You Can Average $3000 on Front Gross Profit

You can make an average of $3,000 per unit on front gross profit. Yep, you can do it.

Achieving $3,000 on the front is easy enough to do. It really is.

You can do it overnight. Yes, all of you can. I believe in you and I know you can do it.

When dealers are screaming about low grosses, they often point to the fact that their cars are priced too low on the internet and therefore the easiest solution is to increase the prices.

The fact is you can improve your grosses dramatically overnight by increasing your prices. I mean really, if you don’t ask for it how do you ever think you will get it? Remember you can always go down but it’s impossible to go up.

Yep, that works for me. Raise your prices, ask for more and you will get more. Gross has always been a state of mind. Whatever mindset you are in then you can achieve it.

So, right now, right this minute, right this second, all of you need to stop giving your cars away, raise your prices and the grosses will go up.

As good as that all sounds there are a number of little problems with raising your prices:

1. Your used car volume is going immediately in the tank.

2. Your total gross is also going so far south you will lose your butt.

3. Your profits are going to be pooh pooh because you have totally cut off the spigot of cars going through service.

4. Stealing trades will become the norm and new car volume will go into the tank because you are reluctant to step up.

Doing used car volume and achieving high used car average gross goes against the laws of nature.

I’m not saying you can’t improve your grosses, but the days of doing $3,000, $2,500, and in some cases $2,000 are history.

Your best opportunity to improve your overall business is to improve your volume. Improving volume improves business in all your departments.

You can’t spend average gross profit. You can spend total gross profit.

Stay tuned for part 2 next week when I’ll give you some realistic tips for actually improving gross profit.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

How Fast Are You?

I’m not talking about turning your used cars faster. I’m talking about picking up how fast you walk. The tempo of your gait says a lot about you. If you want to energize your team you first have to energize yourself.

If you know me, you know I’m not a very patient person. One of the things that drives me nuts is when people waddle along on a moving sidewalk.

If you’ve ever traveled through the Atlanta airport, I’m sure you’ve seen the moving sidewalks that come to an end, you get off, walk about 25 feet and get onto another one.

I was recently on one with a group walking like a buffalo herd that had just eaten a massive meal. After the exit, I decided to see if I could out-walk them on the side while they walked on the moving sidewalk. Of course, I won.

When you pick up your speed, you energize yourself. When you energize yourself, you energize your team. Speed and energy go together.

Slow walkers tend to think slow and move slow. Not only are they slow, but they are also slowing down everyone around them. By and large, they aren’t going anywhere. It’s obvious that wherever they are going isn’t important or they’d be in more of a hurry to get there.

People who walk fast want to get somewhere fast. But more than that, fast walkers are people that have high energy and are go-getters. Fast walkers are confident, courageous and all about having a no-fuss in life. They expect other people to keep up with them and they have a low tolerance for those not in a hurry to get things done.

They often don’t tolerate a lot of words and if they do, they want you to spit it out fast and get on with it.

Think fast.
Talk fast.
Move fast.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Do You Want To Own Your Own Business?

Most of my messages are geared toward management, but today I want to talk to your sales staff. You should forward this to every salesperson on your team and suggest they sign up for my newsletters.

If you’re a salesperson, I want to help you re-frame what you do every day and what a great opportunity you might be missing. If you’re in management, this is a message you need to share with all.

Have you ever wanted to be in business for yourself?

Have you ever thought about going into business, to get someone else to invest the money and you reap the rewards?

Welcome to the amazing world of the automobile business:

You have free office space.

You get rewarded based on how hard you work.

You have opportunities for advancement.

You have healthcare, vacation and retirement opportunities and Christmas bonus programs.

You have a management team working to help you be productive.

You have a free computer system.

You have a CRM/DMS and other software provided free of charge.

You have staff and technicians available to handle customer problems.

You have free marketing, advertising, and a website developer.

You have an administrative staff to help process your deals, DMV work, etc.

You have millions of dollars of inventory to sell with zero personal investment.

You get special spiffs/incentives from the factory.

You get all the free training/coaching that you can stand.

You have a detail/clean up department that gets your vehicles ready for delivery.

You don’t have to pay a penny for phone, electricity and other utilities.

You can demand an assistant when you become productive enough.

You have an Internet/BDC department begging you to take leads.

You have free janitorial service.

You have free coffee.

You have your own personal financial officer (F&I) working to put your deals together.

You work out of a multi-million dollar facility located on prime real estate.

You have an opportunity of a lifetime with no personal financial investment.

You need to “own” your own business. That’s all I’m
gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

What Day Is It?

In sports, you often hear about how powerful momentum and intensity can be. The last two minutes of a football game will frequently determine the outcome.

You will often see players and coach’s greatness shine through in the most helter-skelter moments. There’s a good chance the last two minutes of the Super Bowl this weekend will determine the outcome.

In the automobile business, the last day of the month is like the two-minute drill of a football game.

I have some what ifs for you:

What if you approached the 15th of the month as if it were the last day of the month?

What if you approached every Friday and Saturday as if they were the last two days of the month?

What if you approached every Wednesday and Thursday as if they were the last two days of the month?

What if you approached every Monday and Tuesday as if they were the last two days of the month?

What if you approached every day as if it were the last day of the month?

What day is it? It’s the last day of the month. It’s always the last day of the month.

The clock is ticking. You’re running out of time-outs. Pick it up. Let’s go. That’s all I’m gonna say. Tommy Gibbs

Are You Running?

It’s January and we’re off and running. Actually, some of you are running, some of you are walking. The runners have been training hard for the last few months. The walkers have been talking about training hard.

The runners were getting into shape back in November and December by laying down “the plan” for 2019. The walkers were thinking they needed to get in shape and get a plan for 2019.

Runners are never happy. I’ve never seen a runner smile. Walkers are well, walkers. They often smile because they are dreaming of the things they would like to do. Whatever they are dreaming stays in their dreams.

The runners have a firm plan going into 2019. The walkers have a “kind-a-sort-a” plan going into 2019. Walkers talk about a plan, runners actually execute the plan.

Walkers are afraid if they make a plan they might have to change it. Runners know there are mud puddles and they just have to jump over a few to get where they want to go.

Runners like challenging their leadership skills by changing the plan. Walkers are afraid of change and would rather go with the flow than rock the ship.

Runners love Dave Anderson’s book “If You Don’t Make Waves You Will Drown.” Walkers would rather read “Winnie the Pooh” and dream about Pooh Bear.

When I do a workshop, I recommend, suggest, and urge those in attendance to write out an action plan for the next 90 days using the top 3 or 4 processes from the workshop. At the end of 90 days re-write the action plan adding 3 or 4 more processes to it.

Any time you’re planning, there should be 30 day, 90 day, 180 day and 365-day action plans. The weather and the terrain are going to change and you need to be ready for a change.

Walking along whistling a happy tune will make you feel good for that one little moment in time. Running hard with a flexible plan will exhilarate your soul and brain and will allow your team to leap tall buildings with a single bound for a long time to come.

Runners take money to the bank. Walkers go to the bank to borrow money so they don’t go out of business…yet.

Becoming a runner means harder training, greater commitment, and disciplines that most people don’t have and will never have. That’s why there is so much room at the top. Some will, most won’t.

It’s very simple to go from being a walker to a runner. Just do it. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Recruiting & Training Problem?

While I realize you don’t care all that much about my history, I want you to know I’ve tried it all when it comes to recruiting and training. In the early 80s we had an off-campus training facility with two full-time recruiters and trainers for our three-store group.

I wish I had a perfect fix for you. I can get you close but, in the end, you have to deal with the issues surrounding a major cultural shift.

That’s what it is, a major cultural shift when it comes to today’s recruiting and training of salespeople.

If you’re building a new store from the ground up, you have a much better chance of making it happen. You can write the new rules, hire the right people and change the game.

You can lay out an achievable game plan that will carry you through the next 20 years. I didn’t say it’s not going to change over the next 20 years, just that it will put you in a position to build on as you move forward.

Since you’re probably not building a new store it’s going to be a little more difficult, but if you have some discipline you can do it. It’s going to be expensive but if you think about what you might be investing in a new store given the chance, then it’s probably a bargain.

And, if you think about the cost of turnover, you’re going to win big time. Nothing you can do will eliminate turnover, but how you deal with it and how you restock your shelves can make a big difference.

The size of your store certainly can change the equation, but at some level all of this is doable.

When it comes to training, you have to get committed to something more than “Johnny the new car manager/GSM will handle it whenever we hire someone.” Johnny can close deals, but he ain’t no trainer. As a matter of fact, it’s a burden and pain in Johnny’s butt to have to deal with it. His lesson plan consists of making sure they know the selling process.

Hiring outside companies to come in and do your recruiting and hiring is a short-term fix at best. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy, but the end result doesn’t change much of anything.

If you have 10 salespeople or more, you need to give
serious consideration to having a full-time trainer and you need to invest in their teaching skills and not just base it on “they know what to do.” You have to continue to educate the trainer.

Here’s the secret sauce:

1. Hire a trainer. Give him/her the tools they need to be successful, as in equipment and training for them. (Why do this? Because the way you’ve been doing it isn’t working.)

2. Pick a specific week each month that you are committed to a new recruiting or training class. (Why do this? Because it shows you are committed to building a different and powerful organization. When you only recruit and hire when you need someone, you end up hiring people you shouldn’t. There’s always a need to upgrade and improve your sales team. Stop protecting non-producers and hang-ons.)

3. Require other managers to sit in on various phases of the training. Be flexible but do it. With the supervision of your trainer, you can assign them parts of the training to lead. (Why do this? Because they need to know what you are teaching and what to expect when the salespeople hit the floor. And, they might learn something.)

4. Every manager in the front part of the store will be required to personally recruit a person for class each month. They cannot run ads. They have to find them in the wild. If the person they recruit makes it 90 days, pay them a $500 bonus. If I was doing it, I’d fine them $500 if they didn’t have a butt in the class each month. (Why do this? Because when someone personally recruits someone else, they will take a personal interest in their success. You’ve seen it happen over the years where a sales manager takes a liking to a salesperson and helps them succeed. Same deal magnified a bunch.)

5. Change your pay plan to salary and volume based. Do not pay on gross. You can hire a lot of quality people who are happy making $40,000 to $60,000 a year. (Why do this? People today don’t want to be paid on gross. And, the sales people today have very little control over gross. The deal is already a mess because of the prices you’re putting on the Internet for both new and used.)

6. Don’t hire anyone that’s ever sold a car before. (Why do this? If I have to explain this, you’re in a lot more trouble than I can help you with.)

7. Hire some part-time salespeople to help out at peak times. (Why do this? To give you the coverage you need and so your full-time people don’t have to work 12 hour days.)

8. Commit to a 40-hour work-week. (Why do this? People think differently than we did in generations gone by. They don’t want to work 12 hours a day regardless of what the income potential might be. They are willing to earn less if they can have more time off. Their value system is far different than what we have seen in the past. Deal with it.)

9. Incorporate an up-system into your selling process. (Why do this? So, you don’t have the mob standing at the front door waiting on an expensive up. One of the reasons you lose quality people is they hate standing around doing nothing. Keeping them busy should be part of your daily mission. You need to lead the charge for them to be productive and generate their own customers.)

10. For at least 30 days all new salespeople’s deals will be desked by the trainer. (Why do this? Because they can’t say to the trainer “that wasn’t taught to me in class.” Your trainer and your salespeople will become better and better.)

Understand that people are going to come and go. It’s the nature of any sales business. One of your goals is to give them the tools to be successful with your organization or whatever they end up doing in life. When you help others to be better, you become better.

Be aware of your current staff saying they are all in on the outside and sabotaging your new direction on the inside.

There will be current salespeople and sales management that want to see your new direction fail. They will undermine you and point out all the reasons these are bad ideas. Some of them are simply protecting their own turf and will try to make you believe they are looking out for you.

They aren’t.

You have choices to make. Stick with what you’re doing or make major changes. The longer you wait, the more pain you will have and at some point, the pain will be so great that you have to change. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

My Wish-List

1. I wish we could do away with packs.
2. I wish every sales person worked his or her entire deal on a tablet.
3. I wish we could eliminate cashiers.
4. I wish we had salaried salespeople with annual bonuses.
5. I wish we had salaried management with annual bonuses.
6. I wish we didn’t have to rely on processing fees to make a nice bottom line.
7. I wish we had two-tiered pricing from the service department to the used car department.
8. I wish every service writer presented the menu on a tablet.
9. I wish we didn’t have to negotiate prices.
10. I wish we didn’t have “towers of power.”
11. I wish salespeople didn’t sit behind a desk to work with a customer.
12. I wish sales management & salespeople had a 40-hour workweek.
13. I wish we could get units through service in 3 days.
14. I wish we never would have any units over 60 days
15. I wish we didn’t have new car rebates.
16. I wish auction fees could be reduced.
17. I wish we focused more on “leading” rather than “managing.”
18. I wish every dealer was in a 20 group.
19. I wish your showroom didn’t look like a showroom.
20. I wish I’d see you at the NADA convention.
21. I wish 75% of a sales transaction could take place online.
22. I wish you’d get 12 turns per year.
23. I wish we could rid ourselves of “Legacy Thinking.”
24. I wish you would finally hire me.
25. I wish you a great holiday season.
That’s all I’m gonna wish for, Tommy Gibbs

Bonus Wish: I wish I didn’t send you so many newsletters, but I can’t resist myself. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Should You Write Down Your Inventory?

Should You Write Down Your Inventory?

Don’t bother writing your inventory down. Unless of course, you’re going to commit to some serious changes. It’s not unusual at this time of the year for dealers to write their used car inventory down, take a big hit and a deep breath, and say “OK, done, let’s move forward.”

Many dealers lack the discipline to steer away from what got them there in the first place. Therefore, in six months or so, the owners are staring at the same hot mess they tried to fix back in December.

Used car managers and dealers fall back into the same old rut because of the fear of losses they will have by taking aged units to the auctions and dumping them.

It hurts me to say this, and I know it’s going to cause a few of you to unsubscribe from my newsletters but taking units to the auction and dumping them is just plain dumb.

If you thought enough of that 60-day old unit to bring it into your inventory as a retail piece, you should have been able to find a retail buyer for it at some number. There’s a number that every unit can be retailed at.

Therein lies the problem. You won’t retail it for what it’s actually worth, yet you’re willing to wholesale it for what it’s actually worth.

Hey Einstein, which way do you think you have the greatest opportunity to recover from a unit that was probably a bad decision from jump-street? Insanity.

The instances where you have to dump a previously assigned retail piece in the wholesale market should be very few. If you’re in the retail automobile business, then retail your units.

Yes, the grosses on all that aged stuff are going to hurt you for a while. Dumping in the wholesale market will hurt you worse. If you have a lick of discipline and stay with it, you will be fine and never, ever have another unit over 60.

My Life-Cycle management process gives you the disciplines and strategies that will keep you from saying, “More write-downs, here we go again.”

I’ve never met a dealer who has figured out the 60-day concept that said, “Geez, I’d like to go back to those days when we had units over 60.” I’ve met plenty of dealers that are disgusted that they have to deal with aged units and write-downs every year.

Enjoy your write-downs. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

P.S. If you are going to write-down your inventory let me coach you through it. It costs you nothing for me to help you.

Profit Time Makes Sense

If you’ve been paying attention, you may have heard some rumblings in the vAuto world about a paradigm shift in their thinking on used vehicles.

The shift taking place is about changing your thinking of a unit’s age from pure days, which they refer to as “Calendar Time,” into a tool called “ProfitTime,” which is more focused on a unit’s overall investment potential.

To understand this idea a little bit more and how it relates to UpYourGross’ Life Cycle Management, let’s consider Velocity principles and the problem ProfitTime is trying to solve.

The Problem

Velocity principles would teach us that turning and burning units can boost ROI and allow grosses to accumulate. For many years, total gross vs. average gross has been something many of us have been focused on.

But what if there are some vehicles that we could have made more money on had we allowed ourselves to hold them a little longer and price them with a little extra gross built-in?

Strictly following the Velocity principles would leave these grosses on the table. As a general statement, holding a trade-in a little longer than something you acquired at an auction should make good sense to you.

The Solution

Rather than applying the exact same turn and burn strategy to every unit, what if we intelligently managed how we priced units based on their investment potential? This would allow us to strike a balance between applying a turn and burn mentality to the vehicles that require it, and seeking more gross for our great investment units.

This is exactly what vAuto has tried to capture with ProfitTime. They give each unit in your inventory an investment score each day. These scores range from 1-12 and segment into precious metal buckets. This allows you to understand each vehicle’s investment potential and execute a strategy that attempts to strike a balance between turn and burn units and hold out on good deal units.

So This Means Days Don’t Matter, Right?

Well sort of, but not so fast. Let’s step back a bit and take a closer look at the factors that drive a vehicle’s investment potential. Once you have a unit in your inventory, its investment potential is based on the gross the vehicle can generate.

Essentially, how well you bought the vehicle (odometer-adjusted cost-to-market) and the market conditions for that particular unit (Like-Mine Day Supply and Market Sales Volume). ProfitTime wraps these data elements together to determine the vehicle’s investment potential.

I’d envision using ProfitTime to understand a unit’s profit potential so that you can price your cars more optimally on day one and so that you can keep them priced right as their profit potential changes. This should allow you to strike a better balance between turn and burn units and staying firm on good deals.

It’s important to note that this investment potential doesn’t care if the unit is one day old or 40 days old. Therefore, from the ProfitTime perspective, how long you’ve owned the car simply does not matter.

However, I would be careful to not generalize and make a blanket statement that days don’t matter at all. If you just sit on a vehicle that was deemed to be Platinum on day one, it won’t look too rosy on day 100. In fact, as the days pass, the unit’s investment score will worsen, as would be expected with any depreciating asset.

Where Do Days Come Into Play Then?

Days still come into play when you are looking at your ROI. This is because ROI is not only based on the gross you’ve made, but also on how long it took you to make that gross. This all starts to come together when you see the bigger picture.

Vehicles with low-profit potential from the get-go will see their ROIs start substantially lower than vehicles with a higher profit potential. This gives you less time to move these units from day one if you expect an investment return. You can think of this as buying a green banana versus a brown banana. The green banana has more time to be useful on day one, while the brown banana is already running out of time.

You can still make money on brown bananas, but you must sell them fast and understand all the pluses that go along with cranking up the volume with brown bananas.

Additionally, vehicles with factors that lead to quicker depreciating market values will see their profit potential decline at a faster rate than vehicles with steadier market conditions.

These units will have pressure to be moved quickly too.
In nearly all cases, each day that ticks off the calendar lowers the vehicle’s ROI, even if its gross doesn’t go down. However, the starting ROI and rate at which the ROI deteriorates each day will vary for different vehicles.

How does ProfitTime fit Into UpYourGross’s Life Cycle Management Philosophy?

At UpYourGross we’ve been preaching a lot about a life cycle management philosophy that is built on the concept of having a unique strategy for every unit. The reason we do this is we recognize that not all vehicles are created equal. When we talk about a concept like setting an auction purchase unit to a shorter life cycle, we are essentially saying this vehicle has less gross potential, therefore, it’s ROI will automatically start lower than that of, say, a customer acquisition unit. Therefore, we need to get rid of it faster.

You can strike similarities between the concept of ProfitTime and Life Cycle as follows. Calendar Time is simply the vehicle’s true time or age in inventory. Intelligently setting a unique Life Cycle to a vehicle means that its expiration date is no longer tied to Calendar Time; rather, it’s tied to its investment potential. An auction purchase might expire at day 45 while a customer acquisition expires at day 60. This philosophy operates on the same fundamentals as ProfitTime.

So if Profit Time and Life Cycle are Similar Why do I need Both?

The truth is each tool offers you a distinct benefit and those benefits increase in value when used together. While you don’t have to have ProfitTime to use the Life Cycle management tool we’ve built with UpYourGross, knowing a vehicles ProfitTime score makes “intelligently” setting the Life Cycle for each unit a bit more analytical rather than purely experience-based.

This isn’t to say that there’s no place for experience, but as many of us know making decisions backed by data is a good foundation for establishing consistent and repeatable processes.

And, you don’t need UpYourGross to use ProfitTime. But when you pair the two together, they put you in the driver’s seat of driving more gross to your bottom line.

Think of it this way, the ProfitTime score will help you select and updated a unit’s life cycle and UpYourGross will help you manage your inventory when you end up with many different units all following distinct life cycles. With UpYourGross, you’ll be able to easily see which units are about to expire and know what units you should be focusing on.

I guess you could build a massive spreadsheet and hire someone to punch data into it all day to help you keep track of it all.

However, we recognized that establishing and managing a unique strategy for every unit could be a daunting task to manage in spreadsheets-the exact reason we created UpYourGross in the first place.

What if I’m not Ready for ProfitTime?

If you’re not ready to make the jump to ProfitTime, I’d still encourage you to stop treating all vehicles the same. Not all vehicles deserve a generic 60 or 90 days just because you find that process and inventory age timeline simple to implement.

Try following a process that sets a unique strategy for every unit and see how easy it is to manage that process with UpYourGross.

You might just be surprised at how your bottom line starts to look when you combine ProfitTime and UpYourGross.

Tommy Gibbs & Jarrod Tanton

Still Making a Plan?

Tip # 1-Dissect each department. Break them all down. Pretend you are starting from scratch. Don’t assume anything. Nothing is sacred. Be ready to change and perfect any and all processes.

Tip #2-Analyze, analyze, analyze. Make the numbers work.

Here’s a number you need to make work. 120%. Once you have figured out how many units you should be selling, think of how many salespeople you will need to get the job done. If you think your volume number is 100 and you think your team will average 10 units each then the number of sales people you need is 10. Right? Wrong!

What you really need to get the job done is another 2 salespeople. It takes 120% of what you think you might need. There are always a few sales people having a bad month. You fire some. Some quit. Someone is sick, broke a leg or whatever. You cannot hit your number doing straight up math. Think 120%. That’s how you will get your number. Don’t worry about overloading your sales force. You need to worry about overloading your bottom line.

Tip#3-Relocate; as in send some folks packing. Loyalty is a wonderful thing. Too wonderful. Yes, it’s a people business, but darn it, it’s a business. You’re not running a charity. There are some people that just need to go. If you love them so much you can’t part with them, then send them to the farm and mail them a check each month. Get someone on board who can get the job done.

Tip #4-Now that you’ve analyzed and figured out your team, lay out the new plan. Bring your key players into the new plan. Let them have some input. It’s ok to let them think it’s their idea. The more they think it’s their idea, the better.

Tip#5-Present it to the entire management team. Your key managers have to help sell the plan and create “buy-in.” Buy in is critical to the success of the organization.

Tip#6-Educate the team. It doesn’t matter how long you are in this business you need to continue to look for opportunities to ramp up your performance. Educating the team is never an expense. It’s an investment in them and your future.

Tip#7-Turn your used car department upside down. Look at it from every angle possible and start making changes.

Tip#8-Put the plan in play now. Not January 1. Now is the time to get the kinks out. It’s like spring training. You want to be able to rock and roll on January 1, not March 1.

2019 isn’t going to be easy. Now is the time to light the fire. You will win in 2019 by preparing to win right now. That’s all I’m gonna say. Tommy Gibbs