It seems like yesterday, more like nine years ago, I was heading into my freshman year of college as a pre-optometry major. Although, I’ll never forget the call I made to my mom when I decided that I was going to sell cars after graduation. I explained this journey was going to be a learning experience for me to make my way to the corporate automotive world. And, so begun a series of events that have defined my first five years in the car business.
Jump back to five days after I graduated from Ferris State University in 2015 and I was walking through the doors of an automotive dealership group in beautiful Northern Michigan. After three more weeks of step-by-step training courses on everything that needed to happen to sell a car, I was placed in our in a dealership store to complete some hands-on training with real customers. I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, but the processes at the dealership enabled me to learn more much faster than I could have anywhere else in the retail automotive industry.
Since I decided I was going into the auto industry I have known three things. First, before I hang up the deal sleds, I want to shoot for the moon and end up in a c-suite. Second, I want to have a positive impact on every part of the industry I touch. And third, everything I do must make sense as a step to keep driving my career forward. The decision to leave a great organization is never an easy one, but when I interviewed with Shift Digital and learned more about the services we provide it was crystal clear that it was going to be a great place to gain experience and expand my expertise to a different and very crucial part of the business. I’ve been a motor-head for as long as I can remember, and an owner since college, so being offered a role as a Digital Marketing Consultant was the icing on the cake to help me make my decision.
As I transitioned into my new role at Shift HQ, I thoroughly enjoyed being the go-to guy for all my assigned dealerships when it came to anything digital. Someone needed a promo banner? done. A GM is asking about which digital advertising vendor I would recommend? Bingo, provider recommended. I get to build a page about a new vehicle l that I’ve already drooled over in car magazines? I’m on it. While it was very different from my sales experience, I enjoyed my time in this role because I felt like I was not only helping dealerships optimize their web presence; I was also helping give the thousands of people who visited those website a slightly better experience.
I am confident that this mindset, combined with my underlying career goals and the willingness to ask for an opportunity is what enabled me to move quickly into a management role within the Digital Consultant Team.
Moving into management did a few key things for both myself and my career. First, it gave me a crash course on motivation. Second, management gave me a respect for tough conversations. And lastly, my management role provided me with the professional visibility and networking to make the jump back into trenches and start going back into dealerships on a daily basis. I was able to interact with our account leadership, take on additional responsibilities, meet OEM clients and prove that my individual skills and experiences could be applied to a role that is traditionally filled with outside hires.
By asking for a chance and making my desires known to the people who could make the transition happen, I was going into uncommon territory for an HQ Consultant at Shift Digital by making the transition to the Field Team. This opportunity led me to pack up my things and move to Ohio for my current role as a Regional Digital Consultant.
Shift Digital does a great job of developing employees, and I would encourage everyone to first challenge themselves in defining goals, prove yourself with great performance and work ethic, and be willing to let your supervisors know that you are ready to take on new challenges.
Alright warehouse, catch you on the flippety flip!