Its early evening just after dinner. I finished preparing and reviewing the service targets for tomorrow and started watching the Chris Collins training videos. My 7-year-old daughter comes up to me, with her wild imagination she has, “He looks like Santa”. “Who?” I replied. “The one on the laptop”.

I laughed because I could see the resemblance. “No, Santa gives you something you need or want, not add to your daily workload”, I responded. As if there wasn’t enough going on, now I feel like I’m back in school. 

It’s early 2020 and I find myself in an office once occupied by one of the hardest workers I know. I have a new role at the dealership after working here for 18 years as a service advisor. There were a lot of changes happening.

Not only am I trying to fit into my new role, but I’m also trying to adapt to the changes going on around me. I’m not filling the shoes the way I had hoped, and the numbers were stagnant at best. Then, the global Coronavirus pandemic hit. 

Fast forward a year and I’m still trying to keep my head above water.

The world is trying to adapt to what is still going on and businesses are trying to stay alive. I’m trying to be what I thought a service manager should be. I was then told we would be implementing a new program that would help us achieve numbers we were not able to achieve before.

Now? I can hardly keep up with the changes and fulfill my new role, I must now learn a new way of doing things? Can’t say I was sold on the idea. I mean, shouldn’t I master the basics first? Nobody in their right state of mind would dare say “no” to somebody that is promising to make things better.

Reluctantly, I agreed. Can I really do this? Did I take on too much? Maybe I’m not cut out to be a service manager? I was always a “cup half empty” kind of guy.

I have two children and always tell them that they need to believe in something for it to work. They need to commit to something and follow through with it. I was in no position to back down. I could never explain to my kids that I wanted them to do something that I was not ready to do.

I decided to commit and buy into the system.

I invested the time needed, and we started to implement The Chris Collins system. I say “we” because I did not do it alone. I am proud to say that I have the best support anyone could ask for.

My fixed operations manager is more like a best friend than a boss. He’s a hardworking, dedicated professional and a “cup half full” kind of guy. My morning doesn’t start off right unless we have our morning talk and ensure we are on track to achieve what we set out to do; call it our morning coffee. 

We share the good and the bad, and so, The Chris Collins program was going to be no different. If it was going to be successful, it was because we both committed to making it happen. Add on an amazing group of support staff and individuals working on the front counter whom we believe in, there was no way we could lose.

It was a process to get things going and start changing the culture. There were new ways of greeting the customer, or should I say, “petting the dog”? There were new roles in the dealership to be filled. As a department we now talk every morning before work, instead of when there was time throughout the day.

We play games every day and laugh instead of complaining about something that wasn’t right. The advisors are now walking around with a smile on their face because they are getting money each day from the competitions we have.

This positive reinforcement from this gave us something to look forward to; it was all starting to work.

We increased our ELR from $133 to $140 in 5 months and were able to increase our Net to Gross % from -3.5 to 30.50!

All while a global pandemic is going on. We always tried to be customer focused and knew the customer came first, we were just going about it the wrong way.  We started to measure our performance and it allowed us to focus on what needed to improve.

Just because you know what you should do, doesn’t mean you know how to do it. Just like being a service manager, I thought I knew what I was supposed to do, but I really didn’t. 

I know now that there is a better way. I know that I can never stop learning and that if I believe in something, I must be all in to make it happen. Perhaps my seven-year-old was right. Chris Collins is like Santa Claus.

If you’ve ever watched the movie “The Polar Express”, you know that those who believe, shall receive. Chris Collins didn’t give me an additional workload; he gave me something I desperately needed and wanted, the road map to success.

We are simply asked to believe and follow the process. Looking back, I can’t imagine our team ever having achieved the results we have today. I would have never come so far without being shown the proper way of doing things.

It’s a real-life process for real people who want to achieve outstanding results. Chris Collins Inc. is a group of professionals who share a common passion to succeed. When you stop believing, you stop achieving and there is no way I’m stopping now. My cup is only half full!

Antonio Raso

Service Manager

Yorkdale Toyota

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