Maybe It’s You?

I have almost 11,000 people on my newsletter list. My guess is 80% of them are either in the automobile business or a related field. The other 20% come from all types of businesses.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article with 30 bullet points about stinky leadership and the fix for each bullet point. Actually, there were 29 of them. Number 30 was reserved for the readers to hit reply and give me one of their favorite stinky things that leadership does.

The number of replies was staggering. Even more staggering was the common theme among them. Wanna guess what it was?

The number one issue for most people is that the Dealer, GM or GSM talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk.

They demand people be on time and they are late.

They demand people work bell to bell and they leave early.

They require people to be responsive to customer complaints and they drag the feet when it’s put in their lap.

They say treat people like family and they treat people like poop.

The theme of asking others to do things that top leadership doesn’t or won’t do went on and on.

My view on leadership is that it just isn’t that hard to be a good leader. Most of it is common sense. As we all know though, common sense isn’t so common.

Maybe it’s time to look in the mirror. Maybe it’s you. That’s all I’m gonna say. Tommy Gibbs

Don’t Get Stupid

I’ve had a number of emails and phone calls asking about a strategy to deal with the increased value of used cars due to the recent hurricanes.

No doubt, the law of supply and demand will increase the prices you pay and the value of used cars in the marketplace. As you get all jacked up and excited about running out and paying the “market price” for used cars, keep the following in mind:

A. Know your market and know your lenders. The market may not be willing to reimburse you for the added values, and for sure the lenders may not be willing to advance the money you need to make it work.

B. This is a short-term blip on the map. If you think this is a “new business model” that you’re going to see for much more than 45 to 90 days, you’re going to wake up with an ugly mess.

C. Avoid jumping too heavily into the game. Now is not the time to go nuts at the auction. Now is the time to go nuts at the front door. If you’re going to bury yourself, then bury yourself in a trade. You made a deal. You sold a car. You have a new customer. Dig it?

D. Amp up your discipline. I feel the same way about the fake news I hear about off-lease cars coming into the market and affecting used car values. If you know what you’re doing, and have discipline, then most of this stuff will have little or no impact on your used car operations.

E. Even if you are in Texas, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana or South Carolina, you have to think turn baby turn. When you turn your inventory, the law of supply and demand will only impact you but so much. You will win because you’re smart.

I know you’re smart because you read my stuff. Don’t get stupid. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

You May Not Be Good Enough

Most dealers fall into one of two categories. Either they think they run the best show in town or they think they know who runs the best show in town.

If you do see yourself as being the best operation in town, you poke your chest out, toot your own horn and strut down the street once in a while.

If you don’t see yourself as running the best show then you probably know what your flaws are and you’re trying to fix them because of course, you want to be the best.

Regardless, if you think you’re the best or not, it’s a safe bet that for as long as you’ve been in the car business you’ve compared yourself to other dealers.

Stop it. Your team members and the consumers in the marketplace aren’t comparing you to other dealers.

They are comparing you to Apple, Amazon, eBay, Zappos, Starbucks, The Ritz, Disney and a host of other great operations. Being better than your competitors isn’t good enough anymore.

If you’re not studying some of those that I mentioned, you should be.

If you’re just studying and comparing yourself to other car dealers, you might be the best in your immediate neighborhood, but you’ll never be the best of the best. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

7 Things To Help You

1. Resell the team that you have the pricing correct. Remind them that more than 80% of the people who shop for a used car are shopping via the Internet. In most cases the customer would not have shown up today if they didn’t like the vehicle you have or felt the price wasn’t in the ball game. Thus, we need to stay focused on selling the fact that we have got the price right, they are at the right place, so don’t bother asking for more discount. The management team has to do a better job reselling this concept on a daily basis.

2. If you have aged inventory your goal should be to retail out of it by September 30. In doing so you need to realize that in order to retail out, you’re going to have to price them right. Pricing them right and finally doing what you should have already done is going to cause your average gross to take a hit. You’re going to put yourself in a better position to sell lots of new and used cars as the fall and winter rolls around because you are now in the driver’s seat and not trying to dig out of a hole.

3. Implement the trade walk with all members of the management team. Use my life cycle management process. Each morning analyze the fresh trades and purchase units to determine the number of days it will be assigned. Make sure you spot the most problematic units, price them right and get them gone.

4. Start tracking 30/30. Track the gross on units you sell under 30 days old and the gross on units you sell over 30 days old. You will soon realize those over 30 days old units are killing your averages. Ask yourself right now, how many units do you have in stock that are over 30 days old? What’s the percentage? If more than 50% of your inventory is over 30 days old you can bet your averages are going to take a hit.

5. Attack the 10 most expensive units in stock. Print out a list of them every day. Give a copy to the service manager, desk and F&I managers. Make sure the team has top of mind awareness on these units. Price them right on day one. Consider putting bonus money on the most problematic ones. These units will eat your lunch if you don’t stay on top of them.

6. Do anything you can to improve speed from the time you own it until it’s on the lot and ready to go. This takes a total team effort from service, parts, bodyshop and get ready.

7. Get out of your office. Talk to your team members one-on-one. Actually, listen to your team members one-on-one. It’s amazing what you can learn when you shut up and listen.

So, there you have it. 7 easy things to get focused on that will help you have the best fall and winter in the history of your business.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Leadership Is Stinky

I’ve spent most of my life observing and studying leadership skills. It started with my first little league coach, my college coaches, my experience as an athlete and as a NCAA college basketball referee.

Then into the business world, observing some of the best and some of the worst. Reading, studying and attending workshops have all been a part of my journey on why leadership is stinky and the reverse, why it excels.

Today, I’m taking the leadership is stinky side of the equation.

I started off with 10 reasons leadership is stinky. I ended up with 30 and could have kept going. Here you go:

1. They aren’t flexible. You can tie this thought to any sport you want. The best teams are lead by people who make the right adjustments at the right time. Leaders are like boxers. They are bobbing and weaving. Far too often leaders get locked into whatever and their whatever drives the team nuts.

2. They don’t pay attention. What a simple concept. Real leaders have their eyes and ears open 24/7. They don’t lock themselves in their office and issue orders. They walk around. They talk. They listen.

3. They think they know it all. Nobody knows it all. You don’t, I don’t. Even CNN & Fox don’t. Leaders know what they don’t know.

4. They want you to rely on them to tell you everything to do. That’s not what real leaders do. Leaders say, “I trust your good judgment, you decide.” When you stumble, they coach you up, not put you down.

5. They walk like a turtle. Show me a slow walker and I’ll show you someone nobody wants to follow. Get some pep in your step and get your butt in gear.

6. They are a stick in the mud. What a miserable life if you can’t laugh at yourself. If you don’t have a sense of humor you need to get a sense of humor.

7. They are arrogant and egotistical. There’s a big difference in being confident and being a jerk. Don’t be a jerk.

8. They aren’t likeable. Ties into being a jerk. If you’re not likeable the odds of being a great leader are about slim and none.

9. They hide the details. Leaders want to give you more than you need to know. They know that the more you know, the faster you learn. The faster you learn, the faster you buy in. The faster you buy in, the faster the team grows.

10. They put the wrong people in the wrong seats on the bus. Leaders know that just because you have skill A doesn’t mean it’s a fit for seat B. Getting the right people in the right seats is critical for success.

11. They have lapses in integrity. You either have integrity or you don’t. It’s not a part time thing to be used when you see fit. Leaders have integrity 24/7/365.

12. They say stupid things. Leaders use common sense before they open their mouth. The problem in today’s world is common sense isn’t so common.

13. They run around like a nut. Leaders know when to be calm and when to get excited. Too much of either makes people suspicious of you.

14. They have boss tattooed on their chest. Leaders aren’t the least bit concerned about tattoos or titles.

15. They say, “Look at me, look what I did.” Leaders say you guys did an awesome job. Way to go. I’m proud of you.

16. They blame others. Leaders say, “I let you down.” I need your help so I can do a better job. Let’s all work harder and smarter to do better.

17. They say do this, do that. Leaders say, “I need your help”

18. They got promoted over their head. They know it. Everyone knows it. Not their fault. Somebody screwed up. Leaders don’t have to live with it. When all else fails, leaders hit the eject button, reset and move on.

19. They never read the bible. Leaders follow the golden rule. It simple. It’s easy. Preach it. Talk it. Walk it.

20. They don’t do what they say they are going to do. Leaders are true to their word.

21. They lack discipline. Leaders understand the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.

22. They confuse friendship and loyalty. Leaders are loyal, but they are smart enough to know when their loyalty to certain individuals is hurting the team. Leaders make hard decisions. You can be loyal without being stupid. Don’t be stupid.

23. They don’t own a mirror. Leaders find most of the solutions to their problems in the bathroom mirror.

24. They live in the past. Leaders say, just because we’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean we’re going to keep doing it that way.

25. They stop learning and growing. Leaders invest time and money on self and team development.

26. They resist change. Leaders knock down the walls of resistance. They know resistance is enemy #1.

27. They let people be mean to others. Leaders have a motto, “If you aren’t nice to your teammates and our customers you can’t work here.” Another simple concept for you.

28. They micro-manage. Leaders are good checkers, but they give people a job and let them do their job. They coach when necessary and stay out of the way the rest of the time. Leaders don’t “number” people to death.

29. They don’t look like a leader. I understand you want to dress casual. I do too, but I don’t. Ok, I’ll give you one day a week and that’s painful for me to say. The rest of the time you need to set the example and look the part.

30. This one’s for you. You pick. I’m sure you’ve got one that I left out. Hit reply and I’ll steal it from you.

I’ve said enough so that’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs