Are You Lazy?

Yes, you may very well be lazy. Let’s admit it, we all get lazy once in a while. Some people are lazy all the while. (I meant to say it that way.)If you’re not lazy and if you’re serious, dead serious about wanting to sell more cars, then you should do a “lot walk” at least once a week. I didn’t say trade walk, I said lot walk.Before I share a great tip with you on how to make it work to the maximum, I want to define it for you so we are all on the same page.A lot walk is done once a week, preferably on Friday after you’ve had your weekend “kick off” sales meeting. All the members of the sales management team, the sales staff and the service manager go on the lot walk. There should be very few exceptions for any of these people missing the lot walk. You will hear all the excuses in the world. You should say “Talk to the hand…you’re going on the lot walk.”The lot walk should be orchestrated by the Dealer, GM or GSM depending on how you are set up. If that’s you, you are going to be the one that stirs the pot during the lot walk, but the real spokespeople are going to be the used car manager and the sales staff.

The Used Car Manager-I am appalled and horrified at how little some used car managers know about their inventory. They know very little about their cars and even more shocking they often do not know where all their cars are.

A real used car manager thinks of each of these cars as if they were his/her children. They know what they wore to school today, they know when they last ate, they know when they last pooped, they know who they hang out with, they know if they are late from school, and they know if they oversleep. They are always very concerned about their “children.”

Rob Seifert is one of the best used car managers I ever worked with. Yes, Rob had his quirks, his strengths and weaknesses just like all of us, but one thing Rob always knew was his inventory. From the moment we owned it until it went away, he knew everything about it, where it was at any given moment and what we needed to do to get it sold.

The Sales Staff-if you’ve struggled with the lot walk in the past I want to share another layer to the equation that will help you over the speed bumps. My good friend Tim Deese introduced me to Adopt-a-Car back in the ’80s.

It works very well when you have the discipline to work it. It has the potential to evaporate quickly so I want to suggest you consider trying it for 60 days. When I say try it, I mean announce that you’re only going to do it for 60 days so you don’t look stupid when the evaporation factor bites you in the butt. You can always renew it.

The fundamental adopt-a-car program is that each sales person has their own used car inventory and they get paid extra money if they sell their own units. If another sales person sells one of their cars they still get paid on it.

If a sales person trades a car in, that car is part of his/her inventory. All other inventory is distributed on a rotating basis to the entire staff. When you first start the program you will have some orphan cars that you would do the same with. My suggested pay plan looks like this:

In order to make this work you have to have the discipline to take cars away when a sales person doesn’t adhere to the program. The main reason we are going to pay them to sell their own inventory is to get them to help us make sure the car is standing tall at all times.

Here are some reasons to take a car away:

1. Cosmetic problems
2. Trash in the interior
3. Gas on empty
4. FTC and/or window stickers edgy
5. Hang tags not properly displayed

And now for the lot walk kicker. During the course of the lot walk the sales people must be able to recite the following on their inventory:

1. Year, make and model of the car
2. Mileage of the car
3. How long have we owned it?
4. The Internet Price and Last price change
5. Something they know about this car. It may be one owner or something they looked up about this model on the Internet.

You can come up with your own list, but if you are going to pay them to sell their own inventory then you need to require them to know something about it.

Make sure that when you do the lot walk you take a copy of the inventory with you and check them off as you go. “Voila,” there will be some missing cars and the used car manager and sales staff need to have an answer. Anything else is just plain lazy.

I’m not lazy. That’s why I send you this stuff. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs