New GM embodies the vision of ‘Moving Lives Forward’
By Marly Fuller
What does the office of a successful leader look like? Take a peek into Shawn Hays, and you will see it’s empty. Just a spotless desk and a small round table with some chairs for impromptu meetings.
“I don’t spend much time in my office because I like to be out with my team,” Hays said.
The author of the well-known auto sales book, “Build Your Brand,” joined the CMA Chevrolet dealership on Nov.1 as general manager in training under Jay Burchell, the dealership’s president and executive manager.
Carter Myers Automotive CEO Elizabeth “Liza” Myers Borches was a fan of Hays before even meeting him through his social media channels and having attended the Hustle and Grind Con where she watched him present.
“I have to give Liza a lot of credit; she took a leap of faith on me because I didn’t have the family name or years of GM experience,” Hays said. “Most GMs get into it through family ownership, so when I set it as my five-year goal, I had to change my life to get here.”
And he has. With Burchell’s approaching retirement and his more than 31-year career of 38 years at Heritage Chevrolet, Hays did not want to come in and clean house as many other GMs would. He took time to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of his inherited team and recognized what type of direction they needed. It’s worked.
CMA’s vision is “Moving Lives Forward,” including customers and associates alike. Hays has sold his team on the vision and they are highly driven people who want to change the world.
The dealership is growing, so he’s building a team of energetic, high-octane believers who also want to change the world with their own mindsets and actions. Having come from one of the largest dealerships in the nation, Dan Cummins Chevrolet in Lexington, Ky., he’s had four other team members move from out of state just to work with him.
Hays is a self-described “rags to riches” story and attributes it to his mindset management, his everlasting drive to achieve greater things, and most importantly, the desire to help people. Anyone who spends a short amount of time with him is sure to get inspired.
Although Hays is always confident and having had a knack for sales, his authenticity comes from a lifetime of soul searching. He says confidence has never been an issue, but before facing his demons and growing through them, his demeanor may have come off more as arrogance.
He had his wake-up call in 2005 after getting a DUI following his first date with his future wife. Examining his life to peel back the layers of why he was behaving and thinking the way he was, he opened up and shared a deeply hidden secret of being sexually abused as a child. The release set him free and on a trajectory to rebuild his life as he wanted to live it.
“Growth training is crucial,” Hays said. “You can lead, and teach and show, but if you’re not ready to grow, you won’t.”
The dealership’s team enjoys daily growth trainings Monday through Saturday because Shawn knows just how effective visualization and mind shifts can be.
It was only three years ago that Hays decided he would become a GM, and then an owner/operator of five dealerships. Having been moved by inspirational speakers like Eric Thomas and Ed Mylett, Hays started waking up at 4 a.m. every day to create what he is living today.
“The first 30 minutes I work on my mind and the second 30 minutes I work on my craft,” he said. “That was three years ago and I still do it today.”
This mentality shifted everything. He became “Your Car Guy” on social media with a mission to help others succeed in selling cars. While he’d always been top of the game at a previous dealership in St. Augustine, Fla., he was now becoming nationally known.
It led to the creation of Hustle and Grind Con, a motivational and life changing auto sales conference in Orlando, Fla., now in its third year. He shared the stage there with one of his inspirations, Eric Thomas, to boot.
Every week Hays goes live on Facebook and has thousands of viewers depending on him to lift their spirits and their knowledge so that they can become their best selves. This type of mindset training is not just for those in car sales, anyone can change their lives for the better by preparing the mind and studying how to get there.
“If you find yourself racing your competition and beating them every time, then you need to find a faster race because you’re still not reaching your maximum potential,” Hays said. “I’m not looking at my competition here in Chester; I’m looking [to beat competition] nationally.”
In a time where people are so connected to their devices, including when shopping for and purchasing cars, Hays recognizes the need for people to be seen and understood. He and his team have created an environment that meets one need that is difficult to find online: authentic connection.
“You have to push yourself out of your comfort zone, that’s where you find yourself, and that’s exactly why I am living my dream now,” Hays said. A welcomed new member of the Chester community, his social media handle is @yourcarguyshawnhays.
Burchell is so pleased to see Hays share his past and his plan. “I am glad for Chester and Chesterfield, that they can get to know him,” he said. “It furthers our plan in “Moving Lives Forward.”