Posted on 11 March 2009.
My mechanic just saved me about $4,000 or more. No, he’s not my friend nor a relative. He’s my mechanic, and he’s been up to his elbows in my autos for about 10 years — which is exactly why he saved me the money.
You see, I know nothing about how cars operate and I’m not afraid to admit it. Heck, I was forced out of my small engines class in high school due to the 2nd and 3rd degree burns I got on my hand from grabbing a hot muffler (who knew that mufflers could get so hot?). I was also removed from woodworking class for similar reasons, but that’s a different post.
The point is, I’m helpless with cars.
But my own lack of knowledge, skill, expertise, and even common sense mean little when you know someone who can fill that void. The truth is I don’t have to know cars — I just have to know someone who knows cars. And I have to trust the person and get them to trust me because only then will we both benefit financially and mentally. We need loyalty, and lots of it.
Over the years my mechanic has called me with repair estimates that I admit seemed excessive. But my car was in the shop and needed only a few hours for the repairs to be finished, so I would nervously give my approval, hang up and hope the mechanic on the other end wasn’t laughing to his buddies about how foolish I was to believe him. Fortunately as time progressed, I realized the internet could validate my mechanic’s claims — and prices. And wouldn’t you know it, the guy was legit. Expensive maybe, but certainly legit.
Over time, he’s become my car guy. He’s right up there with my coffee guy, my home repair guy, my restaurant guy, my money guy, my decorating guy and my legal guy.
These “guys” have earned my trust, so they get my business — without scrutiny. Sure, they could take advantage of me, but it’s not that likely. I know how they work. I know many of their other customers. And I know they care. These guys are not looking to risk a good relationship just to make a few extra bucks in the short term. So it’s not worth my time or even worth the worry for me to even begin to doubt them. And that adds years to my life.
Now here’s the good part.
In showing my faith in them, and my loyalty, they have all returned the favor over ten-fold without my even asking — and not just for my benefit, but also to the benefit of my clients and staff. While they certainly aren’t the cheapest “guys” out there in their respective fields, the money I spend on them and the faith I have in them has certainly either saved me or made me more money than what I’ve spent on them. Really.
When you look at the big picture, one “guy” saved me $400 in concert tickets by introducing me to one of his “guys”. Another saved me over $1,000 by knowing someone who had a refurbished fuse panel instead of selling me a new one (as he explained, the fuses and wiring are new but the metal is old — and who cares if the metal is dinged up a bit if you save a bunch of money?). My accountant guy stopped me from buying a certain car and told me to buy a different, far more luxurious car because it would actually cost less due to the new 9/11 tax laws. I calculated it out and my guy’s advice saved me about $40.000 — plus I’m driving the car of my dreams. And my mechanic guy? He not only gave me advice on what type of used car to buy for my daughter (possibly saving me thousands), but he also offered to find me one that he services so I can be sure it is problem-free (again, saving me thousands) AND he also agreed to mediate the sale so that both sides would be comfortable — because that’s what this guy does for those who consider him their guy.
So now as the business world gets more desperate and people make more pitches than ever for your business, remember to trust those who’ve earned your trust. They might not tell you what you want to hear, but their role is to be honest and look out for you just like they have for years. And they may not be the cheapest source for you right now, but they do provide the best long term ROI. They’ve already proven themselves.
Last, knowing and using someone who is loyal to you is pretty stress-free for you — at a time when we call all use a little less stress in our lives.