to the agents as needed. 

“We don’t create their goals; they do,” Mountain says. “Even in a down economy, people can find success. Grow Your Star gives perspective on what other agents are doing and provides new insight into how to make their businesses reach that next level.”

“Landstar’s six-month follow-up really makes a difference,” Mountain says. “Landstar representatives go over what’s already been accomplished and how the agent plans to continue moving forward.”

After completing the program, most Grow Your Star participants add at least one new mode of transportation to the services they offer customers, such as less-than-truckload, intermodal, rail or van. Some attendees find ways to collaborate with a fellow agent to handle additional modes to meet more of their customers’ needs.

At the end of 2022, Grow Your Star agents reported an average of 20% to 50% year-over-year growth after participating in the program, Mountain says. “It’s proving to be a winning formula.”

If you’re interested in becoming an independent agent with Landstar, reach out to our team today to learn more.



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