Did You Notice?

Did you notice that you are getting really comfortable with having aged units around?

You’ve justified in your mind that it’s ok because you convinced yourself during the pandemic that you could sell anything at any time and make money on it. Since you think that’s a brilliant plan, please let me know how the ROI turns out for you when you let crap age on you.

Did you notice that the selling processes you think your team is using, aren’t the selling processes you’re using?

Some members of your management team are doing their “own thing.” If you don’t believe it, sit down individually with your sales people and ask them how each manager starts and works a deal.

Did you notice that you are no longer doing a “save-a-deal meeting” and “trade walk” each day?

You’ve accepted it as fact that everybody is so busy that they don’t have time to do it. You’ll be surprised at how many more deals you will make by doing a “save-a-deal meeting.” And, how many more used cars you will end up keeping and retailing when the management team does a “trade walk.”

Did you notice that the management team doesn’t understand Life Cycle Management?

Life Cycle Management starts on day one, not day 61. If you are having aged units and/or losing money on units wholesaled at the end of the life cycle it’s because they are not using “Early Warning Radar.” If you don’t think Life Cycle Management is important, go ahead and tell me the story on your oldest unit in stock. Yep, they all have a story. You ignored the story on day one so now you get to the rehash the story on day 61. Had you been focused on Life Cycle Management, that unit would have been gone long ago with little or no loss and maybe even a profit.

Did you notice that the sales and management team doesn’t do lot walks anymore?

Did you ever wonder why your sales people don’t sell more used? It’s because they don’t know the inventory. Know the difference between a lot walk and a trade walk. Now do them both.

Did you notice that you get lots of lip service on those processes you know need to be followed in all the departments?

Guarding the processes is one of the most important functions of leadership.

Did you notice that the average cost per used car in stock keeps creeping up and up?

The reason it’s happening is because you are not paying attention to it every day. Pressing the average cost down is a fundamental discipline. If every manager doesn’t know the number, you’re not doing your job. The pain of discipline or the pain of regret.

Did you notice that you’re back to selling vehicles for less than what you have them posted online?

That’s because the sales team isn’t sold that you have the best product at the best price. Before you can make the customer a believer you have to get the sales staff to believe. Tracking GAP will create a focus that forces you to hold more gross profit.

Did you notice that a lot of your problematic used cars in stock are either high dollar or purchased at an auction?

If you would print out a list every day of your 10 most expensive units in stock, and distribute to your management team, you would eliminate most of these problem children.

Did you notice that sometimes you just don’t notice? Your job as a leader is to notice what’s going on. My job is to keep reminding you. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Why You’re Winning

Why You’re Winning
I’ve written several articles of late talking about how dealers have benefited from the law of supply and demand.

Let’s think about this as two legs of a three-legged stool.

The third and most important leg that I’ve not discussed is “smarts.”
Archie Manning of the famed quarterback family holds a quarterback training camp each summer.

Archie says, “The best advice I try to give to a young quarterback is you need to know what you are doing because if you know where to go with the football, you can get rid of it, and throw it, and you won’t get hit.”
And that’s where your smarts have played a bigger role than maybe even you have given yourself credit for.

Knowing where to go with the football has played a far bigger role in your bottom line than many have acknowledged.

Today’s dealers are smarter, and because they are smarter, when the law of supply and demand balanced itself, the smart dealers have made the most money in the history of their businesses.

When you combine the amount of data available to dealers today and the intellect to understand it, then you have figured out where to go with the football.

In the long term, knowing where to go with the football makes you a lot more money than a favorable law of supply and demand ever could. Supply and demand will not always be in your favor.

Being smart will.

You’re not just winning because you got lucky. You’re winning because you’re smart. Stay smart. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs


It’s Thanksgiving and time to give thanks.

If you’re like me for sure you have a lot to be thankful for. Among many things I’m thankful for are your friendship and support.

Thanksgiving also starts the closeout of the year. It centers around Black Friday and rolls through the last week of the year. Like it or not, 2023 is already here.

I’ve listed some very basic ideas you need to take into consideration that will help you finish strong and get ready for your best year ever.

A. Re-commit yourself- and your thinking towards being the very best you can be. Take stock of all those great ideas running around in your head.

Write them down and make a commitment to get them done by certain dates. Post it on the wall in several places that you will see frequently. If you have a private restroom, put it on the mirror.

The dealers and GMs with the most successful used car operations are those who have taken ownership of the used car department.

The more involved you get, the more success your dealership will have. If you’re not committed to the used car business, it’s a safe bet your team isn’t either.

B. Re-evaluate the appearance of your inventory. One of those disciplines might be to do a weekly lot walk. Every car in your inventory must be touched. If it’s in service, touch it. If it’s in prep, touch it. If it’s in the budget center, touch it.

Everybody touches it. Even if you think you have your disciplines well defined inside your head, you’d be well served to make a written list and check them off from time to time.

D. Re-Recon-Take every unit over 30 days old back through a recon process. (You’ve already missed your best window of opportunity to make gross; that would be the first 20 days.)

E. Re-Invest in yourself and your management team. Do something to gain some knowledge. Hire me, visit CarMax, or visit a dealer friend in another state that does a good job in used. Attend a workshop. Join a Twenty Group. Join a Used Car Twenty Group. Do something besides sitting there and waiting for something to happen.

F. Re-think- your management team. Do you have the right person running your used car operation?

Yes, that person may have been with you for years. Loyalty sometimes equals mediocrity. Maybe they have some great skills, but the fact is that you may not be making the best use of their talents.

I’m thankful for lots of things this holiday season and I’m especially thankful that you’ve taken the time to read my little Zingers.

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

21 Phrases That Make You Better

1. I trust your good judgment.

2. How can I help?

3. What do you think?

4. I’m proud of you.

5. We can fix this.

6. You’re important to our team.

7. It’s not a problem. It’s an opportunity.

8. I need your help.

9. How can we get faster and better?

10. Tell me more.

11. What do you want to be when you grow up?

12. Whatcha got?

13. What’s working?

14. What’s not working?

15. What’s the number one complaint you’re hearing?

16. You have my full support.

17. What else?

18. You’re the best.

19. Love ‘ya.

20. Tell me about your family

21. Let’s go to work.

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

Absolutes vs. Exceptions

Absolutes vs. Exceptions

Absolutes are a powerful tool toward creating a disciplined organization.

The downside of absolutes is it chokes off the potential to have an acceptable exception.

Exceptions break the rule of discipline. Exceptions soon become the norm.

When exceptions become the norm chaos breaks out.

The type of chaos I’m referencing isn’t actually like a bomb going off. This chaos is slow and gradual, often not recognized, and then – whamo – there it is, its ugly face screaming at you, “What the heck happened?”

Now here’s the real deal for those of you looking to become better leaders. You can have absolutes and exceptions in the same house. They can actually hang out with each other once in a blue moon.

True leaders can use them both and chaos will never show its ugly face. Granting an exception and going back to absolutes is very doable. The problem with leadership is that very few leaders have the skill to make effective use of them both.

Most people in leadership positions are stuck with one or the other.

At any given moment one is just as bad as the other.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs


Being a former Marine, part of my core values as an individual comes from my Marine Corps training. And no doubt a large part of my success in life comes from being well disciplined.

Many of my disciplines have come from being an athlete where you cannot achieve any level of success without discipline. Without question people with a military and/or a sports background make better employees/team members because they are well disciplined.

Discipline shows up in many forms in the workplace including being on time, achieving assignments, how you dress, how you talk, what you say, how you say it and who you say it to.

I cannot fathom someone achieving a key leadership position unless they are highly disciplined. If you do not have a sports background, military background or if you didn’t grow up in an environment where there was a focus on discipline then you are at a total disadvantage as you attempt to climb the ladder of success. It is virtually impossible to achieve success in sports or the military without discipline, and business and life are the same.

It’s pretty much a sure bet that if you are un-disciplined in your work life that your personal life is no different and chaos has become your best friend.
Discipline is about controlling willpower/self-control over one’s desires to do the wrong or easy thing. It’s about doing the right thing when the wrong thing keeps screaming “why bother.”

Focus on improving your discipline regardless of where you have come from and where you might be today. Observe others around you who you deem to be well disciplined and start to emulate them. Pretty soon others will start to emulate you and now the tribe becomes very powerful.

Only the well-disciplined ever get to be the chief of the tribe. “The pain of discipline or the pain of regret.” You get to pick. That’s all I’m gonna say.

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

You Know Where The Problem Is

“Some people will not change until the pain is so great
that they have to.”

One of the more interesting things I see in my line of work is dealers and managers often know they have a problem, but don’t do what’s necessary to fix it.

These are smart people with years of experience and plenty of data and information to conclude that something isn’t working as well as it should or could.

They know there’s a better way, but stay on a road named “frustration.” When your staff becomes frustrated, the growth of your organization is stymied, and your bottom line impacted.

The two examples I see most often are:

1. The relationship between the parts and service departments and the used car department. Sometimes it’s the cost of parts and repairs and sometimes it’s workflow.

Never forget that you can’t sell them and make the most money if you can’t get them to the front line in a timely manner. Nothing drives sales management crazier than seeing units sitting out back waiting to go through recon.

A large percentage of the dealers don’t know where the bottleneck is or how long it takes to get units through the system and ready for retail. They know they have a problem, they just don’t know how big it is and how much it’s hurting their bottom line.

Each department is a separate business and there’s pressure on each department/business to make a profit. Therefore, it often feels like our business model, by design, is set up for the departments to work against each other. Watch this 3 minute VIDEO on my recon tool.

2. Overaged used cars. Dealers know it’s not profitable to keep used cars past 60 days. Most know the profit starts to take a serious dip on day 30. Profit and ROI are going south, and the dealer looks the other way. How such intelligent people allow this to go on and on is extremely hard to understand.

Ignoring the problem creates a culture that lacks discipline, which over the course of time will vibrate throughout the store. You cannot win on a consistent basis when there’s a breakdown of discipline.

More often than not we know how to fix the problem. And, more often than not we don’t fix it. We don’t address the problem due to fear. Fear can be real or imaginary. We often fear that if we attack the problem that someone will quit because they can’t live with the new approach.

If you fear asking people to change to something that’s going to make you, them, and your organization better, then there may be an even bigger problem that needs fixing.

Maybe you need to fix your thinking.

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

990 Newsletters Oct. 2022

I’ve written at least 990 used car newsletters since 2003. That’s not an exact count because for several years I wrote a second newsletter each week focused on leadership, so the count is well north of 1000.

To put it in perspective, that’s 52 newsletters each year for 19 years sharing information that either gives you a different way of thinking about the business or reminding you of stuff you already know.

Those newsletters come out each Wednesday, and on Fridays I write another that promotes my training, consulting, and recon software tool. Both newsletters go out to the same group of over 10,0000 potential readers.

What’s funny is I get very few unsubscribes when the Wednesday informational newsletter goes out. On the other hand, the newsletter promoting my business always gets a handful of unsubscribes.

I’m left to believe that if it’s free and giving readers good information all is well.

But, if I ask for business, be ready to say goodbye to a few folks who become offended that I would have the nerve to do so.

I give, you get. I ask, you go.

Of course, in the big picture it’s a very small percentage of people that push the unsubscribe button and I’m extremely grateful for all of you that have hung with me for so many years.

And, I always appreciate your comments even when they take issue with something brilliant I’ve written.

Just remember the most fundamental discipline in sales is to ask for the order.

I’m always going to ask you for the order and you should too.

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

You’re Not Running a Democracy

I’m a big fan of making the team inclusive of what’s going on.

I’m a big fan of educating the team.

I’m a big fan of getting insight from those who are in the trenches.

I’m a big fan of listening to the troops.

But, I’m not a big fan of rule by committee.

Ruling by committee is an easy way to avoid accountability.

Ruling by committee allows us to blame no one when it fails.

Ruling by committee is a sickness designed to allow those in charge to accept responsibility for nothing.

Ruling by committee is a way to hide in the back room. Ruling by committee is peeking through the closet door.

Step out of the closet, come into the room and be counted. If you’re ruling by committee, stop it! You’re not running a democracy, you’re running a business.

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