Kevin Eckler is a native New Englander who moved to New York State’s Hudson Valley with his parents back in the mid-1980’s. Kevin began his automotive career at the age of 14, pushing a broom in a mom and pop shop in Rhode Island, he attended a trade school, graduating at the top of his class and went right to work as a tech in a prestigious Porsche/Audi dealership in Cape Cod. Kevin continued his dealership work when he moved to NY and eventually came to work for two brothers who owned Foreign Car Specialists. When the owners retired in 1995, Kevin bought the business and the rest is history. Kevin’s previous episodes HERE.
Key Talking Points:
- Disney takeaways- traveled to Disney recently and learned from the COVID protocols in place
- Your approach is incredibly important- selling benefits and not reinforcing the rules
- Benefit- keeping you safe and enjoy your experience
- Prices have increased but Kevin continues to go because of the experience he has there. Feels cared for and accommodated.
- Forgetting a face mask is handled by someone saying “Hey Friend”- a positive and non-aggressive approach and attitude
- “Is it easier to fix a car than a person?
- There’s good and bad in everyone, there’s potential and incredible opportunities.
- People can be whoever you project into them to be if you’re willing to invest in them
- People will grow when encouraged and recognized
- Ryan’s story
- Kevin hired a young man named Ryan- he had learning disabilities but was passionate about cars. Worked hard and graduated from the automotive Boces program. He always stopped to look at the shop on his walks but never had the self-confidence to come in until his mom brought him one day. Kevin saw his potential and eagerness to learn.
- Ryan’s father was no longer in his life after parent’s divorce- Kevin became a father figure to him. Kevin saw he needed someone to believe in him and invest in him. Was emotionally rewarding for Kevin
- Bought Ryan $10,000 toolbox with the agreement after set term it would be his
- People in times of need or times of insecurity tend to not make the best decisions- Ryan had an unstable relationship with his girlfriend that would spill over into his attitude and performance at work.
- Kevin became torn with being boss and holding Ryan accountable and also being his friend and father figure that wants to help him- lead to serious issues within the culture of business with other employees
- Kevin continued to protect Ryan and sacrificing the rest of the shop
- Had fear about firing him due to Ryan’s past
- Ryan began compensating his values- passion and desire for his job was no longer there
- Holding someone accountable, creating boundaries and borders brings employees a sense of safety and security
- Kevin finally made the decision to let him go and both felt a sigh of relief
- Collateral damage along the way- lost 2 really good employees that were very upset Ryan was held at a different standard than them.
- You can’t fix someone’s personal issues outside of work
- Thanks to Kevin Eckler for his contribution to the aftermarket’s premier podcast.
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