Some of the best decisions of our lives can start out as uncertain risks.
They can force us out of our comfort zones. They can cause us to look backwards, wondering if we should go where it was easier. They can be hard. They can be scary.
But we make the decision anyway… and with patience and perseverance, it pays off. Personally. Professionally. Financially. Emotionally.
Tyler Lister would know. He’s lived it.
As the Business Manager at Garber Chevrolet Buick in Chesaning, Michigan, he has found a rhythm and pace to his career that is both fulfilling and challenging.
It wasn’t easy at first. But it was worth it.
Tyler didn’t see himself working at a dealership. At all.
“I actually had zero interest in being in the automotive industry,” Tyler laughed. “I was graduating from Saginaw Valley State University with a Communications degree. I immediately got a job with a good company, but it didn’t have any growth.”
Tyler knew Scott Dondineau, New Car Sales Manager at Garber Chevrolet Midland. The two went to lunch.
“Scott knew my contentment level was low,” Tyler said. “He said, ‘Would you be interested in car sales?’ Then he used that four-letter g-word – ‘You can GROW here’ — and that was appealing to me.”
With prayer and discussion with his wife, Tyler decided to leave his steady job and join the Garber Chevrolet Midland team in December 2017.
He was jumping ship – and hopping aboard a thrilling roller coaster.
Riding the Roller Coaster
Tyler doesn’t sugarcoat it: The first year in his new role had ups and downs.
“I started at the Midland dealership in New Car Sales, and the first six months was the honeymoon phase,” Tyler said. “But during the second six months, it was, ‘Why am I in this?’ then ‘I need to make it work.’ I almost constantly looked back at my old job thinking, ‘Why did I do this?’”
Tyler was green to the industry and to the world of sales. Every day, his mind surrendered to uncertainty and doubt.
“Getting into sales, especially when you’re not in that industry beforehand, it’s hard to really understand what it takes to be successful in sales,” Tyler explained. “You get into it and you don’t have that customer base and you have to go out and make it happen. When you have those slow times, especially when you look around at people who don’t have slow times, it becomes stressful and difficult.”
But Tyler wasn’t alone. He had a solid support system of encouragement.
“I was thinking, ‘I can’t do it’ but my wife gave me encouragement in low times,” he said. “She’s my biggest cheerleader and my biggest kick in the butt. Plus, Scott had hired me; he had vested interest in my success. Utilizing him and going out to lunch and talking with him helped. I learned what I could do better and what I could get involved in more and how to utilize the people around me.”
Tyler shifted his perspective – and his career trajectory turned, too.
“After that first year in, I was like, ‘OK, I’m here. I need to commit to this. There is no going back at this point. I need to jump in with both feet and say, ‘It’s up to me if it’s going to work,’” he said.
From there, Tyler went onward and upward.
Internal Motivation, External Results
Taking advice from Scott Dondineau, Tyler began to learn about every aspect of the car business: the front, back, service, sales, new, used, etc.
He started to find his footing and establish roots. And once you establish roots, the next step is to grow.
So he did.
“The beautiful thing about Garber is that everywhere you look, the people that are in management did not start in management,” he said. “Garber as a whole grew all of these people from sales or as a tech or whatever dept, they grew their people to be managers.”
Like many that had come before him, Tyler expressed his interest in growing with the company. He had prepared. Then the opportunity presented itself.
“Our finance manager was retiring/moving positions and we were getting a new finance manager, and he did not have an assistant, so that was an area of opportunity for me,” Tyler said. “I said, ‘I’d be interested, if you guys are up for it, to be his assistant and help him out.’
In 2019, Tyler became the finance assistant at the Midland dealership. He then got the opportunity to move to the Garber Chevrolet Buick store in February 2021 to become the Business Manager: the role he holds today.
With a new comfort zone and a lot of growth, Tyler is proud of his career path – and the life he can provide for his family.
“Garber allows you to provide for your family in a way that maybe you haven’t known or been able to before,” he said. “It affords you the ability to go on vacations. Garber gives your family a life they deserve.”
He also gives the privilege of helping other families, as well.
“A car is often a customer’s lifeline,” he said. “If they don’t have a vehicle, they can’t work, and if they can’t work, they can’t provide. That has given me the motivation to work hard and grow and connect with people. This job has allowed me to get better at connecting and being empathetic. Being able to connect and sit across from a customer, helping them in the second largest purchase in their life…it’s incredible.”
So what would Tyler say to himself back in the day when he was nervous about leaving his old job?
“I would say to him, ‘Get out of your own way,’” Tyler said. “I think a lot of times, myself very much included, we are our biggest critics but we hold ourselves back because of insecurities or whatever it may be. But there’s a lot better of a life or better satisfaction or happiness if we just get out of our way and be confident in our abilities. I still tell myself that. If you want to be successful, you are the only person that can make it happen.”
First concert? At my church when I lived in Colorado, we had Saturday Nights in the City events and a different group would come in. My parents worked it and I’d go to those.
First car? 1997 Coup Honda Civic. Manual. Loved that car. Black. Not special at all. Crank windows. That car was the coolest car.
Favorite meal? Pasta. Almost anything Italian.
Three words to describe your personality? Faith-driven, long-winded, willing to help
Bucket list item? Go to the World Cup