male master working with metal tools in garage

Sometimes You Need to Scratch to Get Below the Surface

I want to write this piece as an inspiration to not take things at surface level. While my inspiration for this is from today, consulting a dealership, it applies in so many areas.

Too often we find ourselves selling ourselves short, especially where we may be considered experts. This can happen to a football coach, a sales consultant, voice coach, teacher, pastor… you name it. Here’s where I am going with this and I will try to make this one quick.

You are an expert and you task yourself or are tasked with advising someone. You run into a scenario where everything on the surface looks great. Man, they smell good, look good, and you wonder (even if just with your inside voice) “how the heck can I add value here?” . You may even begin to have little junior panic attacks as you just know they are staring a hole right through you waiting for your awesome advice.

Reality is different than this monster you have created in your head, just as it was different for me today.

Today I visited a newly build, large powersports dealer to begin consulting their service department. I pulled up and the building was perfect, the signage was professional and well-placed. The Service Department was well marked and customers knew exactly where to go. I toured the sales floor and the representation of brands was diverse and engaging with an appropriate selection of accessories to complement each section. Heck, this place even had a gun store inside!

What in the world am I going to be able to do here? I had to remind myself of my internal state versus reality. I had to slow it down and take stock of all the players, then I had to ask questions… scratch below the surface. This is key. Instead of wowing people with your awesome insights when you haven’t given yourself a moment to adjust – just ask questions and allow them to bring it to you.

Each question I asked led to another pathway of growth, and now I am pleased to know that while I don’t know everything or have all the answers… I do have a multi-pronged approach to help this dealer advance his service department to increase customer satisfaction while increasing profit. It won’t be a light switch deal, as it will take work and time to adjust some culture issues. But scratching below the surface revealed what the shiny finish of “new” was covering.

This does not detract from the overall quality I spoke of up front. This is a kick-ass dealer. However, together we will find room for growth. So now I ask you. What portion of your work are you moving in with assumed efficiency or cadence of success that could be bolstered? Are you a teacher that could ask students for better methods of engagement – hence retention? Are you an athletic coach that could find a better team bonding method? Are you in a production area that is wasting steps or failing to collect data to track success?

Scratch below the surface and see what you can uncover.