Faith or Fear

May 5, 2008

As I work with my used car departments, I often wonder why we used managers and in many cases GM’s refuse to accept new and relevant ideas to this business. Of course I have to stop and laugh at the times I have said “That won’t work here, not in my market!” And I was serious. And yet the evidence was right in front of me that stated it does work, does create a faster market and turn for my inventory. So, why not? Faith or fear is what it always come down to. Do I go with my captured and static knowledge or do I finally venture into the deep water?

We must consider going into the deep end of the pool because the water is fine and the lifeguards are all from Baywatch. Today’s live market view and the ability to price to sell for all the available gross is a powerful tool but one we have to practice with. Do you know that if the market view states I can price this car at $24,350 there is a good chance I will price it at $23,995 because it just looks better. Notwithstanding, I may be giving away $354 in gross profit. Developing convictions about what we do to manage our departments is the opportunity, the opportunity to sit under someone who may be able to teach us a way that works more than it fails; a way that is foreign to us.

This does not require anything more than a little openmindedness and some perseverence in the face of flak from our peers. But when you arise from the ashes of this Phoenix, you will emerge with both faith and confidence that there is a way to be better at what we do.

At present I have 10 dealers on vAuto for 12 months. Fought all the battles of screwed up data, books not accurate, takes too much time(sound familiar) etc., and so on. But we persevered and now we are up 26% used sales year over year and the gross is up %175. But you know, I still have 3 dealers that fight the fear. One spends his time creating excel spreadsheets to show me that vAuto doesn’t work and why. This dealer now has the lowest grosses and sales are falling off the charts. My 3 smallest stores, you know the ones that would wear tu-tu’s and slippers to do better, are now the kings of the hill. Turn rates from 4.5 to over 8 and grosses up $380 a car and the shop brings them lunch once a week in these tough times.

One of these stores has no frontage and is located on less than 1 1/2 acres of ground and the other has less frontage and even has berns with plants to hide the retail store.

So, what is your choice my friends, faith or fear? Let me hear from you.