Looking through the glass




I spent 28 years of my adult life working in the automotive industry, its amazing how things look from the outside looking in.  Brought in my vehicle for service, pulled up and sat in my vehicle for about 5 minutes, no one approached me, I looked into my old office of 15 years door closed while the service manager sat inside working or browsing the internet.  So, I exited the vehicle, grabbed the rear door handle and opened it.  Reached in and removed my walker, opened it up and proceeded towards the service consultant station, where he greeted me.  I told him, special order parts were ordered and to check some other issues.  He, didn’t ask me anything else or performed an inspection of my vehicle.  This inspection, is helpful and will bring attention if any another issues are found or any prior body damage is found and noted in my presence.

I walked over to the front of the service drive where seats and tables are available for clients.  There was a client, also waiting for her vehicle to be completed.  I said hello and sat down, my name is Gus, whats your name, we shook hands and she said, Hellen.  What type of vehicle do you owned?  Hellen, told me how happy she felt with purchasing her Mazda 3 sedan from “Say it Mazda”, Hellen said it’s a CPO, certified per-owned.  Hellen, explained and told me this wonderful story, about how God or this amazing spirit filled her heart with joy and said this vehicle is meant for you.  So, Hellen got up and said I’ll take it.  We both sat and talked for about 30 minutes, Hellen told me about how hard her struggles were because for the last 12 years, she fought very hard towards becoming a citizen of the United States Of America.  Hellen told me about working and going to school and riding the bus everywhere, which she dislike very much.  Hellen, told me how praying everyday gave her the confidence and faith things were going to change for the best.

Hellen told me how excited she was when she became a citizen of the United States Of America, at that moment her prayers had been answered and her struggles were less.  Her face was so full of joy and her expression just told the story without saying a word.  Hellen had asked me, did I have a back issue or why did I use a walker?  I explained to her, it’s an illness which affects the muscles and motor functions.  ALS, (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).  Her expression, was one of confusion.  Hellen said, I will look it up and read more about it to understand.  So sorry to hear about what you are dealing with, I told her we all have are challenges and it’s how we deal with them which makes the difference.  Your struggles and how hard it was, but never quitting on your dream.  It’s the same with me, yes, I have this illness but I can’t quit now, because I’m making the best out of it.

At that moment, the service technician had pulled up her Mazda in the designated area, for quick service vehicle only.  He greeted me, the service technician which I had hired many years passed.  It was so good to see him, I said you look great.  We both shook hands and told me the same.  He than, greeted Hellen, because it turns out she was a sister of another employees’ wife at “Say it Mazda”.  I said, what a small world, understanding I had also hired that employee as well.  The service technician, reaffirmed and explained what was done, and how everything passed with all green marks.  Hellen smiled and said thank you.  Looking at me and smiling, so what did you do here?

It’s seems like everyone knows you, Hellen, I was the General Manager for “Say it Mazda”.  Well, that makes sense now.  I miss it everyday, the employees’, and especially the clients, being able to provide the WOW, factor in Sales, Service, and Parts completes the circle of loyalty.  When I started 28 years ago, I had many goals and ambitions to one day own my store.  This illness, has side tracked those ambitions and now looking forward towards a new chapter in my life.  As you explained earlier, about praying and having faith I too have the faith and believe better things lie ahead for me and my family.  Gus, I wish you the best, and that everything works out for you.  Thank you, Hellen.  It was very nice to have met you.  Your repeat business, is appreciated and the best compliment to your sales consultant, would be a referral for a new or CPO purchase.  Yes, Gus I understand.  I will keep that in mind, great and make it a wonderful day.

So I sat, and waited for my vehicle to be completed.  I was so full of joy, watching the sales staff interacting with their clients and vehicles being sold, I just sold another and hey, just sold one too.  It made me feel happy and sad at the same time.  Watching the sales consultants running back and forth, reminded me of the days passed, when I was the one running with them.  Everyone seems so focused and determined, walking with their clients and only if I could read lips, how exciting who was that lucky person in the group.  Watching the sales consultant, swing his arms back and forth with enthusiasm as he spoke with his clients.  To be in the business, is to fully appreciate the efforts made when successfully closing the deal.

So, as I sat and waited for my vehicle to be completed, and while reading my book which I brought with me to help pass the time.  I didn’t understand why every vehicle coming in for service, never had any kind of walk-a-round while gathering information.  No, hoods being opened or tires being checked or any prior damage, such as door dings or scratches.  No wiper blades being checked and it was raining, also head lamps and turn signals not being checked as well, many missed opportunities or what I would call preventive maintenance, ensuring optimal condition for our clients vehicles.  It’s truly difficult looking at things from the outside in.  Or maybe, in some way their service technicians are making all the appropriate measures?  I don’t think so, well it was a thought.

There are many reason why, its paramount that all hoods are opened, fluids should be checked and the most critical are battery checks, every vehicle every time.  Our clients will thank you, because a dead battery in the morning doesn’t start the day well.  Preventive maintenance, should be the word used each and everyday in your service departments.  When standing outside the window looking in everything looks different.  No excuses, you have plenty of time.  The key is consistently and making it a part of the process.  For those service consultants making it a part of their process, nothing will be left to chance.  Their worth just jumped up 150 percent.  We all admirer hard work and paying attention to detail creates the WOW factor.  And seeing it before your eyes, creates accountability for you and your store.  The WOW, factor everything starts and finishes with you.






Overcoming anything




Overcoming anything is difficult and requires dedication, focus, perseverance and understanding your weak and strong points.  Creating the wins before they actually happen, is critical.  Our minds and thoughts cultivate our visions, as if harvesting crops.  If our focus and efforts lose sight our seeds, will surely not grow, and the cultivating process will never begin.  Its been one year and six months, I thought or in some crazy way presumed I had it all figured out.  Boy, was I wrong.  I’ve learned more about myself, than I’ve learned in fifty years.  I’m not advocating or saying to truly understand yourself, you must become ill.  What I’m writing about, no matter what the situation is we can overcome anything.  I can’t focus on tomorrow, but, I can focus one hundred percent on today.  We all have different things and objectives we deal with on a daily basis.  Take them and prioritize from the most important to the least, don’t overwhelm ourself.  If its only one thing that just fine too.  Here’s my opinion, this word multi-task may not work very well with most.  You have more time than you think, if your work schedule is eight hours a day, then work those eight hours and not use six of those unproductive.  You know exactly what I mean, stop wasting so much of your time doing nothing, and then the last two hours of the day working your tail off.  Knowing you’re feeling overwhelmed.  Your time matters, and your health matters.  Take your breaks and walk-a-round the office, stretch, take your lunch break, but utilize your time effectively and productively.  And those two-hour, last-minute rushes, will become productive and useful to you.  In order to overcome, one must break the vicious cycles of doing the same thing over again and expecting a different outcome.  I call this the crazy-man or women mentality of doing things.


We all have our issues, It doesn’t matter what they are, just believing in yourself is the first step.  I like to say, don’t cry over spilled milk.  It’s done, move on and having a short memory does help a great deal.  I call it the five-minute rule, and forget it.  Move on to the next project, because you know there are many more important things waiting ahead.  Why, is it important to understand our weak points?  If every-time you greet a client and the sales goes south, don’t think for a moment that every client that comes in is difficult, try this little exercise, look into a mirror and greet yourself, do you feel warm and fuzzy?  You can’t see your expression, but your clients are telling you something.  The key here is to understand your weakness and practice a lot.  Until your sales start to close, and your efforts are paying off.  Sometimes it’s that easy, work on your weak points and roleplaying is another good way to practice your skills.  Overcome your obstacles, and become the true professional in your field.


Your comments and feed back is much appreciated.