Maybe You Ain’t That Smart?

A number of years ago I came up with a saying, “You’re never as smart as you think you are and you are never as dumb as you appear.” Some of you are feeling pretty smart right now.

It could be that you are really smart, or it could be that you got lucky because of a once-in-a-lifetime market shift in your favor.

And of course, there are times when you feel pretty dumb. Even that may or may not be true. You might be a victim of a bad set of circumstances. Some of you have had bad franchises in bad locations or it could be that you’re a newer used car manager that inherited a hot mess for a used car inventory.

Or it could be you’re just dumb.

In any given set of circumstances, it’s important to maximize whatever you have. Right now, you may be maximizing things in spite of yourself or maybe you’ve been smart enough to make some good moves.

It could have been you didn’t know what to do and by doing nothing you got lucky.

The most important thing right now is recognizing where you are, how you got there, and how to stay on this magical course you’ve discovered.

Even with all that said, this business continues to be:

All about the basics.
All about the fundamentals.
All about your disciplines.
All about the processes.
All about understanding the data.
All about common sense.
All about your focus.

Never forget that sometimes when you get to the fork in the road you need to take it.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Dress For Success

Many years ago I read a book titled “Dress For Success,” written by John T. Molloy. To this very day, it’s one of the most influential books I’ve ever read.

My dress for success mentality was further influenced by others in business whom I looked up to. They all fit a common mold when it came to “the look.” They looked professional and therefore they were.

A dark suit, long-sleeved white shirt, and a conservative or very bright tie wins hands down in the dress the part contest. Whatever argument you have against this fundamental concept is totally flawed.

When I was 15 I was a batboy for the New York Yankees Triple “A” farm team in Richmond, VA. The manager at the time was Sheriff Robinson. I remember to this day him saying to the players “If you can’t play like a pro at least look like a pro.”

“Fake it till you make it. Then fake it some more.”

If you are scratching your way to the top, or if you are already there, then the way to stand out is to dress up, not dress down. I can tell you from personal experience, that when you dress up you are far more productive. When you look like an executive you start to think and inspire as an executive.

Many businesses have gone with the “Casual Look,” or some call it business casual. It’s either casual or it’s business. Business casual turns into “business sloppy.” Just because your company allows business casual doesn’t mean you have to go along with the program. I doubt upper management is going to bust your chops for dressing “up.”

The argument and justification that the customer feels more comfortable and relaxed is a bunch of malarkey. The only person being more relaxed is you.

Look, Einstein, the customer is making the second-largest purchase in their life next to a home. Do you think they want to do business with a slob? The answer is a big fat no.

Oh, I know if you are dressed in a suit then it’s too intimidating for the customer and they won’t buy the car.

Really? You’ve got to be kidding me. Look if your people skills are no better than that and you can’t overcome wearing a suit, then it’s a miracle you’ve lasted this long.

Most of you are in some sort of authority position. Trust me on this one. When you dress casually there has to be an element of loss of respect by those around you. If you want more respect and want to be more productive then dress the part.

There are many elements that make up great leadership skills and looking the part is an important one. Never forget you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

P.S. shine your shoes…

How’s The Planning Coming Along?

If your dealership is like most others, then the odds are you’ve just about finished up your planning for 2022. Here are a few tips to help push you over the finish line.

Tip # 1-Dissect each department. Break them all down. Pretend you are starting from scratch. Don’t assume anything. Nothing is sacred. Be ready to change and perfect any and all processes.

Tip #2-Analyze, analyze, analyze. Make the numbers work.
Here’s a number you need to make work. 120%. Once you have figured out how many units you should be selling, think of how many salespeople you will need to get the job done. If you think your volume number is 100 and you think your team will average 10 units each then the number of salespeople you need is 10. Right? Wrong!

What you really need to get the job done is another 2 salespeople. It takes 120% of what you think you might need. There are always a few salespeople having a bad month. You fire some. Some quit. Someone is sick, broke a leg, or whatever. You cannot hit your number doing straight-up math. Think 120%.

That’s how you will get your number. Don’t worry about overloading your sales force. You need to worry about overloading your bottom line.

Tip#3-Relocate; as in send some folks packing. Loyalty is a wonderful thing. Too wonderful. Yes, it’s a people business, but darn it, it’s a business. You’re not running a charity. There are some people that just need to go. If you love them so much you can’t part with them, then send them to the farm and mail them a check each month. Get someone on board who can get the job done.

Tip #4-Now that you’ve analyzed and figured out your team, layout the new plan. Bring your key players into the new plan. Let them have some input. It’s ok to let them think it’s their idea. The more they think it’s their idea, the better.

Tip#5-Present it to the entire management team. Your key managers have to help sell the plan and create “buy-in.” Buy-in is critical to the success of the organization.

Tip#6-Educate the team. It doesn’t matter how long you are in this business you need to continue to look for opportunities to ramp up your performance. Educating the team is never an expense. It’s an investment in them and your future.

Tip#7-Turn your used car department upside down. Look at it from every angle possible and start making changes.

Tip#8-Put the plan in play now. Now is the time to get the kinks out. Pretend the next 10 days are like spring training. You want to be able to rock and roll on January 1,

None of us have any idea what 2022 is going to look like. Now is the time to light the fire.

You will win in 2022 by preparing to win right now.

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