Game Day

Patrick York, COO of the Gillman Companies, headquartered out of Houston, TX recently sent me the following email:

“You know what? I love Friday nights. I say that for two reasons. First, I get pumped every Friday night just like teams get pumped in the locker room before a BIG game because Saturdays are our BIG VOLUME sales days. The second reason I love Friday nights is because I get my weekly dose of straight talk and inspiration from my friend Tommy Gibbs.”

Forget about the part about Tommy Gibbs. Let’s focus on what Patrick said about getting pumped on Friday nights for the big game on Saturday.

Winning the big game on Saturday doesn’t happen because of what you necessarily do on Saturday. It happens because of what you did the week, the month and the year before you ever got to Saturday.

All the great teams, be they Automobile teams, football teams, basketball teams, or any other teams, win based on their willingness to prepare for the big game.

Yep, most people want to win, but most people don’t have the will to prepare to win. That’s all I’m gonna say. Tommy Gibbs

I’m Gonna Miss You…

Well, maybe not, but I will if you’re not at the NADA Convention in just a few days. So, if you’re not going I’m wondering why? Why would you not go? Short on staff? I guess that’s a maybe. You went last year? Ugh, I guess that might be a maybe also. Can’t afford the expense? Another maybe goes up on the board. Those excuses and most others are not great reasons for not going.

Some of you live in a little box and wonder why things never change for you. Most of you are coming off a pretty good year. Maybe you think you have it figured out or maybe you know things are starting to slip a bit.

There’s no better time than right now to open your mind and shoot some WD 40 into your brain to loosen things up a bit. It’s winter, it’s cold and if you’re not careful your brain will freeze up and not thaw until sometime in August.

If your mindset is “the Convention is always the same” then you are dead wrong. The only reason the Convention is the same is because you’re the same. If you’ve gone to the Convention in the past to rub shoulders with the factory guys and attend the parties then I guess it would be the same for you. You get out of something what you put into it.

If you go to the Convention and are determined to take real ideas back to your dealership and make things happen the odds will be in your favor of making things happen.

It’s hard for your vision to change when you sit there and stare at those same walls and same people day after day. It’s a cancer that eats away at your soul. That’s why you need to go. You need inspiration. You need to see the possibilities. You need to go and learn something.

If you show up and find me I’ll even give you a little book titled “The Little Used Car Book, Volume 5.” My little book is not a cure-all for your used car business but it’s guaranteed to give you some ideas and wisdom to help your bottom line.

By helping your bottom line, it will more than pay for your little trip. I’ll be hanging out some at the vAuto booth (booth #2318) so look me up. I’d hate to miss you this year. That’s all I’m gonna say. Tommy Gibbs

What Do We Have In Common?

Actually I know what we have in common. We have winning in common. That’s why you check in with me from time to time and read my material. You’re looking for ideas to help you to keep winning.

You and I may have different ideas about what winning means to us. Fundamentally it’s about keeping score regardless of what the “score factor” might be. The “score factor” might be number of units sold, it might be gross profit, it might be income, it might be net profit, or it might be how many people we have helped make a better life for themselves. It’s all about keeping some sort of score.

It’s important to surround yourself with people who have things in common with you. If they are not interested in keeping score then they are not interested in winning. If they are not interested in winning then you don’t have much in common with them.

If you don’t have much in common with them then you need to be a real winner and rid yourself of their presence. It’s not just about winning, it’s about running up the score. Yep, that’s what you and I have in common, we wanna run up the score. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Found Profit

I’ve always loved selling budget cars. I’m thinking we all define budget cars differently, but let’s just say they are the cheaper cars that in the past you let “Bubba and the gang” have.

If you’re going to sell budget cars then you may want to think differently about how you recondition them and how you charge for that reconditioning. The key word is to make them safe but not perfect.

Most customers understand they are not buying a new car. Furthermore, charging full retail from your service department will eventually cause your used car manager to “throw the baby out with the bath water.” If you are using packs you may want to at least lower the packs on these units.

The one thing you should not skimp on is the recon or clean up. Spend whatever you have to spend on it to make it pretty. If you ultimately have to sell the unit in the wholesale market you will more than get the clean up money back.

These units need to be on a very short shelf life of 20 to 30 days and gone. Just because you don’t have a lot of money tied up in them, it’s not a justification to keep them hanging around. If you let them sit around too long, “lot rot” will kick in. Common sense should tell you, if it’s an inexpensive car and it doesn’t sell immediately then it’s time to move on.

Budget Center cars need to have their own location on your lot. It needs to be clearly marked off as to what it is. “The Budget Center,” or whatever clever name you can come up with. Over the years mine was called the “Chicken Coop.” There’s a long story on that which I won’t go into today. You might call yours the “Budget Corral.” Just come up with something. At the very least mark the area off with safety cones.

In most dealerships sales people are always complaining that they need cheaper cars to sell. One of the most effective things you can do on your “lot walk” each week is when you get to the budget center explain to the sales staff that if these units aren’t sold by next Wednesday, then you are going to wholesale them. Creating a sense of urgency in their mind is a good thing.

Depending on the size of your store it could easily mean another 5 to 20 sales a month. Gaining more customers is always a good thing when you do the math. Being in the “Budget Center” business makes good business sense. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

It’s Your Ship, Or Is It?

From the book, “It’s Your Ship”, by Captain Michael Abrashoff. “Captains need to see the ship from the crew’s perspective. They need to make it easy and rewarding for crew members to express themselves and their ideas, and they need to figure out how and when to delegate responsibility.”

Well, well ain’t that a mouthful? The key word that’s often missing when it comes to leadership skills is empathy. Far too often those in leadership positions only see things from their point of view. If only they could flip themselves over to the other side once in a while.

Your ability to connect to the team, the entire team, is what will separate you from being an anointed leader to being a real leader.

You often hear in sports that a coach is a “player’s coach.” That doesn’t mean he’s easy. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t exercise discipline. It means he understands each and every member of the team. He sees the value they all bring to the table. Great leaders have the ability to nurture the skills of all those they have been blessed to have the opportunity to lead.

It’s your ship to steer, but it ain’t really your ship, that’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

The Rule of “$78.00”

I’m thinking most of my readers are familiar with the “Rule of 78s.” If not, it’s a term used in lending that refers to a method of yearly interest calculation.

I have a new rule of 78s that will help you improve your average gross profit. I call it the “Gimme $78 more” rule.

Most of the sales managers I work with today are very competent and many of them got the job because they were good closers. Therefore I believe most of them can get another $78 from every customer just by asking.

Unless you’ve already gotten the customer to pay the Internet price then for sure you can go back in and convince the customer to pay $78 more. Sure you can. I know you can.

And, if you have already gotten the customer to agree to the Internet price and if there happens to be a trade involved, surely you are strong enough to hold back $78?

So your goal this month is very simple. Get $78 more on each deal. Then next month do the same thing. In two months you’ve improved average gross profit by $156. Then do the same thing over the next two months…and now we’re at $312 improvement in average front gross.

Far too often we get hung up on kicking the average gross up by $300 or $400 at one time. We give up at some point because the elephant is too big to eat in a month’s time. Take a small bite each month and you will soon be there.

Don’t gimme a bunch of excuses as to why you can’t do it. Just gimme the rule of $78. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

The Challenge of Staying After Yourself…

If you’re like me you love life and the challenges it brings to the table each and every day. I always look forward to getting up in the morning and “getting after it.”

As a dealer for 20 plus years, I loved coming into the store every day and being around all the people and the energy that came with that.

I always got there really early and stayed late. To me, seeing the people and the place coming to life in the morning was like a special sunrise.

Since I’ve been in the speaking, training and coaching business I primarily work alone. It can be challenging at times since I only have myself to rely on. But actually I like the idea of “staying after myself.”

It doesn’t matter if you work alone or work with 500 people you still have to “stay after yourself.” It’s a fun challenge and something you can actually get better at.

“Staying after yourself” requires planning and discipline. If my father said it once to me he’s said it a thousand times, “Plan your work and work your plan.”

Some key elements to “staying after yourself” include reading, writing, listening and forcing yourself to attend Twenty Group meetings, conventions and workshops. Those things open the mind and help you see what the possibilities might be.

I’ve become a firm believer that writing is a bigger component to success than one might think. I don’t mean that you have to be an award winning author; writing your thoughts down each day helps to open your brain up to where you’ve been and where you can go.

Writing helps you “stay after yourself.” It will help you self-evaluate your actions, your behavior and how well you are accomplishing those “continuous goals” you should be writing down.

Goal setting is critical to “staying after yourself.” Goal setting is important, but it’s even more important to understand that a goal is simply a temporary target and not the end. You have to constantly evaluate, tweak and adjust your goals so you are always moving forward.

A big part of staying after yourself is to “stay after others.” I don’t mean that in a micro-managing sense, but as a way of encouraging others.

The more you encourage others the more you are encouraging yourself. There is nothing you can do that is more important than helping others along the way.

It’s sometimes hard to understand the impact we can have on others with a kind word of encouragement and a pat on the back. It’s so very powerful!

My encouragement for you today is for you to remember to take some time to “stay after yourself.” That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

What Are You Creating?

My good friend John Malishenko, Director of Operations for the Germain Group recently sent out an email that included the following sentence:

“Today again is a day that must be “created” if it’s going to be a productive one and with only four days remaining, everyone is important.”

Obviously John was speaking to a specific day, in a specific week in a specific month. I would challenge you that John’s quote should be in the forefront of your thinking each and every day.

Ask yourself what are you creating? Are you making things happen or are you sitting around waiting for something to happen.

This thought processes applies regardless of your position in the dealership. It’s as appropriate for the dealer as it is for a sales manager. You have the talent and you have the knowledge or you wouldn’t be where you are today.

What better time to create something than right now? Go do it. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Here We Go..Well, Some of Us…

It’s January and we’re off and running. Actually, some of you are running, some of you are walking. The runners have been training hard for the last few months. The walkers have been talking about training hard.

The runners were getting into shape back in November and December by laying down “the plan” for 2014. The walkers were thinking they needed to get in shape and get a plan for 2013.

Runners are never happy. I’ve never seen a runner smile. Walkers are well, walkers. They often smile because they are dreaming of the things they would like to do. Whatever they are dreaming stays in their dreams.

The runners have a firm plan going into 2014. The walkers have a “kind-a-sort-a” plan going into 2014. Walkers talk about a plan, runners actually execute the plan.

Walkers are afraid if they make a plan they might have to change it. Runners know there are mud puddles and they just have to jump over a few to get where they want to go.

Runners like challenging their leadership skills by changing the plan. Walkers are afraid of change and would rather go with the flow than rock the ship.

Runners love Dave Anderson’s book “If You Don’t Make Waves You Will Drown.” Walkers would rather read “Winnie the Pooh” and dream about Pooh Bear.

When I do a workshop I recommend, suggest, and urge those in attendance to write out an action plan for the next 90 days using the top 3 or 4 processes from the workshop. At the end of 90 days re-write the action plan adding 3 or 4 more processes to it.

Any time you’re planning, there should be 30 day, 90 day, 180 day and 365 day action plans. The weather and the terrain are going to change and you need to be ready for change.

Walking along whistling a happy tune will make you feel good for that one little moment in time. Running hard with a flexible plan will exhilarate your soul and brain and will allow your team to leap tall buildings with a single bound for a long time to come.

Runners take money to the bank. Walkers go to the bank to borrow money so they don’t go out of business…yet.
Becoming a runner means harder training, greater commitment and disciplines that most people don’t have and will never have.

That’s why there is so much room at the top. Some will, most won’t. What about you? That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs