What influenced you to become the person you are today in your personal life?
Who showed you the way in your professional career?
This blog-post is in essence a thank you letter to the man who believed in me. A manager who allowed me to take the information I already knew and put it into practice without constant doubt.
When I transferred from Sears Auto Center in Milwaukee, WI to Brooklyn, NY I already had the basics of my job down pat. Coming from a small store in Milwaukee and getting tossed into the chaos of the Brooklyn store I was overwhelmed to say the least.
Keino Bryan was and still is the store manager in this store. I met him for about twenty minutes a few days before starting but honestly was not in the least prepared for what I had in store for me when I started. I quickly asked him if I could shadow someone for the first day to try and get my bearings.
I will never forget what he told me that day:
This was the first time someone who supervised me really believed in me. Honestly I didn’t believe in myself that day. I went ahead and shadowed one of the service writers for about an hour and then the shop got busy. Feeling the need to be helpful I jumped onto my own station and started taking customers. In that first day I sold more then I had in a week in Milwaukee. I was flabbergasted.
If you had told me that in my time at Sears I would end up in the top ten sales list I would have called you an idiot. But that’s exactly what happened. Keino knew how to motivate me do work hard and sell better without questioning my abilities or insulting me in front of my customers. Before this point and after in future jobs – managers always seemed to find a way to belittle you in front of your customer. With Keino this was never an option.
Did we have our conflicts? Sure. We didn’t agree on everything and I am always quick to lash out or get angry when confronted by authority.
When I asked for information to try and understand a service I needed to sell, Keino went out of his way to explain and teach me. The more I learnt the better sales person I became. I thrived in this location under his leadership and dedicated teaching methods.
I owe all of my success in the automotive industry to this man. Taking the time and energy to train me, the ability to manage by example and the intuition to know when to step back is what built me into the service manager I am today.
This blog post is a thank you letter. I don’t think I ever told you Keino the kind of influence you had on my career. My sales number were always a success and a platform to build higher on. You taught me that sales aren’t always everything and that building a relationship with the customer is what keeps them coming back. You taught me that sometimes you have to offer the customer credit and an option to do the work necessary and how to give bad news to someone who loves their car. You stressed the need to have a life outside of work and necessity of learning how to relax. My ability to manage my staff today to any kind of order is due to your gentle urging to be nicer to people.
As word to all the shop owners and service managers out there: This man is an example of how to lead. Women get told that they aren’t capable every day. We are told we aren’t qualified and get talked over by men who fix cars as a hobby. Be the manager you would want. Don’t talk down to your employees in front of customers or coworkers. A customer with never develop a trust in your employee if YOU THE OWNER talk down to them or correct them.