TireNews September 2018
The September issue of TireNews is now available online. You can flip through it here, but first, a few words from the Editor in chief of TireNews, Jack Kazmierski.
Do you know enough about tires to educate Mario Andretti?
I recently had the privilege of interviewing racing legend Mario Andretti (more on that in the November issue). Besides talking about his decades-long racing career, Andretti also shared his views about the tire industry with the audience, offering a bit of advice about retailing tires.
To put the conversation in context, you have to remember that Andretti raced and won for decades. He has a passion for speed and performance, and he understands the critical role tires play in the racing world, and on public streets. He’s not amateur. He knows his stuff.
So when I asked him whether he knows enough about tires to walk into a store and tell the person behind the counter exactly what he wants, Andretti, to everyone’s surprise, explained that he expects the man or woman behind the counter to know more than he does about tires. In fact, he expects that person to be an expert, and to guide his purchase decision.
Personally, I thought that was an interesting insight. A racing legend, who has been around tires the majority of his life, still wants the tire retailer to be informed and educated enough to tell him which tires would be best for his needs.
Be the expert
That leads us to a very interesting question: Do you know enough about tires to educate someone like Mario Andretti? Granted, the chances of Andretti walking into your store to buy tires are slim to none but, hypothetically, would you know enough in order to ask him the right questions and suggest the right tires?
And although Mario Andretti will likely never shop at your store, chances are you’re regularly dealing with consumers who know quite a bit about tires (or think they do). Are you able to educate and inform them, or is your knowledge about the latest tire technologies just good enough to allow you to keep your job?
Andretti has been quoted as saying that he “can’t stand a mediocre effort, only because it was more convenient to be mediocre.” Unfortunately, some people live their lives that way. They’re never eager to go the extra mile, to learn more than is required, or to exceed expectations.
That’s not the attitude that kept Andretti on the podium for decades. It’s not the attitude that governs the actions of top employees. And it’s not what’s going to keep you or me at the top of our game.
In our increasingly competitive world, mediocrity is no longer an option. If we want to succeed, and continue to succeed, we’re going to need to shun mediocrity and strive for excellence, much like Andretti does.