Ask Them What The Think

As you can imagine I get to see a lot. When you see a lot you tend to form opinions. Opinions are just that, an opinion.

Doesn’t make me right or wrong, but you have to realize I get to see so many different views that over time I can spot a zebra from a horse pretty easily.

One of the issues that constantly comes up is the PIC (Person in Charge); the dealer, general manager, owner-operator who doesn’t listen to those in the trenches when it comes to what’s working, what’s not, and what can be done to fix something.

Oftentimes it’s not just that they don’t listen, it’s that they don’t bother to ask.
Even when they do ask they won’t act on the information they have been given because they (the PIC) have been there and done that.

Sometimes they have over-analyzed the information to a point where they are convinced that whatever the thought or suggestion that was served up will not work.

In your zest to get it right have you screwed it up by not being willing to listen to others who might just have a good idea?

Experience is a powerful tool and so is the lack of it. Experience can convince you not to do something that might make you a lot of money. Inexperience can cause you to take a chance and make some money.

My father, just like your father, gave me tons of advice as a young man growing up. One of the things he said to me was “Son, you can go through life, not take many risks, and you will probably live an ok life. Or, you can go through life, take some chances and you might be rich.” Hmmm.

I think far too often in the car business, or any business for that matter, we become convinced that something can’t be done and when we do that we are no doubt right. And, we are just as right when we become convinced that something can be done. Business and life is such a head game. The better heads win.

Often times as we go up the APG (Authority Power Grid) we start to believe that due to our success we have all the answers. And as brilliant as we may be, we need to value and act on those ideas that come to us from those who are immediately dealing with the problem.

Fear is a great motivator or de-motivator. If you’re scared to roll the dice once in a while it’s going to be very hard for you ever to hit the winning numbers.

You need to listen to those under you and you need to let them try some of the things they believe will help your business. Take the handcuffs off and turn them loose once in a while. What you think doesn’t matter as much as you think.

One of my favorite techniques as a dealer was to ask the members of the management team what they needed in order to fix whatever problem they felt was getting in their way of performing to their maximum potential. My message to them was, “Tell me the problem, tell me what you think the fix is, and let’s get on with it.” I loved eliminating excuses. Now the ball is in their court. Game on!

When all the information comes from the top down in the power grid, those on the lower half of the grid become very unhappy. Unhappiness leads to frustration.

Frustration leads to throwing one’s hands up and giving up. When people give up they go through the motions and the organization never reaches its full potential. I want you to reach your full potential.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs.

Full Court Press!

March Madness is upon us. Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that March Madness is the NCAA basketball tournament.

More often than not these games are won on defense and a full-court press is often a major part of a defensive strategy.

A full-court press is a basketball term that refers to a defensive style in which the defense applies man-to-man or zone defense to pressure the offensive team the entire length of the court before and after the inbound pass.

A full-court press takes a great deal of effort but can be an effective tactic.

Often when teams are behind late in a game, they will apply full-court pressure as a means of attempting to produce turnovers as well as tire opponents.

A team with less talent can beat a talented team by utilizing a full-court press for the entire game. It doesn’t take talent, but it takes a lot of heart and desire to play an “in your face” defense for the entire length of the court for a full forty minutes.

If you’re in the car business today you need to be in a full-court press. You may very well be behind in the game. Be it good or bad, in the car business every day is a full-court press day. Every minute of every day there needs to be an “in your face” approach.

I know you think you’re doing all you can, but you aren’t, there is always more. If you’ve played sports you know that is true.

How can you do more? Start by writing it down.

Make a list of all the basic things you know about this business.

Things you now do, things you used to do, and things you’ve heard that others do.

Once you make the list, make a commitment to go into a full-court press for a minimum of the next 21 days.

Why 21 days? Research has proven it takes 21 days to create a new habit. If you will focus on this list for the next 21 days good things will happen.

I’m trying to press you to take action. I’m pressing you to get after it. I’m pressing you to take stock of what you do and how you do it.

I think of every minute of my life as a full-court press. Press on. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs.

How Much Should I Give You?

There are times when I struggle as to how much I want to “share” with you in my free newsletter. I often ask myself, “Should I save this for my paying clients?”

This is one of those times, but what the heck, here you go.

If you’ve heard me speak or read any of my material, you know I believe it’s way past the time we had two-tiered pricing from the service & parts department to the used car department.

A different price structure for your cheaper used cars will pile up more gross and put more profit on your bottom line.

It’s a tough sell for those dealers locked into stinky old legacy thinking who have “always done it that way.” I, of all people, realize how difficult change can be.

Since that’s such a tough sell how about giving your used car department some coupons. “No way,” you say…well, you give coupons to your customers all day long so why not the used car department?

Here’s the way it works:

1. The dealer or GM decides how many coupon sheets they will issue to the used car manager at the beginning of the month. If you want to get sophisticated about it, then base it on some formula of how many used (or even new) were sold the previous month.

You could do 40 used gets you one sheet. Or 40 new gets you one sheet. There are all kinds of ways to set this up. You could do for every 10 units over forecast you get an extra sheet for the next month. Whatever formula works for your size store.

2. The sheets are set up with 8 coupons. You could do more or even less.

3. At the top of the sheet, the Dealer/GM will determine the maximum ACV the coupons can be used for. I’m thinking less than $10,000, but you get to choose.

4. Each coupon requires:

A. The stock # of the unit
B. The ACV before coupon/repairs are done.
C. The manager’s signature.

5. I have a template that allows you to change the coupon percentages to suit your taste. (Send me an email and I’ll send you the template.)

6. How you expense the coupon discounts is up to you, but let me suggest that parts and service handle the discount just like you would with any customer.

7. Is there a slightly negative impact on your percentages in parts and service? Probably.

8. Is there a positive impact on your total gross profit? You betcha!

9. Is there a positive impact on attitude from the used car department? Another you betcha!

10. You will sell more used because you’re keeping some pieces you’ve been letting go down the street. You will sell more new because you will step up on some trades since you now have a way to turn them into retail pieces.

Trades are getting harder and harder to come by. You can’t afford to miss not one single one.

If you want to sell more used cars then do something different.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs.