Is the Clock Ticking?

By and large, most dealers and managers have come to understand it’s not the big that will eat the small but the fast that will eat the slow.

We all know the faster we can get a car on the lot and online the more we increase our odds of making a respectable profit.

If you are committed to 60 days or less (which you should be) then any days in the cycle in which the unit is not available for sale is a killer.

The question often comes up, “When does the clock start ticking?”

Does it start with the acquisition, the day you own it, or does it start when the car goes on the lot/online?

Let me make this as clear as I possibly can. It starts the moment you own it. Period. No exceptions, no ifs, ands, or buts.

But Tommy, it’s been in the body shop for 20 days?

Nope, no, no, no. The clock is ticking. Your money is tied up from day one. You’re working with a depreciating asset. If you try to think any other way, you are lying to yourself. Don’t lie to yourself.

9 Things To Help You Win The Clock Ticking Game:

1. If you are in a state where there are title issues there has to be a clear line of communication with the office on a minute-by-minute basis to alert you when the title arrives. Any breakdown in communication is costing you money. Staying after these title issues cannot be left up to chance. Somebody has to take ownership of chasing after the titles.

2. It’s a fact that you are having to go further out of your area to buy cars at auctions, but you have to be selective and know what the timeline is that you are dealing with. Anything you can do to reduce transportation days is better. You might even want to consider paying the trucker a bonus for fast delivery. Our software helps you keep track of days in transit.

3. How hard are you trying to buy cars in your own market? Do you have a procedure set up so that when someone comes in and wants to sell you a car that you give them the full routine with a written appraisal? Does your website have a self-appraisal link so the customer can get real numbers from you quickly. Do you have an individual or a team in place working full-time acquiring vehicles from the public?

4. Mine your customer base. For sure, you know which cars you always do well with. Often they are right under your nose hiding within your CRM. Your CRM has some great tools for finding those vehicles and giving you a chance to buy the car, trade the car or ultimately sell the owner a new car.

5. How about a unique and separate website that drives the customer to your website to sell you their car?

6. If you’re in a market with CarMax, consider promoting that if the customer brings their CarMax appraisal to you within 7 days of the appraisal, that you will give them more for their car than CarMax or give them $100 cash if you can’t beat CarMax’s offer. What do you have to lose? Suppose you buy 10 extra cars this month and also pay out $1000 in loser fees. Do ‘da math, what did you make on the 10 extra cars?

7. Fix your service and recon issues. I know it sounds likeI’m picking on service a lot and that’s not my intent. I just know in most dealerships it’s the same old, same old. How many total days are being wasted from the time the car is acquired until the time it gets on the lot and online? In today’s age of speed, you have to find every day that you can if you’re gonna win the “meter game.” My UpYourGross software comes with a free “Recon Tool.”

8. Make sure you include in your “save-a-deal” meeting every morning a list of all vehicles that are either in transit or tied up due to title issues. The more you pick up the intensity on these units, the faster things will happen.

9. Pick up the intensity level. Not just you, but the entire team has to understand that any day that a vehicle is not on the lot/online it’s costing the dealership big money.10. Consider hiring a “Chaser.” A chaser is just that. It’s someone who chases your units through the system to ensure nothing sits any longer than absolutely necessary.

When does the clock start? When you own it.

Control what you can control. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs.

Demand More of Yourself

One of the things you often hear leaders talking about is operating at a higher standard. Leaders are constantly pushing the theme to the troops in one message after another.

What some leaders fail to realize is that in order for the team to operate at a higher standard, the leader has to operate at a higher standard. As the leader’s standards improve or erode, so goes the team.

The standard setting by the leader is often the missing piece when it comes to growing and developing the team’s culture, progress and esprit de corps.

The standards you are setting are a culmination of the decisions you make each day. From the simplest decisions of just being nice, to the more difficult ones like resolving a conflict with customers and/or team members.

Holding yourself to a higher standard means ensuring that you are productive and making things happen today. A great motto to keep in mind is “speed of the boss, speed of the crew.”

On the other hand, if you’re the sort of leader that goes around telling others to make something happen, all you’re doing is creating hate and discontent. If you’re going to talk-the-talk, then you better walk-the-walk.

97% of people and organizations operated at average or below standards. To be part of the 3% of the elite who are operating at a higher standard, then you need to demand excellence of yourself. Only when you demand a higher standard of excellence of yourself will the organization begin to move toward the top 3%.

If you were writing a book on higher standards and each chapter was a day-by-day account of the standards you set, would you want to include today as a chapter in your book? That’s all I’m gonna ask, Tommy

Jim Valvano & Matthew McConaughey

In 1983, against long odds, Jim Valvano led his underdog NC State Wolfpack basketball team to the NCAA basketball championship.

He’s also very much remembered for his inspirational 1993 ESPY Awards speech given just eight weeks before he died of cancer.

His motto was, “Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up.” In that speech he said there are three things we should do every day:

1. Laugh.

2. Think. You should spend some time in thought.

3. Cry. You should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy.

His point was if you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day.

Matthew McConaughey won the best actor award at the Oscars in 2014. He said he needs three things in his life to survive:

1. Someone to look up to. I would also suggest you need someone to look up to. It might be God, someone in your family, business or someone who’s mentored you.

2. Someone to look forward to. In his case, and yours as well, he looks forward to his family.

What do you have going on in your life that you look forward to? Is it accomplishing the next great challenge?

3. Someone to chase. He chases his hero. He said he was chasing himself in 10-year increments. That too makes sense. We all need something or someone to chase. Being in the chase makes us better.

Laughing, thinking, crying, having someone to look up to, something to look forward to and something to chase is what fuels the passion of life.

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

The Parallel Between Used Cars and Salespeople

Two of the biggest mistakes I’ve observed over the years is dealers hire salespeople when they “need” them and they buy used cars when they “need” them.


If you wait until you “need” salespeople, you are likely to hire in a rush and hire the wrong salespeople. Advertising for “salespeople” isn’t generally going to bring the best candidates to the table.

In larger dealerships you would be wise to have a regularly scheduled new hire salesperson’s training class on a specific week of each month.

If you are in a position to do so, you should require every manager on the front side of the dealership to personal recruit someone for that class. If it floats your boat, pay the manager a decent bonus if the recruit survives the first 90 days. You could even tie volume or gross to each salesperson as a qualifier for the manager to be paid the bonus.

Even if you’re a smaller store, your source of salespeople should come from personally recruiting by all your staff members.

This may sound a little harsh, but there’s always 10% of your people that need “to go.” Thus, if you care about growing, continuous recruiting, hiring, and training is a necessity not a luxury.

When it comes to used cars the worst time to buy used cars is when you “need” them. If you wake up one day and you need two truckloads of used cars and if you go to the auction and buy two truckloads of used cars you end up with the “wrong” used cars.

Never forget some of the best days you have at the auctions is when you come back with zero used cars.

Stop buying and hiring when you “need” to. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

How Long Does It Take You?

How Long?

How long does it take to know if they can do it? Do what?

Do whatever it is you’ve hired someone to do.

Does it take a week?
Does it take a month?
Does it take 90 days?
Does it take 6 months?
Does it take 6 years?

How long does it take you to figure out if you’ve got the right person or the wrong person in the job?

Part of that decision-making process might depend on:

1. How much have you invested in the selection process of putting the right person in the right job?

2. Did you put someone in the job because they were the “next up?”

3. How much have you invested in their training and development?

4. How much have you invested of your own time coaching and teaching the person?

5. Does your organization give people the tools they need in order to be successful?

6. Do you make the effort to get legitimate feedback from those around you that “know” about how this person is performing?

How long does it take for you to figure out if they can or they can’t?

That’s all I’m gonna ask. Tommy Gibbs