The Enemy Is Near

Woody Hayes’ (the legendary coach of Ohio State University) career was cut short because he punched a Clemson University player on the Ohio State sideline.

Coach Hayes once said, “Paralyze resistance with persistence.” Regardless of what you think about Coach Hayes, you have to give him credit for a very powerful statement.

Change, continuous improvement, and daily disciplines are often met with resistance. Resistance is not a generational thing, it’s just a thing. It’s a thing that’s always been present. It’s been around since the caveman.

There are always strange forces of nature at work. Resistance is the force of nature against persistence. We’ve all seen very talented people fall flat on their faces because of a lack of persistence.

Talented people will often resist having to be accountable. They like doing their own thing. The lack of discipline is a close cousin of resistance.

Persistence can be a two-edged sword. We’ve all known salespeople who drove us nuts. They bug you to death and work you until your nerves are on edge. But, the bottom line is they were persistent. Persistence wins over time and persistence will sell lots of cars.

There is always room for improvement and you should never be satisfied…and you should never let them be satisfied. Becoming satisfied leads to complacency.

To keep the “boogie man of complacency” away, you as a leader have to be persistent in all things that have been deemed to be important to the success of the organization.

It is so easy to lose persistence. Being persistent is not something you do once in a while. It is something that has to be done every minute of every day.

Discipline is the twin brother of persistence. Discipline is what carries you through the down moments; those moments when you want to throw your hands in the air and say the heck with it.

I like to think of persistence as always staying after it regardless of your current state of mind. Being highly motivated can come and go. Even when you are not feeling all that motivated you can still remain persistent.

Being persistent means having intestinal fortitude and a willingness to grind it out regardless of the obstacles that keep coming your way.

Think of obstacles as just bugs on a windshield. Persistence is the windshield wiper. Wipe ’em off and keep digging.

The enemy is resistance. Your sword is persistence. Fight the good fight.

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

Buying and Selling In Today’s Market

1. Record front grosses are being achieved
2. Those record front grosses will be hard to maintain
2. Dealerships are achieving record profits
3. Record profits won’t continue
5. Volume is down
6. Volume will continue to be down
7. You will overpay at the auctions
8. You have always overpaid at the auctions
9. You cannot give up on buying at the auctions
10. You must have a different and unique strategy for auction purchases
11. You need to have a quicker trigger on auction purchases
12. Stealing trades at the front door will be harder to do
13. The big boys are aggressively buying your customers’ cars
14. You’re going to see less and less trades showing up at your front door
15. Did I say you need a different strategy for buying at the auctions? You need a different strategy for buying at the auctions.

If you play smart, you will always have the winning hand. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs.

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.

Cheap Enought?

One of my favorite things to do when working with dealers is to discuss their oldest used vehicles in stock.

If the oldest unit is 55 days old or 155 days old, 99.9% of the time they all have a storyline tied to them.

The conversation will often evolve to where the used car manager will say “We have it priced #1 in the market, it’s a nice car and I don’t know why it hasn’t sold.”

Some of you won’t like my response. But, my response is based on reality. And the reality is, if it’s priced #1 in the market and it still hasn’t sold…it’s not cheap enough.

We’re not talking about a fresh piece. We’re talking about your oldest unit in stock. And, it may have a flaw you failed to identify soon enough.

There’s a butt for every seat. That butt will show up when you make it cheap enough.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Hello Speedy

I’m not talking about turning your used cars faster. I’m talking about picking up how fast you walk. The tempo of your gait says a lot about you.

If you want to energize your team you first have to energize yourself.

If you know me, you know I’m not a very patient person. One of the things that drives me nuts is when people waddle along on a moving sidewalk.

If you’ve ever traveled through the Atlanta airport, I’m sure you’ve seen the moving sidewalks that come to an end, you get off, walk about 25 feet and get onto another one.

I was recently on one with a group walking like a buffalo herd that had just eaten a massive meal. After the exit, I decided to see if I could out-walk them on the side while they walked on the moving sidewalk. Of course, I won.

When you pick up your speed, you energize yourself. When you energize yourself, you energize your team. Speed and energy go together.

Slow walkers tend to think slow and move slow. Not only are they slow, but they are also slowing down everyone around them. By and large, they aren’t going anywhere. It’s obvious that wherever they are going isn’t important or they’d be in more of a hurry to get there.

People who walk fast want to get somewhere fast. But more than that, fast walkers are people that have high energy and are go-getters. Fast walkers are confident, courageous, and all about having a no-fuss in life.

They expect other people to keep up with them and they have a low tolerance for those not in a hurry to get things done.

They often don’t tolerate a lot of words, and if they do, they want you to spit it out fast and get on with it.

Think fast.
Talk fast.
Move fast.
Be fast.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

You’re Not Ready-You Never Are

That’s different than not being prepared.

You’re never ready.

But, no one is ever ready for the next step.

You’re not ready for college.

You’re not ready for life.

You’re not ready for marriage.

You’re not ready for the next promotion.

You’re not ready for your next business venture.

Just because you’re not ready doesn’t mean you don’t prepare.

Not being prepared means you haven’t studied enough.

You haven’t read enough.

You haven’t sought the right mentors.

You haven’t listened enough.

You haven’t asked enough of the right questions.

You haven’t explored the Internet enough.

Not being prepared means you just haven’t done enough,

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Who Wants The Ball?

One of my favorite basketball drills as both a player and a coach was a drill where two players are lined up, side-by-side with the coach standing in between.

They are spaced about 10 feet apart all facing in the same direction. The coach will roll the ball on the floor and on the sound of the whistle the two players will scramble to see who can come up with the ball. Floor burns on the knees and arms are guaranteed.

One of the reasons my nose is crooked is the result of hitting someone’s head while going after the ball. But, I got the ball, broken nose and all. It’s not always about talent. It’s about wanting the ball.

In sports, business, and life you’ve got to want the ball. As a leader, one of your goals should be to have people on your team that want the ball with every ounce of their souls.

Far too often we have team members, including managers, who wouldn’t dare get a floor burn. They stand there and watch the ball roll.

You will often hear them complain that nobody will give them the ball.

If you want the ball, let it be known you want it, and then go get it.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Why Change?

Why do we always keep changing things around here?

Why can’t we get it right?

These are questions people often ask when change happens in your organization.

Those are legitimate questions when you’re having people changes.

Changing people once in a while is part of being in business. Too frequent people changes will keep you on a roller coaster to nowhere. If you’re the leader and you’re having too many people changes, the common denominator is looking at you in the mirror.

That said, there are times when if you can’t get people to change, then you do need to change the people.

If you’re struggling when changing processes, selling systems, pay plans, procedures, etc. then it’s likely the culture needed to move you to the next level hasn’t been properly developed.

Besides establishing the right culture, the clearer you can be about the specific change you’re hoping for the more likely it is you’ll actually achieve it.

Getting buy-in is critical to enacting successful changes.

Of course, you may have the power to change anything you want, but that doesn’t mean you should always use it.

You’re not running a democracy, you’re running a business. But…

Most changes should start with a “trial balloon.” Toss it in the air with those that are going to have the greatest influence on the implementation and those who will be impacted the most.

It doesn’t mean you go with the wind.

It doesn’t mean you’re wishy-washy.

It simply means you’re figuring out how hard and how much groundwork you will need to lay in order to have the best chance for a successful change.

The most successful changes you will ever implement are when people think it was their idea.

The least successful changes you will ever attempt to make are when people think it was your idea.

When you’re through changing, you’re through.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs