History Lesson

I wasn’t a very good history student. I couldn’t rationalize why I needed to know what had happened a hundred years ago. I could not have cared less. Actually, I hated history.

As an adult I have come to appreciate history and wish I had paid more attention in my history classes as I now find it amazingly interesting.

George Santayana, a Spanish-born philosopher wrote in his book, The Life of Reason, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Many in the car business keep repeating the same mistakes and don’t understand why they are always fighting with the same issues. If you are not willing to change, what else can you expect?

The two things I hear dealers complain about the most are the mistakes in their used car inventory and how difficult it is to hire people.

The reason you can’t hire people is because of the type of people you keep going after. You’re trying to hire the same type of people that you did back in the 70s and 80s. Paying on gross profit has very little appeal to generation X, Y and Z.

As a matter of fact it’s starting to having less and less appeal to all sales people as they have come to understand just how little control they actually have over gross profit these days. When you combine the old way of paying with a tired and worn out selling system it’s easy to see why it’s hard to hire people in this day and age.

By and large the way many dealers manage their used car inventory is the same as it was 20 years ago. Dealers (buyers/used car managers) buy cars based on a combination of gut instinct and a little pretending that they are using some software to guide them. Their emotions still control what they buy, what they keep and how long they keep them.

I often hear comments like “Why should I get rid of that car when I can’t replace it?” Really, really…you want some more of that? If it hasn’t sold in 45 days why would you want to go out and buy some more cars that you haven’t been able to sell?

Many dealers want to stay with the “old way of doing things.” They price cars at a certain amount of gross and then want to hold the line on those prices as long as possible. As I stated in a previous article, it’s ok to go for the home run, but you also need to know when it’s important to get on base any way you can.

Because you don’t adjust the pricing fast enough (and you’re not using my Life Cycle Management Program) you wake up one day, wholesale those units and lose your shirt. History keeps on repeating itself and you wonder why?

If through your history you keep finding yourself struggling with these same problems over and over again what’s it going to take for you to change? Yes, change is hard; it’s never easy to go down a different path. To do so you have to clear out a lot of old debris. It takes time, patience and commitment. The alternative is for you to keep repeating history.

You cannot control the past, but you can control your future and you can make your own history by having the guts and courage to change those things you know you need to do. That’s all I’m gonna say. Tommy Gibbs

Are you Changing because you see the light or feel the heat?