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The Mechanic’s Mentor: Time to claim the spotlight

By autotech-nath on February 2, 2023

The third article in an exclusive series where we look at how A&J Fleetcare are progressing on their mentoring journey with international bestselling small business author Dee Blick.

A supply of good customers that genuinely value your experience and expertise has to be the Holy Grail of most mechanics. But if you really want customers and those prospects waiting in the wings to fill your pipeline it pays to share your expertise. It’s the surest way of moving from being a person who seeks work to being a person who is sought after. When people can see just how knowledgeable, experienced, and qualified you are they’ll regard you as a safe pair of hands; a business they can trust to deliver every time. And they’ll recommend you to their family and friends.

The fact is that within you is an expert. But I doubt you currently recognise this fact.

It may be struggling to get out because you’re too busy or you take your expertise for granted and don’t make such a big deal of it. But as an expert; a genuine person of influence you can cut through the clutter and stand out.

But are you hiding your light?

And so began my fourth mentoring session with Jeanette and Alan Landale of A & J Fleetcare, a business I have been mentoring since I met them at a one-day DPF Doctor event at Darren Darling’s HQ several months ago.

I was keen to find out just how much they valued and indeed recognised their expertise, experience, and qualifications. Were they talking about each strand to customers when relevant? Were staff aware that the business really was an exemplar in a competitive local market? The answer was as I suspected; in some areas they were happy to bang the drum but in others less so. I am yet to meet a business owner brimming with absolute certainty of all their assets. More often than not, I have to shine the torch for them to emerge from the shadows!

So, what had prompted this session with Alan and Jeanette?

I wanted them both to be on the stage at the JLM Lubricants distributor conference at the Sheraton Hotel, Amsterdam a few weeks ago. Darren Darling was facilitating a session with DPF Doctors including Barry Lawson of Ewan Lawson Motors and Keith Shanahan of Shanahan Auto Services. The Doctors would answer several questions from Darren, ranging from how they conveyed their DPF Doctor status to customers and prospects and, which JLM products they used in the workshop.

When I asked Jeanette, her first response was to decline. What could she bring to the table that would be worthwhile? Why was I asking her? Likewise, Alan. After I had rattled off all the compelling reasons why they should say yes, the penny had dropped. I also explained that this was not just an exercise in sharing their experience, it was a confidence-building task. Because confidence is that magical thing which enables you to take risks in the certainty that you will succeed. It’s a big deal to step on to a stage and feel confident enough to be defined as a thought leader, as a respected business owner. But that deal had to be done!

I spent some time explaining to Alan and Jeanette that not only did they know more than enough to claim their seats on the stage, but it was also high time they stepped out of the shadows and into the spotlight (literally) I asked what more would they need in their personal toolkit to realise they had valuable insights to impart to the audience? The answer (after my gentle but persistent questioning) was the realisation they had more than enough ‘good stuff ’ to share, such that audience members – JLM distributors from all corners of the globe, were likely to find it useful. I mean how often does a distributor of automotive workshop products get to spend in the company of top tier mechanics generous enough to share relevant insights from which they can learn?

So, armed with a newfound confidence and encouragement that they were a hot ticket, Alan and Jeanette took their place on the stage.

How did it go?

Jeanette was a complete revelation – she spoke with absolute confidence, certainty and conviction which was brilliant given she was the only woman on the stage. Alan, of course, has the benefit of being a topflight mechanic for 20 odd years. He also has a great voice, clear and confident, so that everyone including those at the back could hear him. It was a real success. They both agreed it had given them the boost that they could accomplish even more in their business.

My parting messages to you are these…

Please remove your modesty blinkers and audit your expertise. The idea is to make you realise just how good you are! Jot down at least 7 reasons why you are an expert in your field and memorise them so you can convince yourself and you’re not tempted to shrink into the background when an opportunity arises for you to share your expertise.

Push out of your comfort zone. “I can”“I will”“I am” should be your phrases of choice in 2023. Ditch “I can’t” and “I won’t” from your language when presented with an opportunity to shine.

Seek out opportunities to engage on a bigger platform with the people that need your expertise. Could you speak at an industry event? At a breakout seminar; at a conference as Alan and Jeanette did?

Because if you’re not sharing your greatness, you are guilty as charged of serious underselling. Make 2023 the year in which you truly shine.

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