In the last two months, I’ve been privileged to spend quality time with those of you who make this industry tick. Whether it has been talking about industry best practices with our Top Shop Winners and Finalists in Nashville or mingling amid the backdrop of the Colorado Rockies with dealers, distributors and Falken Tire leadership at Falken’s Dealer Meeting, I’ve learned a few things.
First, our industry is resilient. We are adaptable and we are evolving. In my conversation with Burt Brothers Tire & Service at our Top Shop Event in Nashville, Jason Burt, one of the five partners of the Salt Lake City-based business, said, “If one thing doesn’t change every day, it’s two.” Sure, he laughed when he said it, but that’s because it’s true. Over the last year and a half, the world has changed. We went from face-to-face interactions to Zoom meetings, we social distanced, and, for a while, we went from handshakes to elbow bumps. The point is, independent tire dealers and their businesses have evolved with the times, and adaptability makes you unstoppable.
Second, despite the circumstances, we are better together. Interfacing with industry peers is the way we learn, grow and connect. Seeing those I hadn’t seen in a year and a half at Falken’s Dealer Meeting in beautiful Aspen, Colo., was a testament to this. Our industry is about relationships and engaging in face-to-face conversation makes you realize how important and precious our time together is. Yes, we must continue to take precautions for our health and safety, but being together allows us to catch a glimpse of what’s going on in another person’s business life, and more importantly, lets us understand the way a person is feeling through their body language. After all, studies have shown that up to 55% of communication is non-verbal, according to the book “The Definitive Book of Body Language” by Allan and Barbara Peace. That type of personal connection exists to unite us and make us stronger in business and life.
Lastly, there’s no other way to say this: there is no going back. We must march forward. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world and the way we interact, and that’s OK. Sure, some things like handshakes and face-to-face interactions are coming back as the world opens back up, but the skills we learned as a society and as an industry are here to stay. In our increasingly digital world, they’ll help us evolve into whatever the industry has coming down the line. They’ll help you and your business remain relevant with your customers.
Now, as the industry ramps up in-person meetings, ride-and-drives and events, we get to have the best of both worlds. The skills we learned from being distanced because of the pandemic will stay with us, but think of it this way: As the world opens up, what opportunities will it offer you?
As the recently named editor of this longstanding brand, I want you to know that Tire Review is here to help you in your business. From providing you with industry insights from today’s top experts to delving into data and giving you the latest updates from manufacturers, we have you covered. We’re working together with you to find out what this “new normal” will look like for the industry and what the future is going to look like from all aspects of your business. We are here to help. If you have a question, comment or want to talk, drop us a line, and be sure to visit TireReview.com. Change can be scary, but as an industry, we’re all in this together and forging a new path forward.