Dealers are always asking "How can we sell more used cars?" The answer is "the dealer." Yep, the dealer is the answer to selling more used cars. Always has been, always will be.
The definition I’m going to use for the dealer in this article is the PIC (Person in Charge.) In almost all cases the PIC has a used car manager or management team that they have high expectations of and continue to be frustrated with in terms of production and profits.
The common theme among dealerships is that they need a used car manager/used car department that can get the job done. There are a few used car managers that can actually "get it done." They understand both the technology side and the common sense side of the business and the dealer knows how to lead these special people. These are few and far between.
The answer to fixing your used car business is the PIC. The PIC is who can improve the used car numbers the fastest. Most PICs want to sit in their offices and push buttons. If you are the PIC and want to take a major leap with your used car business then you need to become the used car manager. You read that right, become the used car manager.
I don’t buy your excuse that you don’t have the time. Most dealers have a good Comptroller, a good Parts Manager, a good Body Shop Manager, a Good Service Manager and a Good Sales Manager. Most of these departments run better when you keep your nose out of their business.
You have the time if you want to make the time. Far too often the PIC wants to be just that…the Person in Charge…they don’t want to dirty their little paw paws with the day to day issues of the used car department and market.
In all my travels around the country the number one common thread for the Cracker Jack used car operations is the PIC. I can tell you that as a new car dealer for 20 plus years I had the most success with my used car operation when I personally took ownership of it. Every time I turned it over to someone else it went south. That’s not because I was a great used car manager and the people I turned it over to were not. It’s just a fact of life.
I’m not the smartest used car manager that’s ever lived, but because I took ownership of the used car department, I made it work and I made it work really well. As the Dealer (PIC) I could make really quick decisions. If I made a mistake I fixed it and moved on.
When you’re the PIC you know anything and everything that goes on in the used car department. When your typical used car manager makes a mistake he/she can’t always fix it without the wrath of the boss coming down on them.
If you’re the used car manager you are operating under a handicap. It’s called experience. Not your experience, but the experience of the PIC. The PIC has been burned so many times with other used car managers they have tied your hands to the point that no matter what you may think or want to do/try they just can’t turn you loose.
So, even though they themselves won’t dig in they won’t let you dig in but so much. But, they still have these grandiose expectations of what they want out of the used car department. I can tell you until the PIC becomes the used car manager and actually takes the reins it’s never going to happen. And, knowing human nature the odds are about 90% that it’s not going to happen.
Let me share one final thought with you. The biggest complaint I hear from management these days is either the service department is too slow or too high. Without a doubt the PIC can fix this problem. When the used car department becomes the dealer’s "baby," you will just about be guaranteed that something is gonna change pretty darn quick in the service department.
So Mr. or Ms. PIC it’s a matter of choice. You can choose to make it happen or sit around and wish for the "Superman Used Car Manager" to show up at your front door.
And even if they do show up, they will leap a few tall buildings, might even run faster than a speeding bullet, but for sure they will eventually hit a brick wall. They can’t jump as high as you and they can’t run as fast as you. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs