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.

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.


I want to speak to those of you that are in charge of the hiring and struggle to find that superstar used car manager. The used car manager you need may very well be right under your own roof, and you’re walking right by him or her a dozen times a day.

For whatever misconceived reason, when you need a used car manager, the first thing you want to do is find a used car guru that works someplace else and lure them away.

I don’t have to tell you the challenges of hiring from the outside. I don’t have to, but I will.

1. The person you hire isn’t going to have the same culture that you’ve been working so hard to develop.

2. Their thinking about the used car business isn’t going to necessarily align with yours. That doesn’t mean either of you has it right or wrong. It just means it’s going to be frustrating and more than likely expensive.

3. If you’re running an ad in Automotive News, most of the respondents are going to be from outside your area. I’m not even going to attempt to list all the issues tied to bringing someone in from afar. If you don’t understand those issues then you’ve got a lot more problems than I can help you with.

4. When you hire from the outside you are looking for a miracle worker to fix the mess left from the last miracle worker. Most likely the mess will get bigger. All you’re doing is rinse and repeat.

5. You’re doing nothing to encourage people to want to grow and develop within your organization when you keep going to the outside. You need to promote from within.

The real answer is that you don’t need someone from the outside with a bunch of experience. What you need is to commit to giving someone from within a chance and a whole bunch of your personal time and energy.

What you need is:

1. Someone that’s a young “thinker.”

2. Someone that has high energy.

3. Someone that believes in your culture and store.

4. Someone that’s coachable

.5. Someone that has common sense.

6. Someone that understands technology.

7. Someone that has integrity.

8. Someone that has a strong work ethic.

9. Someone that has good communication skills.

10. Someone that’s hungry.

If you don’t have someone or multiple someones like this in your organization then you need to rethink your organization. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Courage & Leadership

We often read and hear about courage as it applies to heroic acts during war, when people are dealing with pain or dangerous circumstances.

The term is also loosely tossed around in the world of sports. Depending on one’s point of view, those may all very well be true.

I like to think of courage in business and politics in several simple ways:

1. Courage is doing the right thing when it’s easy to do the wrong thing. Courage means taking a stand even when sometimes taking a stand is not the most popular thing. Never forget it’s not about who is right, but what is right.

2. Courage is about changing direction when your decisions are less than perfect. That means saying, “I got it wrong, let’s go in another direction.” You’re not always going to get it right.

3. Courage is having enough sense to listen to those around you and be able to separate bull shit/self-interest that some people have toward self-serving goals. Courage is standing up to such nonsense and doing the right thing.

4. Courage is the willingness to stick your head above the fence once in a while knowing full well someone’s going to throw a rotten tomato in your face. It’s a willingness to try something different. It’s a willingness to get out of your comfort zone. It’s a willingness to accept harsh criticism.

Sometimes I tell you stuff that I know you’re not going to like. Sometimes I poke my head above the fence and sometimes you throw a rotten tomato at me.

If nothing else, I’ll help you improve your aim.

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

The Green New Deal

For years now many of you have been in denial about what the new green deal is all about. Some of us have been cheering it on loud and clear, but still, many just don’t “get it.” You have fought it and fought it, and told those of us who cheered it on that we were stupid, we’re idiots, and it will never fly.

Then the pandemic hit and you were like, “Hey, charging full window sticker and being a one-price dealer ain’t so bad.”

You have finally come around and said, “All this green cash going in my pocket is pretty cool.” Some of you have even become a little humble and said, “Man, I wish we had done this long ago,” or “I hope we never go back to the old way again.

Have you ever made this much money on new cars? No

Have you ever made this much money on used cars? No

Have you ever made this much money in F&I? No

Have your CSI scores ever been better? No

Have your sales and management staff ever been happier? No

You’re riding the fat green wave wagon. A few of you are hitting a little bump in the road occasionally and slipping back into your old ways. Fortunately for you, the law of supply and demand pushes your butt back up into the buckboard and you chug along, smile, and keep counting the greens.

My fear is that you will bump your head, amnesia will kick in, and you’ll think the good old days are the good old days.

For the good of our children and grandchildren, we know we need to stay with this new green deal.

Enjoy the new green deal and remember I told you one price was the way to go long before the pandemic told you so.  That’s all I’m gonna say.