My Very Own Pit Crew

You don’t trust your health to just anyone, do you?

Sure, you might google for info on the latest aches and pains you have. You might visit WebMD to see what type of medication might be suggested for the latest head cold and you might even ask your grandmother for an old fashioned remedy for a sour stomach.

When it comes to making sure your savings are in the best place to maximize growth and provide for your future, you’re probably going to talk to a qualified accountant or financial advisor, right?

You’re probably not going for the “stick your cash in a can and bury it in the yard” system, are you?

No way, right?

When it comes to our health and our personal finances and retirement, we are going to seek out the best person, people or team to help us make good decisions so once the “work” is done, we feel comfortable moving forward and never question if we made the right decision.

We sleep well knowing we are in good hands.

Who Do You Trust Under Your Hood? 

Is it important to you that the machine that drives you and your family to and from work, to school, back and forth to church or on your weekend getaways and family vacations is looked at and worked on by a professional? When it comes to the intricate systems and equipment of your personal vehicle, would you ever just leave it up to your beer drinking buddies at the neighborhood pub or your next door neighbor?

Once again, no way!

Unless you have a pit crew like I do.

Maybe you have a mechanic or local automobile service center, garage or dealership where you take your car for repairs and service that you trust. If you do, consider yourself lucky.

Automobile repairs are rarely cheap and they are also rarely easy which makes the “do it yourself” option that today’s culture seems to embrace much, much harder. Sure, any of us can watch a quick video on YouTube or listen to those wacky guys on their auto repair podcast. We can always walk into our local NAPA or AutoZone and buy some parts that match what our owner’s manual suggests. We could even knock on the door of that guy in our neighborhood that has more tools than a trade show at an Ace Hardware convention.

That doesn’t mean we can fix our own cars any more than a homeowner can sell his home himself because he bought a For Sale By Owner sign, an El Marko marker (to write “Will CO-OP”) and believes what Zillow tells him his home is worth.

These Guys Are “My Mechanics

Donn ParsonsMeet Donn Parsons and the team at Star Northwest Auto Care in Northwest Columbus. I’m proud to consider these guys “my mechanics,” but they are more than that. To put it a much fancier way, they are my “Vehicular Consultants” and I trust them when it comes to service and repair on my cars.

Donn took over the garage from his long time partner Tom Larson and has been there for as long as I remember. The shop is just a few blocks from the house I grew up in and hasn’t changed much since I was a kid. Of course the old pop machine that had cans of Coke for a quarter is no longer there and the office/lobby now has a flat screen TV that is constantly on ESPN SportsCenter but other than that, it’s the same ol’ garage.

There’s a new crew from back in the old days. These days you’re either greeted by Donn or Nathan, David or James and perhaps a few other guys who always have greasy hands and friendly smiles.

They’re quick to answer the phone, greet you in the lobby or stop what their doing to come outside and check out your car and the issues you have…or sometimes “think” you have.

That’s one of the things I like about these guys and probably makes me trust them even more. Everything isn’t always “an emergency” and sometimes there is no work that needs to be done. They can ease your concerns by explaining knocks and pings in layman’s terms. They’ll jump in the car with you as you drive around the block to have them listen to that funny noise. They don’t mind calling you back with estimates before starting the work or calling in advance to insure the parts or tires they need are in.

In others words, much like a professional NASCAR pit crew, they are ready to tackle problems when they occur in such an effective and efficient way that once you’re “back on the track,” you can put the pedal to the metal and get back in the chase.

FoursquareA few other things help confirm my beliefs that these guys are good. The place is always busy and they are totally referable. I’ve been there enough lately to have become the “Mayor” on Foursquare (a geo-tracking social network) and just look at what some of the Star Northwest Auto Care customers say about them in their “tips.”

I know there are plenty of excellent mechanics and service centers all over the United States and around the world. This post isn’t an effort to diminish any of the awesome providers of advice, service and comfort to the drivers and car owners out there.

I really just wanted to accomplish a few things by sharing my appreciation and satisfaction with Donn and the team at Star Northwest Auto Care. It doesn’t matter what you wear to work that determines whether you’re good at your job. It’s all about your attitude and passion for products you sell, services you provide and community and customers you serve. It’s also about the 3 C‘s of trust; The competence to do your job (a function of ability), the confidence you have in your skills (a function of attitude) and the consistency Star Northwestwith which you do it (a function of action).

As Realtors, you are someone who helps people every day with extremely important, sometimes life-changing decisions and is often the most expensive event in their lifetime. Do you feel you are providing the kind of service to and earning the loyalty and trust from the customers and clients you serve the way the pit crew at Star Northwest Auto Care does for me and their loyal customers?

What can you do today that might inspire someone to write a blog post, record a video testimonial, leave a review on Yelp or Foursquare or Zillow or Trulia or just go out of their way to refer you to a friend or family member?

Once you figure it out, just keep doing it every day. Do it over and over and over again.

And when things get rough and that “check engine” light comes on, you can always stop by and visit my buddies at the garage.

I promise they’ll take great care of you.



3 Responses to My Very Own Pit Crew
  1. Matthew Ferrara
    August 28, 2013 | 4:07 am

    Great post, Sean! You point out two of my favorite points:

    All work is noble; and you can deliver it in an inspiring way that excites and delights customers, in any career!

    The power of the testimonial continues to deliver better results (leads, referrals, closings, or even just new friends) than any other marketing *still* today.

    I wish more businesspeople would realize just how much it is IN THEIR CONTROL to create amazing experiences that turn into amazing referrals – that bring in new business magnetically. No ad dollars required.

    Thanks for this post! I shared it with my peeps – as my little testimonial to your great work, too!

    – Matthew

  2. Sean
    August 28, 2013 | 11:25 am

    Matthew – Thanks for your comments. Obviously I totally agree. The neat thing is people LOVE to give referrals. They love to be the source that tipped someone into a great experience while at the same time, we want to be very careful that our referrals pan out for the person. After all, it’s our trust and reputation that is on the line as much as the service providers.

    See ya in New York in October

  3. Jason Pantana
    August 28, 2013 | 1:09 pm


    Thanks for this insightful observation about continually providing authentic and superior service! With any service-based profession, practitioners run the risk of putting it on “auto-pilot” and becoming desensitized to the weight of their work. As a REALTOR®, it’s crucial to maintain perspective, so thanks so much for the encouraging words!