Bit by bit over the years, I’ve been renewing and customizing my 2003 Thunderbird. I love this car! For me, it’s what Ford originally called the T-bird: “A personal luxury car.” It rides like a full-sized car, has a 3.9 liter V8, and yet it looks and feels like a sports car. Recently I took it over the hill from Thousand Oaks to the beach at Malibu for a Malibu Autobahn™ road rally.
The rally was a gathering of high-end sports cars beginning with a lineup, beauty contest, on the beach. I parked my little bird among the Aston Martins, Ferraris, McLarens, Porsches, Cobras, and Lamborghinis. Wow! Most cars around me cost more than my home. Oddly enough, my car received a lot of praise from the crowd. Not because it’s an expensive custom, which it isn’t, but because it’s a delightful car and is well maintained.
A few years ago, I had the transmission renewed and recently refreshed the engine, cooling system, drivetrain, and ignition system. With the new information system in the dash, new custom wheels and tires, and the upcoming paint job (this week!) it’ll remain a “new” car to me. What’s your favorite car? When’s the last time you revitalized your ride?
I’ve found that people who take care of their own toys and tools will also tend to take better care of the property of others. People who love to go to car shows and browse showrooms tend to share a passion for cars that customers can sense. They know when you’re a lover of cars and, in my case, also motorcycles.
When a customer comes in with a need and they see you medically inspecting their car they can tell that you’re a pro. Their fears diminish and their trust in you increases. If you treat their car with respect, or even admiration, then they feel pride in their ride. They stand a little taller because someone (you) thinks their car is cool. You can talk intelligently about their cars and what makes them unique and valuable.
I’m not suggesting that you feign a “Wow!” when some clunker or unimpressive car comes in. What I’m recommending is that you cultivate your love of cars. Let it show. Tune in to Velocity Channel and watch some of the overhaul or restoration shows. Spend some time watching the latest auction and learn the back-story on the various brands and models. Be a “car guy or gal.”
Oddly enough, this will also make you a better technician. Not because you know more about technology, but rather because you become more acutely aware of what makes the technology special and worth caring about.
Personally, I know almost nothing useful about the technology of a transmission, but I greatly admire the magic that they produce. These phenomenal mazes of channels and parts are capable of things that previous generations didn’t even dream about. And you, as a transmission specialist, understand that magic! You’re an insider. One of the people behind the curtain who knows how everything fits together. That’s amazing!
So, I’d like to thank you for all the countless hours you’ve spent in becoming a qualified technician. You’re making the world a better place for us “car guys.” Thanks. May nobody ever take your T-bird away.
Jim Cathcart is one of the world’s top professional speakers and the author of 18 books. As a long-time friend of ATRA and contributor to GEARS he helps all of us grow our businesses and improve our skills. Contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org.