Winning Is Constant Preparation

Great leaders know that in order to win it takes constant preparation. They know there is no single strategy they can execute that will make the team a consistent winner. They know and understand the need for ongoing preparation. They are constantly exploring new strategies, concepts and ideas.

Winning football requires preparation. Most great coaches will tell you the game isn’t won on game day. It’s won during the week on practice days. It’s the preparation that makes the biggest difference.

It’s a given that most people want to be part of a winning team. Winners are drawn to those organizations that are willing to pay the price with preparation. I believe there are three types of people:

1. Those who want to get better and embrace preparation.
2. Those who don’t care if they get better and will do everything they can to avoid preparation.
3. Those who are just confused and looking for someone to show them the way.

Preparation breeds confidence. Confidence creates a can-do spirit. A can-do spirit creates momentum. Momentum keeps the ball rolling. Winning is constant preparation. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

The Lost Art

With so many customers shopping online and knowing what they want and having a price when they finally get to the store it’s easy to try and justify the lack of a professional demo ride.

Dealers are always complaining about average gross profit going down. One of the biggest killers of gross profit is not doing those things that we know to be important. Allowing the demo ride to evaporate to little or no meaning is something management cannot allow.

The demo ride creates value. The touch, the feel, the smell and the opportunity for the sales person to have the customer’s undivided attention is priceless. The closing ratio and the gross profit goes up when you return to the most fundamental basic of the car business.

The demo ride is an art. Don’t let it be a lost art. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Do You Know What You’re Doing?

Archie Manning operates a quarterback passing camp, was a pretty good quarterback in the NFL in his day and has two sons currently playing the same position for the Denver Broncos and New York Giants.

Archie Manning recently stated, “The best advice I try to give to a young quarterback is, you need to know what you are doing. You need to know what you’re doing because if you know where to go with the football, you can get rid of it, and throw it, and you won’t get hit.”

Holy crap! Isn’t that the way we need to think about a used car manager? I’m going to re-do his statement based on the car business:

“The best advice I can give a used car manager (or dealer) is, you need to know what you are doing. You need to know what you’re doing because if you know where to go with the car, you can get rid of it, and unload it at retail or wholesale, and you won’t take a hit.”

Shazam! Hallelujah! Holy Toledo! Kaboom!

And therein lies the problem. Far too many managers don’t know what to do or they don’t do it soon enough. They hold the ball too long. Holding the ball too long and not knowing where to go creates gigantic losses and headaches.

The great quarterbacks recognize the defense immediately and change the play at the line of scrimmage in order to give them the best chance for success.

The problem in the car business is far too often the used car manager doesn’t recognize the problem until it’s too late and by the time they do they have taken a major hit.

You need to know what you’re doing. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

The Evidence Is Piling Up

Many of you who read my material are convinced I’m against packs and charging full retail in service, etc. The reality is I’m not actually against either. Whenever I’m working with a client who utilizes those strategies, I tell them if it’s working to keep doing it.

I’m also quick to point out that they need to be ready for the change, because change is coming. It’s going to become tougher and tougher to run your business the old fashioned way.

In a recent article published in “MSN Money,” Alison Spitzer, of the Spitzer Auto Group states “Today, customers find the car first, then the dealership.”

Part of finding the car means finding the car they want at a price they want to pay. Allison could just as well have said, “They find a price and then they find a dealership.”

If you don’t believe that’s so, drop all your photos and pricing from your website, Auto Trader, etc. and just put stuff on your website telling the consumer how great your service is and see what happens to your traffic.

The following quote from the article tells the real story when it comes to today’s consumer and where pay plans are heading.

“Today, buyers call or walk into a showroom already armed with a car’s invoice price, competing dealer bids and discounts from the manufacturers, and can get updates on their cellphones while standing in the store. They can access online reviews of the salesperson and dealership.

That has led many dealers to eliminate commissioned pay, price new vehicles closer to their own costs and station more staff in front of computers, where they are rewarded for generating sales quickly and in higher volumes, rather than trying to talk a customer into buying a more expensive model.”  (Read FULL ARTICLE)

I’m going to state this one more time. I’m not against packs as long as they are working for you. I do question whether they are really working or not.  As my good friend Marvin Barnes has always said, “You can justify anything you want to justify.”

The more the industry moves towards non-negotiating and not paying on gross, the less of a need you will have for packs.

The showroom is no longer the showroom. The Internet is the showroom. Today’s consumers go there to look at photos and to get a price. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

What Are You Known For?

One of the many challenges facing today’s leaders is to determine what the organization stands for and how to separate themselves from the competition.

What is your defining proposition? Don’t take this the wrong way, but anyone can become a new car dealer and start selling cars. Same old blah, blah, blah. (I didn’t say it was easy.)

Beside price, what do you stand for? Great leaders are able to separate themselves from the competition.

The attached is from Virgin Air. They are different. Very different. Virgin Air’s video for their safety announcements sets them apart from the rest.

Virgin Air is somewhat like Southwest was at one time. What I find interesting about Southwest is they have moved more towards being like all the others as opposed to all the others becoming more like Southwest Air. They have lost their humorous niche.

You may have read or heard the story about the uniqueness of Gunter VW in Cocoanut Creek FL. In 2012 they sold over 4,000 new VWs. They did it by being different. Gunter VW Photo

It’s not sufficient to say you are known for great service. Everyone has great service. Having great service makes you average. Having great service is expected. You’re not exceeding anyone’s expectations by having great service.

Having free coffee and donuts makes you average. I get a chuckle every time I read a story in Automotive News about someone who now has a café and free whatever.

In the mid 80s we had a deli, a hair cuttery, a shoeshine man, and a tailor shop. Our employee lounge was decorated with characters from Warner Brothers like Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird, Daffy Duck and others. And, we were famous for the Chicken Man. (Now that’s a story for another time.)

At least we were different. How different are you? Are you just another car dealership? Do you even dare to be different? Being different is not easy and requires taking risks. Not being different is boring, risk free and makes you known for nothing. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Mark Down Tent

I hate it when I ride by a dealership and see a tent up with cars parked under the tent and the dealership is promoting a “tent sale.” Many of you have read my document on how to put on a real “Tent Sale,” which is not the same as what I’m sharing with you today.

Today’s subject is a “Mark Down Tent.” A “Mark Down Tent,” is not a permanent fixture. It’s to be used from time to time when you are trying to unload problem cars. You know those units that you all of a sudden discovered you are killed in and have had hanging around way too long. TEnt

As close to the road as possible, put up a tent that can hold 3 or 4 units. If permissible, hang banners around it that say “Mark Down Tent” and use the little signs that you can stick into the ground with arrows to the “Mark Down Tent.” Promote the “Mark Down Tent” in all your ads including your website. You might want the telephone operator to answer the phone, “ABC Motors, have you heard about our “Mark Down Tent?”

Using a marker, start off by putting a very, very high retail price with the date on the front windshield. You will be marking the price down each day by $500, with the date beside the new price until sold. Draw a line through the old prices and dates. The sales person’s commission on day one will be $2000. Each day that you mark the car down by $500 the sales person’s commission will be reduced by $100.

Now don’t panic. I said to start off with a really high retail price. If you get to a point where you are uncomfortable with the pricing going too far south you can always pull it from the tent.

The idea is to create a sense of urgency with both the customer and the sales person to take action. The reason you now need to put cars in the tent is you didn’t have a sense of urgency soon enough in the first place. That’s all I’m gonnna say, Tommy Gibbs