Seyfer: Fear Has No Place in the Aftermarket

Dec. 6, 2021

Of all the pressing technological developments facing the automotive aftermarket he could have started his keynote presentation at the ADAPT: Automotive Technology Summit, National Auto Service Task Force Executive Director Donny Seyfer instead chose to lead off with something a little more unexpected: social issues and a quote from Yoda. 

Over the last two years, Seyfer says the world has seen a tremendous amount of events and other events that can make people afraid and put them on the defensive. 

“Life was thrown upside-down with the pandemic. It was for all of us,” Seyfer said. “Sometimes it feels like we’re living in a novel in which the creators of the world are benched while other people are running it.” 

Because of that, he says, it’s all too easy to succumb to the body’s natural instinct to become fearful and defensive.

That’s where the Yoda quote comes into play.

“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering” the Jedi says in The Phantom Menace.

Interacting with customers, running a business and living life from a place of fear creates a hostile mindset and prevents people from operating a shop effectively. 

“Fear isn’t rational,” Seyfer said. “Fear can prevent us from thinking things through. If we actually look at the numbers for what they are, we can get through it.” 

There are a large number of new trends facing every sector of the automotive aftermarket; electric vehicles, autonomous technologies, advanced RADAR and LiDAR, Right to Repair and other issues pose a substantial challenge to shops as they learn to navigate one of the most rapidly changing times the sector has seen. 

At the end of the day though, Seyfer said, shops should be actively excited, not afraid. 

“The world needs us right now more than ever,” he said. “Despite what some people might tell you, cars are still going to need to get fixed. Electric vehicles are still going to need maintenance. People are still going to get into crashes.” 

Instead of succumbing to group speak, or the practice of assuming every person in certain groups—such as OEMs—are all the same, he said, taking time to actually have conversations with people and calmly, rationally thinking through problems always proves to be a more effective solution. 

There are plenty of opportunities to grow as business owners, shop managers, leaders and people, Seyfer said. You just can’t be afraid to take them. 

“There’s an opportunity to be a leader,” he said. “There’s no room for fear and loathing.”

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