Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

If you have children, I’m thinking it’s a safe bet to say that when they were small you always knew where they were. I would further bet that if they weren’t with you that you knew who they were with.

Not only did you know who they were with, but you knew what clothes they had on and you knew what they had to eat for their last meal. If they had a booboo on their finger you applied a band aide and checked it regularly.

I’m appalled at how many used car managers don’t actually know where their children (used cars) are, let alone know what they are wearing.

Often when I’m reviewing inventory with a used car manager I’ll ask them to tell me about certain cars in their inventory.

On some of the cars I’ll ask them where is it? They will say “It’s in the inventory.” No, I’ll say, “Where is it? Where is it parked?” Typical comments, “I’m not sure”, “I think it’s out back”, “I think it’s in the service department”, “I think it’s in clean up”, “I think someone is driving it”, “I think it’s sold.”

Grab this, grab it fast. You’re not being paid to think. You’re being paid to know. The great used car managers know where every car is every moment of its life with their store.

The great used car managers know where all their children are regardless if they have a 40 car inventory or a 400 car inventory.

They just know. You wanna know why they know? They know because they care. They know because they are great parents. They know because the more they know about where their children are, the more they can protect them.

They can protect them from the evils of the world such as becoming aged, poor ROI, and slow turn. Let the parenting begin. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Skiing On The Edge

I was watching the downhill skiing at the Olympics this past week and couldn’t help but notice that as the skiers went through the corners how much they were actually on the edge of the skis. Being on the edge of the skis is what gives them speed. Being on the edge is what gives them the edge.

In your business being on the edge gives you speed. If you are going to have the “speed edge” you cannot have fear. Having the fear of being on the edge is what may be holding you back.

When you ski on the edge you’re going to fall. It’s hard to tell how far you can go until you fall once in a while. Falling helps you find the “real edge.” Finding the “real edge,” is what makes you better and actually gives you the edge.

Not being on the edge is skiing on the flat part of the ski. Being on the flat part of the ski slows you down. Are you skiing on the flat part of success?

Every once in a while you need to let it hang out on the edge. Let the skiing on the edge begin. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Controlling The Controllable

Odd as it may seem, we often put a lot of energy and wasted effort into trying to control the things we don’t have control over and miss a real opportunity to control the things we can control.

I often like to compare the car business to the coaching field. Coaches never have total control over the game, but they do have control over the things they do to prepare for the game. You can take control by preparing the team.

Great coaches study the game 24/7/365. If you don’t live, eat and sleep the car business, then you will never be able to control what you can control.

Successful coaches understand that to control the game they have to teach the game. They make an investment in time and resources to ensure the team understands the plan and how best to execute it.

Your mission as a coach is to create an ongoing environment that demonstrates you are committed to training and developing your staff at all levels; “Controlling what you can control.”

You cannot control the price of gas, the stock market or the world economy. You can control the speed by which you turn your used car inventory.

Knowing and understanding the necessity of utilizing speed to control your inventory is a major step toward controlling what you can control. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Are You Pushing It?

This video clip shows people really pushing it. Pushing it to the next level. They are pushing it to the extreme. What about you? Are you pushing it? Are you even close to pushing it to the extreme? Are you satisfied with the status quo?

When you come to work each day, is it the same old same old? If it is the same old same old, have you looked in the mirror lately or are you blaming others for “it” not getting pushed?

I send you these emails to help push you along. The reality is you’re the one that needs to do the pushing. Start pushing, that’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Video-People Pushing It

Used Car Stress

“A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question.

Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?” Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz. She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.” Remember to put the glass down.” Author unknown.

Used cars are the same way. The longer you hold them the more stress they create. Even your worst decision becomes lighter when you unload it early.

There are dealers around the country with a lot of stress in their used car department. Either the Dealer, the GM, the General Sales Manager or Used Car Manager has decided they can deal with the stress. Maybe they can “deal with it.” But, dealing with it at what cost?

How much money is it costing them? If you extracted the water out of your inventory and subtracted it from your bottom line, how good would you really look?

Some of you are sitting there kinda smug thinking, “Not a problem at my store, we don’t have aged units.” You know what I’m thinking? I’m thinking you are darn smart and I’m really, really proud of you.

For those who aren’t feeling all smug. Enjoy your stress. You earn it one day at a time. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Warning From New Orleans

I’m writing this from New Orleans at the NADA Convention. I was also here in 2009 and it’s a much different environment this week than it was back then. To say the dealers were depressed in 2009 is an understatement. Everything I’ve seen thus far at the convention is optimistic almost to a fault.

Many dealers are coming off an all time record profit year and optimism has never been higher. It’s easy to become complacent and have a certain amount of self-assured confidence that you are a rock star, on a roll, and you can do no wrong.

It’s a fact that dealers make the most money when they are coming off of tough times. The reason for that is pretty simple. When things are tough, dealers get back to the basics and grinding it out. As business gets better, they are in a great position to make a lot of money because they have cut all the fat out.

But the better and better business gets, dealers tend to add this and that to the expense line and get further and further away from the basics.

I know you’re a “Smart Leader” because you read my stuff. And because you’re a “Smart Leader,” you know that to get to 4 to 6% net to sales you need to continue to evaluate everything you are doing, every dime you are spending, and every process “you think” you have in place.

Are you as efficient as you can be? That’s all I’m gonna ask, Tommy Gibbs


It’s not about stealing stuff. It’s about stealing time. How much time in a given day is stolen by the sales team? How much time is being stolen by the entire staff? Totally stolen?

Would you fire someone if you caught them stealing? Stealing time is the same as stealing stuff.

Most sales people wait on maybe 3 people a day. How much time does that take? What happens to the rest of their day? Are they being productive with the rest of their time?

Think about what a good deal it is to be a sales person today. Sales people have very little money invested and yet they have millions of dollars of inventory at their disposal.

They have a free receptionist, a great prospecting CRM management system to work with, free computers, and free training. And, all sorts of support from BDCs to delivery coordinators. Not a bad gig, yet there’s a lot of productive time being stolen.

One of the basic premises in Bruce Tulgan’s book, “It’s Ok To Be The Boss,” is if you go into a restaurant and get bad service from the wait staff it’s not their fault. It’s management’s fault for allowing it to happen in the first place.

Same deal with you. If stealing is going on at your store, it’s not the fault of the sales person or the person stealing “time.” It’s someone in management and maybe that’s you? That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Yes, I’m Mad

I’m mad ’cause I don’t think you’re listening. I’m mad ’cause you ain’t paying attention. I’m mad ’cause you’re not ready. I’m mad ’cause I keep telling you and you keep ignoring my advice. Ok, so you couldn’t care less that I’m mad.

Ignore me if you will, but here’s what I know. You keep jerking around about how you’re going to fix your mess, but it’s still not done and “S Day” is just around the corner. “S Day” is March 20, the first day of spring, which is often referred to as the Spring Selling Season.

There’s still a lot of pent up demand and you’re not going to get to play the game ’cause you ain’t ready. Your people aren’t ready, your leaders aren’t ready and your inventory is still screwed up.

You and your staff have been sitting and whining with your heads stuck in the sand. This business is a contact sport and you ain’t contacting.

Can you hear me screaming? Do something…do something even if it’s wrong! I’m sorry if I’m screaming, but I see dealers around the country really “getting after it” and making a difference and I see others letting it “get after them.”

Just in case you didn’t know it, new and used car average grosses will continue to be a challenge. It’s going to take some serious leadership skills to win that battle.

The only way to win the game is to improve total gross. The only way to improve total gross is to be a great used car operator. When you become a great used car operator you sell more new. When you become a great used car operator you sell more parts & service. When you become a great used car operator you sell more used.

When you become a great used car operator, I’m not mad anymore. That’s all I’m gonna say. Tommy Gibbs