Many dealers contemplate making the jump from retail to the consulting/vendor world. Unfortuantely those considering the change may not be prepared, have the best guidance - or even worse - know what they're getting themselves into.
So, after speaking with good friend and industry pro Chris Costner I felt his story could be helpful to many within the community.
Chris was the BDC Director at Southern Volkwagen for several years before leaving and joining forces with Jerry Thibeau at Phone Ninjas as the new Vice-President of Training. He worked extremely hard to help build the dealership process and structure relying on industry best practices. He mentioned that part of his successful personal and professional journey were the result of two basic actions:
1. Helping the dealership staff learn new things - he loves helping others improve.
2. Becoming active within Facebook and twitter - he credits this for his new career move.
He describes himself as being someone who simply wanted to help his staff, share ideas and truly cares about the people around him.
He also noticed how his social activity extended his helpful messages and increased his ability to engage with others. Chris quickly realized his message and his style was well received. He began writing more, received positive feedback and the engagement factor helped fuel his overall philosophy of helping others while reaching so many others on bigger scale.
Chris enthusiastically called it "An amazing feeling knowing he was helping people do something great!" His infectious "Do or Die" attitude is inspiring and refreshing.
Here's three excellent pro tips Chris shared about his recent change. These can also be applied to any type of life-changing event you may be considering.
1. You need endless drive - he calls it his "How can I get there?!" mentality. He shared a great story - his Oh Sh#t! moment came when when he flew across the country for his first meeting with Jerry. He was asked to drive the rental car to the meeting in the mountains of San Jose. So here was, sitting with someone he respected and looked up to for years and now he was "there." He was square in the middle of the place he had often wondered about how he was going to get to. His drive got him there and he knew it would keep him going.
2. You obviously need experience to make a transition. A lot of it. And you better be really good at what you're doing. Chris became really good at creating a plan, teaching it to others and sharing his vision to create change. Eventually you're going to have to demonstrate your knoweldge; if you're not prepared, then you're done.
3. Don't assume the grass is greener. Many people make a change simply because they want out of their current situation, not because they're following a plan or trying to accomplish a goal. Chris says it well with "Know who you are and know your own personal goals." You really do need a personal brand because that's what helps you move towards your goals and obejctives.
Chris is a great example of a successful dealer who managed to cross into the vendor world and continue his success. Thanks for sharing your experiences Chris - I'm sure you'll continue this wonderful journey you're on!