‘Where’s it gone?!’

Before I worked in Sales, I was in education and on-the-job training in the Motor Industry.

Part of this involved me working a couple of days per week in a local car dealership as a mechanic’s apprentice (they were still called that in the late 90’s).

One day, the Technician I was working with reversed the roles and he went to get the next car in and left me to ensure the car was positioned correctly on the ramp, get it off the ground and remove the back wheels (all before he’d returned from the stores with a new set of rear brake shoes, so being quick was of the essence).

Rubber blocks under the jacking points, two-post ramp lifting the car off the ground, nut-gun in hand and first back wheel off. Bend down, put the first wheel removed on the ground. Stand back up; ‘where’s it gone?’. As in, the car. It had vanished.

I glanced to my left to realise the horror of the situation as I’d lifted the car off the ground and it was too far forward on its jacking points for the engine weight not to start ‘see-sawing’ the car precariously towards the ground. The weight of just one back wheel had been enough to hold the back of the car down, and now it wasn’t there.  I had to jump to grab the rear brake drum on the car to try and bring it back down before it fell down, but it was proving too heavy and I was now at full stretch and being pulled from the ground myself.

What’s this got to do with Sales?

For one, I should have checked properly that the car was correctly positioned on the ramp before lifting it off the ground. But I was inexperienced, using equipment I was less familiar with and rushing. It was only at the point that a car was trying to make its way back to earth with a crash I thought to shout for help. In a busy workshop nobody had seen the 1 ton car* slowly falling to its written-off death and a skinny 17-year-old-me trying to hang on to it. The second I asked for help, 3 people came running and the crisis was narrowly averted.

In Sales, we predominantly work on our own despite being in a team. Especially when we’re out of the office and our workload is increasing our need to work quickly. You should always take stock of the situation before acting and always ask for help before it’s too late. The risk is that customers don’t get served and sales don’t get made is the most likely outcome if you don’t.

Do you need help? Add Sales can help.

*If you’re wondering, the car was an early 90’s Fiat Tipo.