The First Taste?

Ice Cream and Coffee are absolutely two of my favorites, but not necessarily together. Is there anything better than the first lick of an ice cream cone or the first sip of coffee?

The first of everything in life is the best. Your first love, your first computer, your first car, your first job, your first house, your first management position.

The more you eat the ice cream cone and the more coffee you drink the less enjoyment there is. The first taste of anything is always better than the second and so on.

Call it the “The Point of Diminishing Return of Satisfaction.” (I made that up; I make lots of things up, just work with me.)

Used cars are no different. Think of the first day that you own a used car as if it’s the first taste of coffee or ice cream. It tastes a lot better if you sell it on day one than it does on day 61.

The longer your coffee sits the colder it gets. Not so good. The longer ice cream sits the more it melts and the less ice cream you get to enjoy. The longer a used car sits the less you make on it. The less you make on it the less enjoyment you get to have.

But even if the coffee stayed warm, and the ice cream stayed cold, your second taste of either is never as good as the first.

You’re going to hear a lot about the “Life Cycle” of your used cars this year. My definition of “Life Cycle” would be how long you allow a car to hang around and more importantly, what elements impact and extend your “Life Cycle?”

The management of “Life Cycle” is the most important element of maximizing the potential of your used car department. (Up Your Gross Software Coming Soon!)

Doesn’t it stand to reason that if you can shorten the Life Cycle of your used cars that you’re going to enjoy them a whole lot more and make more money?

Dealers and used car managers are always looking for that magic bullet. We all know there is no magic bullet, but if there was one it would be called the bullet of “Life Cycle Management.”

Poor “Life Cycle” management impacts:

A. Slow Turn
B. Aging
C. Volume
D. Gross
E. Poor ROI
F. Attitudes
G. Ability to Trade at the Door
H. Future Acquisitions

When you shorten the life cycle of your used cars, you make more gross, sell more used cars, your coffee is warm, your ice cream is cold and the taste doesn’t get old.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Are You Showing Up?

The Philadelphia Eagles crushed the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC playoff game on Sunday, January 21, 2018. The Vikings showed up for the first quarter, but left town in the second and weren’t seen or heard from again.

On Monday I was chatting with a dealer who happens to be a big Vikings fan and the phrase the dealer used was that the Vikings “didn’t show up.”

That got me to thinking; do you or some of your team members sometimes fail to “show up?” I don’t mean in the physical sense, but I do mean in the “have your head in the game” sense.

Football is a tough game. The automobile business is a tough game. If you’re going to have sustained success you have got to show up every day and “get after it.”

Getting after it means guarding the processes.
Getting after it means creating high energy.
Getting after it means holding yourself and others accountable.
Getting after it means removing those obstacles that keep your team from reaching their goals.
Getting after it means making those tough personnel decisions that you know you need to make.
Getting after it means amping up your training to be the best you can be.
Getting after it means paying attention to what’s going on around you.
Getting after it means not ignoring “the elephant” in the room.

Don’t be a Viking. Get your head in the game. Show up. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Are You #43?

Even if you’re not a football fan, it’s a good bet that by now you’ve seen the dramatic catch by #14, Stefon Diggs, of the Minnesota Vikings and the missed tackle by # 43, Marcus Williams, of the New Orleans Saints in the last 10 seconds of the NFL playoff game on Sunday, January 14, 2018

A lot of people have analyzed the missed tackle and put the spin on it that he didn’t want to take a chance on a pass interference call.

I played defensive safety in college. The number one rule is don’t let anyone get behind you. The number two rule is to make the tackle and/or take the penalty. This ain’t rocket science.

Let me give you an old-school rule. Don’t duck your head. When you duck your head, you might miss your target, and even worse you might break your neck.

This is no different than the business you’re in. All the computers, all the software, all the social media and all the bells and whistles you can muster are null and void if you can’t block and tackle. Just as in football, you have to stay focused on the fundamentals of the game or it will eventually catch up with you.

People often feel training is redundant. It isn’t redundant until you’re perfect. You’re not perfect.

Here’s another little spin for you. As a leader, you should always be focused on blocking. Blocking, as in removing obstacles that get in the way of your team performing to the best of their ability.

Every day when you hit the hole (front door) you should be looking for something to knock out of the way. The more obstacles you move, the more you give your team a chance to win.

Rules for the day:

1. Don’t duck your head. (As in ignoring the issues.)
2. Make the tackle. (Stick with the fundamentals.)
3. Remove the obstacles. (That’s what leaders do.)
4. Don’t be #43.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Do You Have The Numbers Yet?

By now you have seen your December statement, which of course includes your year-to-date numbers. So, rock star, how do they look? I’m thinking you’ve had one of three reactions to them:

1. They look great. Could have even been better, but a little pat on the back is in order.

2. They are ok. Kind of pleased, but you know you could have done a lot better.

3. Not happy at all. What a wasted year. You are super disappointed and know you have to do better.

While you have that statement out, take a look and see if you have any used units over 60 days old. Even one is too many.

That being said, the odds are pretty good that you’ve not made as much money as you think you have, and if by some chance you lost money for the year, you’ve lost a lot more than you thought you did.

I hope the reasons are obvious, but if they aren’t, let me enlighten you a bit.

If you had to liquidate your used car inventory today, your bottom line would take a real hit. The fake news is you think you’ve made money. The real news is you haven’t made any, or at least not as much as you thought.

If you’re the owner or GM, keep in mind someone’s paycheck has been impacted in a positive way from that stuff that’s been sitting. The company’s paycheck, not so much.

A simple New Year’s resolution for you is to fix it. Fixing it doesn’t mean dumping stuff at 60 days old. Fixing it is understanding there’s a retail buyer out there at some number. Retailing early at some price is far better than dumping or retailing late.

I’ve been doing this a long time and for the life of me, I don’t understand the mindset of keeping aged inventory. I’m sure you have a great excuse for doing so. Keep in mind, there’s not a unit in your aged inventory that you couldn’t have already retailed at some number. Think retail, retail, retail.

The choices you have are to keep on doing what you’re doing or do something that will dramatically improve what you’re looking at this time next year. Enjoy your numbers. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Are You Running?

Successful dealers have a different view, a different attitude, a different swagger about them and a different way of managing accountability.

It’s always a good feeling when we are kicking off a new year.

This time of the year sort of reminds me of spring training for major league baseball. Optimism is running high, as it should be, but in a few months, reality will start to set in.

The stronger teams will have started to pull away and the weaker teams will be asking themselves, “What happened, where did we go wrong?”

A number of my articles recently have been prodding you to get ready for the New Year. Here are a few thoughts to get you moving a little faster toward your goals and some suggestions for changes you might need to make.

Observe-Spend a Saturday just sitting in the tower observing. Say nothing. Take notes. Of course, you’re not going to see the true picture, but you will see enough to give you an idea of where the loopholes are.

Ask Questions-Meet with your GSM/Sales Manager and ask him/her to review with you what the selling process is. Better yet, prior to the meeting, ask them to write out the selling process to bring to your meeting. Make this a regularly scheduled activity.

Get After Them-Tell them what you observed and how far off track they are compared to the list and the discussion you just had. Of course, first, tell them all the things you observed that they are doing well. Do your best to end the meeting on a positive note and create a plan of action to improve. That last sentence would seem to be common sense and something I shouldn’t have to say. I said it because we all need to be reminded of what’s important once in a while.

Re-Commit-Get them re-committed to what they say they are supposed to be doing. Reviewing the processes is the single most effective way to do this. A lot of people talk-the-talk, but very few walk-the-walk.

Re-Deploy-get them on a mission to get back on track through renewed focus, training, disciplines and processes. Get a commitment for the training they intend to do with the sales force over the next 30 days. Training requires an investment of money. Invest some money.

Create Accountability-create a daily checklist to review what they are doing as compared to what they said they were going to do. Continue to observe and whenever it’s not right go back to step one and start over again. Your number one job is to “Guard the Processes,” and therefore eliminate evaporation.

Raising expectations is in part about raising your level of intensity and creating accountability within the team. Human nature being what it is, people will do what little they have to do to get by.

I hope you’re off and running. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs