Try Some Old School

The more involved you can get your entire sales staff in your used car department, the more likely they are to sell a few more used cars for you.

Back in the ’80s, I stole the idea of Adopt-a-Car from my good friend Tim Deese, who’s been a used car guru for about the last 35 years.

It works very well when you have the discipline to work it. It has the potential to evaporate quickly so I suggest you consider trying it for 60 days. When I say try it, I mean announce that you’re only going to do it for 60 days so you don’t look stupid when the evaporation factor bites you in the butt. You can always renew it.

The fundamental adopt-a-car program is that each sales person has their own used car inventory and they get paid extra money if they sell their own units. If another sales person sells one of their cars they still get paid on it.

I’d recommend it be $100/$50. It’s easy extra money. If it would make you feel better, then add another $100 to the cost of each unit as it comes into your inventory so that when you finally pay it you’ve already expensed it.

If a sales person trades a car in, that car is part of his/her inventory. All other inventory is distributed on a rotating basis to the entire staff. When you first start the program you will have some orphan cars that you would do the same with.

In order to make this work you have to have the discipline to take cars away when a sales person doesn’t adhere to the program. The main reason we are going to pay them to sell their own inventory is to get them to help us make sure the car is standing tall at all times.

Here are some reasons to take a car away:

1. Cosmetic problems
2. Trash in the interior
3. Gas on empty
4. FTC and/or window stickers edgy
5. Hang tags not properly displayed

And now for the lot walk kicker. During the course of the lot walk, the sales people must be able to recite the following on their inventory:

1. Year, make and model of the car
2. Mileage of the car
3. How long we have owned it
4. The Internet Price and Last price change
5. Something they know about this car. It may be one owner or something they looked up about this model on the Internet.

You can come up with your own list, but if you are going to pay them to sell their own inventory then you need to require them to know something about it.

Make sure that when you do the lot walk you take a copy of the inventory with you and check them off as you go. “Voila,” there will be some missing cars and the used car manager and sales staff need to have an answer.

Adopt-a-Car is old school. Creating accountability is old school. Try some old school, that’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs