Success Story

Ken Dickinson

Net/Gross went from -0.7% to 13%
Effective Labor Rate increase of $12

Where do I begin? First off, haven’t written an essay in about 27 years so bear with me.

My dealership started with Chris Collins back on Feb 12, 2020 in Dallas. I went in with an open mind and knew I had so much to learn and was very excited to be part of it. The information provided was valuable, eye opening, and memorable for me.

Hanging up our worksheets on that wall is still something I distinctly remember. I could really go on for a long time just talking about the Boot Camp.

I left Boot Camp with a laundry list of processes, procedures and ideas I got from it. It was really amazing when I look back on it now. I’m sure you have heard this a million times from other Service Managers, I would like to think I do stand out a bit from the many you deal with on a daily basis.

The flight home and the following day were nothing but ideas swirling in my head about what I learned and how I would be able to implement in my Service Drive.

Yeah, I was excited like a kid on Christmas, not a bad thing I guess. 

I loved it so much I FAILED….ALOT….and MISERABLY for a lot longer time than I would of liked. At the time, I thought I was doing what I was supposed to do, I was almost positive that I followed every step to the letter.

What was going on? Why wasn’t I successful like I heard at Boot Camp? Why was I failing? Why couldn’t this whole Chris Collins thing work? Why? Why? Why? 

I had numerous meetings with my owner, asking me what I was doing, how I was implementing what I learned, what my goals were, why I was not being successful…..month after month, same thing, I was sucking pond water and was floundering like a fat turtle on its back not being able to right myself (yes Christian and Vicki, nice visual of my face on an obese turtle body).

It came to the point that I knew my owner was losing faith in me, why, because I was losing faith in myself. Could I do this? Was I smart enough? Was I hungry enough? Tough questions to have with an owner of any business, it was tough for me, I had pretty much been successful at any occupation I had up to this point.

My first coach was Steve and he was FANTASTIC so I knew it wasn’t him failing me.

So the vicious cycle of Ken failing miserably kept going, finally, the owner and I had a REAL dialog, he simply asked if I wanted to do this job. He didn’t want an answer right away, he wanted me to think about it.

He was kind and the conversation went well even though the topic of discussion was not good. I went home that night and I spent hours thinking about my goals, I thought he may be right, maybe I’m not the guy, maybe I’m getting older and less motivated, maybe he needs someone younger and hungrier for this job.

By that time I had realized to be successful at this program, it’s not 100%, it’s closer to 1000% commitment, but it was on me. Did I TRULY want this job, if I did, I would have to change MYSELF, more than I ever have in my life.

At 44yrs old, that’s a tall ask, at least for me. I literally stared at my bedroom ceiling for that seemed like forever thoughts racing though my head.

What was I doing? What did I want? Where do want to be moving forward in my life? I never have had this type of conversation at any of my previous jobs. It was a very humbling experience to say the least. 

Then Vicki came into my life (cue the blinding light and angelic music), coaches got moved around and she was my new coach, I knew of her success from Boot Camp. I knew she was the real deal and Christian had been very forth coming in telling me she is a no non-sense gal who commands respect and will tell you stuff I didn’t want to hear.

So of course, I said  ”GREAT! CAN’T WAIT!!”, knowing in the back of my mind that she was going to make me or break me. Scared? Check. Nervous? Check. Ready to throw up? Check. Wait, I’m 45 yrs old, why the hell am I so worried?

I can find a job anywhere, I can go back to my last employer immediately. I can possibly find a new career, I can go to school again. At the end of the day, I stuck with it because I knew I was smart enough, I knew I was capable enough.

I was just stuck being a jackass and I needed to stop it. I was doing the training my way, for the record, it was a terrible way of doing it! Vicki was everything she was sold to me as. Constant follow up, almost daily text messages, emails, calls….I knew very fast why she was so successful.

It was not all hugs and kisses with Vicki, there were times where she was not happy with me and I was not feeling the message she was trying to send me. She did tell me things that were uncomfortable, she has very high expectations of herself and the Managers she coaches.

It was touch and go for a few month if I am being honest. All that said, I love Vicki, I have a ton of respect and admiration for her. I know some were surprised I was sad she was no longer going to be coaching me but I do miss her

This is what I figured out and I may be totally wrong with this but this essay is for me and my experience. The program works as well as I work it. I started trying to do it the way I thought it should be done and I failed, badly.

In order to really be successful with this program, it all starts with ME, specifically my head. I have had to break a lot of old and arguably bad habits and form new ones. It all about being able to juggle a lot of whatever you want to juggle (I don’t judge), the point is to not let any one thing drop. If it does, there will be a ripple effect that will catch up to me. 

My favorite training has to be the morning pops videos, okey doke words, and any and all Customer satisfaction training. I loved the technician tree, The Review was awesome, 17 laws of leadership, Power Words, Learning financials in under an hour was really eye opening too.

Pretty much any bonus content is fantastic and I can take away a lot of things to make me a better manager. All the training has in one way or another gave me a different perspective, insight, and opinions I would of normally never thought of myself.

Another very important thing I have learned is that this training is not just for work, it can be applied to my personal life as well. 

Great segue into another point I wanted to make. 

Vicki and Christian were made aware of a rather life changing event for me this past year. I tried to not let it affect my job and I do felt I did a pretty damn good job trying to focus on work and not what was happening outside of work.

It was not something I knew of beforehand, it kind of happened very suddenly and is still not done as I write this essay. I mention this because both Vicki and Christian took time out of their busy day to call me and talk to me and see how I was doing.

This happened a few times, not sure if they know it but it made a GIANT impression on me as far as their character goes and they truly care for me as a person, not a client. 

Now, while all this is going on, we have Covid happen and it threw my world into a tail spin. I was determined to not close our Dealership, I did anything and everything to avoid it. I sent techs out remotely, called every K service Customer, called every decline, ever recall, offered every resource I had to get the car in here when talking to customers.

Let’s be honest, when you think of Volvo, you think of an older demographic, it’s a pretty accurate assumption. This added even more of a challenge trying to let the older customers know we are taking precautions and will keep them and their loved ones safe and still get the vehicle in for service.

I made it through, kept my staff safe and healthy, implemented new guidelines for sanitization, and never shut the doors once. The really interesting part of this is I actually moved my dealership and added to my staff when everyone was either laying off or closed. When the dust somewhat settled, I actually moved my shop and grew during this pandemic.

While I am not the best Service Manager out there, I would like to think I am coachable, down to earth, have a good moral compass, and I do try every day to be a better person than I was the day before. I try to be a leader every minute I am here.

Sure I have PLENTY to work on an even MORE to improve, but I acknowledge that and try my best to work through it using the training and resources I have been fortunate enough to have access to with the Chris Collins Program.

To summarize, I don’t see Chris Collins Training as a tool to make more money-yup, I said it. I may see it differently from some people. The Chris Collins program is WAY more than that, making money is just icing on the cake, it’s my reward for implementing his training into my daily life, again in and out of work.

This training has given me way more than a means to be more effective at my job, it makes me a better person, father, friend, mentor, co-worker, and Manager.

The training has given me so many tools I can use to better my life and the lives of others. That to me is really what this program is about. Changing myself to be a better person, challenging myself and holding myself accountable. I’m the manager, the captain, the leader. I lead the charge, I’m the first one on the battlefield and I am the last to leave. I set the tempo, I set the mood, I set myself and my staff up for failure or success.

IT STARTS WITH ME!!

Thank you all and have a wonderful night, please tip your waitress, I’ll be seeing you all in a week and a half!

Respectfully,

Ken “Fireside Chat” Dickinson

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