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Passion Powers Performance: Does Your Team Have It?

Former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, said, “People with passion can change the world.” A bold statement for sure, but perhaps you’re not looking to change the world. Perhaps you’re just looking to create a more successful automotive repair business. Then, does passion really matter? In short, yes – and quite a bit at that.

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An avid auto enthusiast with a fondness for American muscle cars, Steve literally grew up in and around his family's auto service business in Massachusetts. Today, he is the CEO and Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC. Steve has over 25 years of successful sales, sales management and sales training experience. He was featured in Tire Review's January 2010 cover story, "Deliver World-Beating Customer Service" and has been a featured speaker for numerous tire and automotive industry events across North America. As producer and host of Pinnacle Performance Training, “The Best Reviewed Sales/Customer Service Training Program in the Tire/Auto Service Industry,” Steve has received national acclaim for teaching independent tire and auto service businesses how to improve customer relations, produce greater sales results and build a "winning team" corporate culture. To learn more about the program, visit www.pinnacleperformancetraining.biz. Ferrante can be reached directly at 603-681-0787 or via e-mail at [email protected]

Former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, said, “People with passion can change the world.” A bold statement for sure, but perhaps you’re not looking to change the world. Perhaps you’re just looking to create a more successful automotive repair business. Then, does passion really matter? In short, yes — and quite a bit at that.

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What is passion? According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, passion is “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.”

Do your team members have a passion for their work? More importantly, do you?

Consultants who study high-performance organizations and high achievers (conspicuously raising my hand) will tell you that passion and success go hand-in-hand.

It’s no great secret that many folks have little-to-no passion for their work. They consider their work little more than a paycheck and their No. 1 goal is getting through the week to cash out and receive it.

Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi said, “If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you’ll be fired with enthusiasm.” As the quote suggests, Lombardi was quite serious about passion and enthusiasm with his players. He knew that passionate, enthusiastic players would possess the magnetism to drive each other to give it their best to succeed.

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This same contagious “magnetic effect” is also true in the workplace and, when properly managed, can power your business to new levels of success.

Sadly, the average business typically has many more unmotivated, unenthusiastic employees. Often, poor management is the root cause of the problem with uninspired managers demotivating team members with their disengaging behaviors and lack of on-the-job enthusiasm. However, a poor or weak manager should be no excuse for each employee’s personal responsibility in delivering excellence (PRIDE) on the job.

Put Some Zip In Your Do Da!

“Put Some Zip In Your Do Da!” is one of my favorite Pinnacle Performance maxims and for good reason…it is the fuel of high performance!

We all have that daily “Do Da” we do, but all too often there’s little zip in it.

The fact is that positive attracts positive in all we do. A positive, upbeat attitude typically influences a similar positive response in your customers, co-workers and everyone else with whom you interact. Conversely, a negative or poor attitude repels, typically influencing a similar negative response from others.

High achievers in sales or customer service demonstrate zip with their upbeat, friendly tonality, never sounding bored or tired. This is especially important on phone interactions, where only 30% of communication is what you say (content) and 70% is how you say it (tonality). Simply put, to engage callers (and turn more into customers) you must be engaging. Having evaluated many thousands of sales interactions between employees and actual customers, I can testify that most shop employees are not engaging.

Your outward appearance also says a lot about your “Do Da.” High-level politicians, up to the President of the United States, are coached on body language and how to present themselves to the public because we the people expect leaders to look a certain way.

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Leaders (who people want to follow) and successful folks, in general, are not those who look like they’re carrying a heavy burden and dragging themselves along day after day. We’ve all seen those sleep-walking Sally’s at work. To quote Aerosmith, their “get up and go must have got up and went,” as a sweet emotion interacting with these folks it certainly is not.

For your selling/customer service/life purposes, recognize that people naturally gravitate toward people who are successful and, conversely, avoid failure at all costs. High-achievers project zip with an energetic pep in their step, good posture and a can-do demeanor that delivers a message of confidence and success.

Choose Your Attitude

The famous Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle presents an excellent case study of how passionate employees with positive attitudes can positively impact a business’s performance. There are many fish markets in their area, but Pike Place consistently outsells its competitors by approximately a 20-to-1 margin, mainly because of the positive attitudes of the employees and the passion they bring to selling fish. Pike Place is world renown for the attitude and behaviors of their employees who, on any given business day, will shout out the variety of fish being sold and toss purchases from employee to employee.

Pike Place employees are trained to conduct their day-to-day business under a simple yet powerful principle; “Choose Your Attitude.” Putting this into practice, each employee assumes responsibility for their attitude, recognizing that a positive attitude is contagious and will normally influence a positive response from customers and co-workers. Simply put, a positive work environment is good for business.

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Think about it, Pike Place sells fish. Fish markets can be a pretty stinky place (literally). Working there can be a very long day and end with employees smelling a lot like Halibut, even after a shower. But Pike Place fish team members Choose Their Attitude and realize that, although they may not be able to change their work, they can change the attitude they bring to their work — and that’s their magic ingredient.

Test Your Passion And Job Engagement

It’s not hard to assess your passion and/or that of your co-workers on the job. Refer back to that opening definition: “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.” Is that how you feel about your work?

Passion is all about engagement. Those with true passion are “fired up” for and at their job. They are positive, look forward to their work, have high energy and their time there seems to fly by.

Those with little-to-no passion are negative, dread Monday mornings, bring no energy to their work, and their on-the-job time seems to crawl by as they count the minutes until they can run away from it.

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Obviously, one of these folks is far more productive than the other.

As I wrote about in another Winning Customer Service article, successful employees must have a passion for customer service, a passion to serve, a passion to help others, and, above all, a passion to succeed.

You may be thinking, “My work is not special. I’m only a technician, a counter service adviser, another worker bee. What do I have to be passionate about?”

How About Being the Best at What You Do?

You should have a passion for your profession and to be the very best you can be in your role, providing the best in customer service and exceeding expectations.

If you don’t have a passion for being the best at what you do, where you are currently doing it, then you’re probably in the wrong job and positioned for failure or, at best, mediocrity. In other words, if you can’t do your job with passion, then you probably shouldn’t do it all.

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Face the fact that you’ll never achieve the level of success you are capable of achieving without true passion (you are costing yourself and your business), and move on.

For when you follow your passion, success will follow you.

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