Sales and Marketing Lessons from a Slipping Shift Gear Ride in a Car Classic

chevy sales lessonsBeing in the car hobby can be pleasant and not so pleasant. Likely I have more pleasant experiences than not to report on although this recent unpleasant one reminded me of some general sales and marketing lessons.

Earlier this year my husband won an auction bid for a 1970 Chevy Nova, 396. It’s a muscle car, which has meaning for us that if I tell you what, it’s highly likely you would try to guess my age, and then not pay attention to the lessons shared here.

Suffice it to say, the meaning is romantic. Don’t let your mind go to the gutter with that hint!

One thing we’ve learned about older classic cars is that they must be driven. Finally on getting the Chevy inspected locally and writing a check for the repairs we started driving it weekly.

Up until this trip out one evening to a favorite local Mediterranean fare restaurant, I felt the gear slip from drive to a lower gear.

My husband looked over at me and winced.

“I did not do that!” I exclaimed.

“How did it happen? he questioned.

“All I know is that the gear slipped to a lower gear. Isn’t that the sound we’re hearing now?”

“Yes, I think so,” he stated questioningly as he moved the shifter back into drive.

“Haaa, that’s better,” I sighed. “It sounds and feels normal again.”

But the darn car did it at least a half dozen more times by when we arrived at the restaurant. And another half dozen more on the way home.

Needless to say when you are in the car hobby, you have to take these problems in stride, enjoy your dinner and know you’ll be sinking more checks into the problem.

In this particular case, we learned that the shifter was split on both the front and backside. Chevy Shifter lessons

Cha ching. That’s the sound of money going into the car.

Likely Lessons learned. 

Pay attention to your business when your prospects coming in take a shift down. If you don’t have an action plan for revving things back up again, you’ll soon find it more difficult to get back into the flow of attracting more business.

– Just like a driver feeling their car’s rhythm in shifting gears, take time to slow down. Notice how you are feeling about your business actions. Are you going so fast you do not notice what feels good for you and gets you the best results? Or what feels icky for you and gets you more frustration than value?

One problem can lead to another like a jerky transmission can often lead to loosing transmission fluid. Check to find out where your leak is for new or repeat business. Since it’s generally accepted that we can increase business by just 3 ways – new clients, more repeat business, increased prices – assess the problem why your business might be up and down. Take contemplative action to fix things.

– Often times with auto gear shifting problems you night actually smell something after driving. Incorporate all your senses into assessing your business success. Analyze intellectually, mediate or journal or take some kind of soul replenishing action to discover the root of your problem. One gear may not work.

Do you have any lessons from a car? Or some other inanimate object? Tell me what they are, I really like to learn.




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  1. Geek Girl

    Leave it to you to find the lesson from the car. I think it’s great! No wonder you are so good at what you do. 🙂
    Geek Girl recently posted…Motivational Monday Quote: 5/6My Profile

  2. Jeannette Paladino

    Pat — the toughest thing to do is keep marketing when business is going well. It’s just so easy to shift to a lower gear or even idle, to use your car metaphor. Then one day, the business slows down and you’ve got to shift into high gear. Trouble is it takes a long time for the car to start speeding up again. You hadn’t filed the tank (read new business pipeline). Thanks for the reminder to keep pumping iron.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…In Designing a Website for Mobile Viewing Where is “Above the Fold?”My Profile

  3. Cheryl, I find lessons in almost everything in life! Thanks.

  4. I LOVE the gas tank and business pipeline metaphor. Thanks for that extra wisdom!

  5. Thanks Susan. Most likely any solution you apply for a slip will be less expensive than trying nothing.

  6. I love this lesson. But you already know how much I like stories. I cringed when I heard you talk about the slipping. I can relate to this. As a businesses person one always needs to be paying attention when things “slip”. It helps one find a solution. Let’s hope it’s an expensive one…LOL..
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Scharffenberger Cellars Brut Excellence: WineMy Profile

  7. Oooo. No fender bender stories! I have only 2 of them – thank goodness. Thanks Jeri.

  8. One lesson I’ve learned from cars is don’t be fooled by beauty, because muscle cars are my favorite. Though the irony is that my Mustang is the only car I ever owned where I didn’t get into some kind of fender-bender. I guess it’s because my mom drove a Nova much like the one you have pictured here.
    Jeri recently posted…On My Mind: Yellowstone National Park and a Wedding AnniversaryMy Profile

  9. I absolutely loved this article. I have a Nova, and I work in sales. I loved the tie ins. I think that a lot of newer sales reps have a tendency to never do anything but stay revved up. I genuinely mean it when I say that I LOL’d with the analogies. I am in the process of switching it to a more modern engine that you’d find in a newer Corvette, so that I can take my son further without worrying about the engine failing (it was done). Drive that Nova!
    Jason Plumb recently posted…Low Transmission Fluid SignsMy Profile

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