Did you notice that I didn’t write a newsletter last week? So, maybe you didn’t notice. I really wish you had. Or maybe you did? If you did I’m sorry I disappointed you, but even I have some weeks where I have trouble getting my brain in gear.
Whether you noticed or not, I’m thinking there may be some other things you’ve not noticed:
Did you notice that you are getting really comfortable with having aged units around because the market is up? I’m going to give you a pass on it right now, but if you get sloppy and let this become your new "marketing plan," you’re going to wake up in a few months and have some serious problems on your hands.
Did you notice that the selling processes you think you are using are not the selling processes you’re using? It’s very likely that the members of your management team are doing their "own thing." If you don’t believe me 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. Might want to re-think that. You’ll be surprised at how many more deals you will make and how many more used cars you will end up keeping and retailing.
Did you notice that the management team does not 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. Had you been focused on Life Cycle Management that unit would have been gone long ago and at little or no loss.
Did you notice that the sales and management team have not done a "lot walk" in weeks and weeks? Did you ever wonder why your sales people don’t sell more used? It’s because they don’t know the inventory. Might want to re-think that one too.
Did you notice that your used car manager is still buying cars by the seat of his/her pants? It takes strong discipline to utilize the data from vAuto, Auto Count USA and Auto Trader. "The Pain of Discipline or the Pain of Regret." You get to pick.
Did you notice you get lots of lip service on those processes you know need to be followed in all the departments in the dealership, but aren’t? Guarding the processes is one of the most important functions of management.
Did you notice you’ve got junk all over the place and the walls are dirty? No really, I’m not kidding. Often times we become oblivious to what’s around us. Open your eyes, you won’t believe what you are letting happen. Quick, go check out your restrooms. Ugh, ugh, ugh!
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 everyday. Come on, are you really focused on that number everyday? Didn’t think so.
Did you notice that your traffic is down? Well of course it is because you’ve gotten a bit cocky about the pricing of your used cars. Trust me, price drives them to the store believe whatever you want. I’m not saying you shouldn’t shoot the moon, but you have to understand that the Internet has changed the game forever.
Did you notice your grosses are down? Oh that might be up just a tad up right now, but overall they are down. That’s because the sales team is not 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 sometimes you just don’t notice? I could go on and on and make an endless list of things you might not be noticing. Your job as a leader is to notice what’s going. You can only do that by taking the blinders off.
But, just noticing stuff isn’t the real answer. Taking action and fixing stuff you notice is the key. Just remember what Mark Twain said: "Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt."
That’s all I’m going to say. Tommy Gibbs