Re-Birth of an Industry.

Honestly, my friends, I did not think that I would live to see the rebirth/reinvention of the used car industry. 

My grandfather was around for its birth, my father for its heyday, and I for the rapid evolution of vehicles. The here and now, we are seeing changes we never could have anticipated, and they won’t stop there.   

In my father’s day, the salesman did it all; Desk the deal, underwrite the paper, go back and get the car made ready, then deliver it. 

Well, it kind of looks like it is 1965 again as our salespeople are granted more independence   from the desk. Our salespeople are taking more initiative to generate their own book of business as they learn to become professionals in all that they do. 

That fact in mind, what are you, the owner, doing to educate/train/inform/practice with your crew? Have you sat down with each one and done a little dream building

Do YOU know what your salespeople’s individual strengths are? Do YOU know what motivates them (besides $$$$)? Have you asked them for their ideas on how to improve any or all areas of the business? The way things (business) were run 6 months ago is just that…the past. A way of business we WILL NOT going back to doing. 

Getting that fact into your business model and adjusting actions accordingly is the key to PROSPERING instead of surviving the exponential changes we are all experiencing. Customers LIKE the personal service this crisis has forced dealers into. Customers like the fact of no F&I Dept process to suffer through. Customers like the test drive coming to them and the virtual test drive videos dealers are doing for every unit in stock. Customers like having the perception of having the upperhand throughout the entire sales/delivery process. 

Customers LOVE the fact that salespeople are having conversations with them and ***MAGIC WORD*** LISTENING to them! Customers are getting what they always have wanted and feared the most…control. 

IF IT SELLS CARS – THE CUSTOMERS MAY HAVE AS MUCH CONTROL AS THEY FEEL THEY NEED. So, WHAT are you doing about that? 

How are you fostering/nurturing those relationships to ease control into the customers hand? How are you making your customer feel more a part of the process and not feel as if they are BEING processed? These are some very serious things to think upon my friends. 

Being in communication with friends/clients in the industry in all corners of this great country has painted a very clear picture of what the smart dealer is doing. They are buckling down and getting it done. In this unprecedented season of reinvention and rebirth, LET your customers, salespeople, bankers, friends, associates, and all others help you, reshape your future

If you do not know what your customer wants (expects) then how can you meet those wants/needs/desires? My advice, grab a notebook and pen, have a Zoom meeting with your team, and brainstorm your tails off!  

Now, more than ever, the game of “what if” can be your best tool to grow with the curve of change and not get crushed under it. 

Create A Great Day, 

Tom Hampton  

Tax season (or what’s left of it) is GRAVY!

So if you’re thinking about “Loading Up” for tax season, please remember it is VERY easy to run out of money before tax season even hits. Yes, you may have a $200,000 Floor, however reconditioning, advertising and selling are CASH-OUT-OF-POCKET. That can be the point of tipping in the “red” for a lot of dealers – seasoned vet and newbies alike!

Following the herd could lead you into financial jeopardy.

Your real meal is your MONTHLY sales – I highly recommend you put your effort and money into where it counts the most – YOU.

For the smallest dealer to survive and grow – 10 sales per month NETTING (after ALL expenses) $800 per unit.

To really GROW a Dealership you will need to be at 18 units sold per month -netting $1,200 per copy.
Other than that – you’re treading water and it’s only a matter of time.

The goal is to increase sales 15% per quarter.

10 sales × 3 months (quarter) = 30 sales.

Multiply that by 15% and you come up with another 4.5 units to buy/recon/advertise & Sell!

It’s called RYTHM and most dealers are hit-and-miss.

Do you have procedures in place so that anyone can follow in your footsteps should an emergency arise?

            Example:

  • Standard Checklist your mechanic(s) follow with EVERY unit they inspect/repair.
  • DMS that is easy to use and prints all required paperwork with the click of one button

(I have been recommending and representing Frazer for 13 years because it’s that easy and has the Best Tech Support in the Industry.) 

  • Presentation – does a Detail company come in or is there a Standard all units are done to by yourself or an employee
  • Are there “Internet Down Tags” ready in your drawer?

Do not be the dealer that says, “I had a great week – sold 6! – I had a horrible month, only sold 7 total.”

No consistency = no growth!

Smart money this year is to concentrate on your dealership.

Give people a REASON to buy from you (not just a CHEAP price).

For over 2 decades now I’ve been training dealers/sales people and the major point they all seem to miss is?

People buy VALUE.

The instant your prospect’s PERCEIVED VALUE outstrips the price of your vehicle … people SELL themselves!

Spend this tax season investing in you, your lot (never get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression.)

            Is your lot clean, picked up and ONLY Front-Line-Ready units on display?

            Is your building pleasing to the eye (bad paint, cruddy stairs – not a good impression)?

            Is your office (desk) clean and professional looking (or does it look like a parts yard)

            Is your furniture in good repair, easy to move about and comfortable?

            Is your bathroom SPOTLESS and well stocked?

            Are all tires aired up, cars start easily (all have GAS)?

            Are Demonstration Drive Plates in the trunk of each unit?

 Invest in your “Main Lot” – your website!

            Is your website mobile friendly & fast loading?

(don’t have one/need one; then call me – I’ve got a great one and inexpensive too.)

            How many pictures per unit on your inventory (30 pic min per unit.)

            Do your pictures show the good AND the not so good?

                         Show them the scratches/dents/minor imperfections – no surprises when they show up to buy the unit.

            If you finance or arrange financing do you have a SECURE credit application on your page?

            With that credit application –

            What are your policies and procedures for keeping your prospect in the loop AND are you compliant with the current HIPPA procedures (OPT out email & texting) in doing so?

Your Inventory – What are you stocking in and how long before it’s “stale”?

Tools like MMR, KBB, Black Book (not so big here) are essential in keeping you on track in the marketplace.

Carfax / AirCheck are also tools that are requested and becoming a “standard” in every sale (that means – spend the money for one and “cost” it back to the unit just like advertising).

Would you hand your mom the keys to any unit you have for sale; let her drive off and NOT worry about it?

If that is NOT the case – then why are YOU selling it?

I didn’t say it had to be pretty, some of the ugliest cars I ever sold were all mechanically solid.

People come to you because you are supposed to be the expert (after all you buy and sell every day).

People want decent transportation that IS reasonably priced and DOES not break down 2 days/months after they buy it!

Remember for most folks their vehicle is the second largest investment they will ever make and for some it will be their largest purchase ever!

During the “Delivery” process did you have your customer “log in” and give you a good review (we live & die by stars now – under 4 stars leads to very little new business).

Some dealers use “Thank You” gifts such as a tank of gas, a gift card for dinner – OR the newest Home Run successful dealers are using is a “GPS Security Package” (Call me for details).

Relationships build any business – especially car sales!

How are your follow up skills – “Thank You” card mailed?

            1 week follow up; you can catch any problems before they escalate AND ask for a referral.

            TXDMV now allows us to “publicly” advertise Referral Fees!

 (only to prior customers up to 3 yrs back – means you can work your old sales for business).

Keep in touch with past clients – you never know who they know and almost everyone knows someone looking for either a newer or better vehicle.

Be sure and get your banner up “I buy good used cars” – why pay at auction when the general public will bring it to you?

I can go on for at least another chapter about ways to grow your business.

So does your dealership need some “special attention”? – Call me.

In the past 13 years I have had the honor and privilege to help/consult with over 1700 dealers all across this great state.

Together we’ve put their businesses on the path of consistent growth and profit.

Ok there you have my spin on the upcoming tax season.

DO with it as you will, however, don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

Create-A-Great-Day
Tom

Finishing 2019

I am a huge proponent of “Self Investment” when it come to business and life in general.

I am constantly listening to recordings in my car (translate – office) in between clients. They cover a variety of subjects and the speakers are always varied. The other day, I was listening to Jim Rohn, and he covered a subject and described it in such a way that YOU’RE going to get paraphrasing.

Finish your day BEFORE it starts!
– Simple, yet confusing.
You don’t buy a piece of property, order a load of bricks, and just start building walls on an empty lot.
First – WHAT are you building and wouldn’t a set of PLANS contribute to not only a better finished project but also contribute to a more COST effective vision?
After all, some architect figured out the design, then he handed it off to an engineer that put in all the details required to meet the architect’s design – power, plumbing, foundation, materials. All there, so as you construct this home and follow the plans, then timelines are met (mostly) and budgets are achieved (mostly – depending on changes and upgrades.)

Most dealers start their business with an idea, and a loosely formulated plan.
“I’m gonna open up my own lot and sell cars!” – THERE’S the loosely formed plan.

“I found a lot, signed a lease, filed for my license and got a floor plan – what else do I need?”
“I know how to buy cars and I have been selling cars for years now, how hard can it be?!”
You can easily see where this is going!
No PLAN = Little to NO pay!
I frequently consult with dealers to help grow their business and I have a standard list of things I ask the dealer to provide for the consultation.
You guessed it!
First thing I MUST see before I can be of any assistance is to see their list of 1yr / 3yr / 5yr Goals AND what is their Exit Strategy (the latter tends to throw most Dealers a real curve.)
A good GPS can not help you navigate without a destination in mind. If you have no idea where you’re going, then I am of no use to you, and it will be wasted time and money for both parties. (Unless that is what we’re initially establishing – 1/3/5yr Vision Plans.)
Once I know a Dealers “charted course” then it is easy-breezy to proceed and help expand their business.
Even those rare few that had their goals right at hand ( I do mean RARE) few of them practice “FINISHING” THEIR DAY BEFORE IT STARTS – much less a year in advance!

Here is how simple the process is:

  • Take your DREAM (remember that old friend?) and write it down.
  • Take that written dream and start breaking it down into GOALS (timelines are MANDATORY).
  • Take those written goals and break them down into ACTIVITIES (again, timelines are MANDATORY).
  • DO (repeat DO) one of those activities DAILY!

This business will throw you curve balls EVERY single day – and you know it!  Too many times the Dealer spends a majority of his/her day “putting out fires” and seemingly running in circles.

So just how do you FINISH your day before it starts – simple.

  • First; drag you butt out of bed by no later than 6am every business day.
  • Spend your FIRST 10 minutes of every day being thankful for what is right and good in your life (the 1st 10 minutes of thought SETS the tone (paycheck) of your day.)
    If your feet hit the floor and all you think about is the negative things that are in your life or HAVE to be done – boy howdy YOU just programmed a real fun day FULL of the negative stuff you didn’t want.
  • Second – have a short list of the day’s activities prepared (night before), give them priority and set some loose timelines around each one (allowing for the fires.)
  • Third and most important; take 5 minutes and envision all those activities “flowing” throughout your day.
    Be sure and give yourself “permission” to shuffle activities around as the day progresses ( the highway has a wreck -hello Google Maps find me the back roads.) Should you be put “off course” by a person, situation or thing; then your list acts as a compass to get done what is important for your growth and progress (Goals.)
    It is crucial to the survival of EVERY business to make progress every day (yes- even at a turtle’s pace.)
    At the end of the day, pull out your list and what activities did not get done go to the top of tomorrow’s list.

Told you it was simple.
Now for the challenging bit – repeating this list of activities weekly / monthly / quarterly and annually (which must also be “tracked” accordingly)!
This is December and it is time to prepare for 2019!
If you do not CREATE your reality … Your REALITY will create you!
I know how my 2019 will be; do you?

Now you understand my “tag line” …

CREATE-A-GREAT-DAY,
Tom
Tom Hampton Agency
“Success Fuel For Your Business” since 2006
P.S.
I privately consult Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, please feel free to reach out to me and schedule your growth session.

October – The Month of Harvest

October is a month of harvest in many nations throughout our planet.

Seeds we have sown in early summer, weeds were pulled & fertilizer applied.

Now the crops are in and it is off to market to sell our crops and buy our supply of seeds for the next growing season.

Welcome my friends to what traditionally has been known as the slow/slower/slowest season of the “car year”.

Sales usually will slow down in October, then get a little slower in November and hello to “Ho-Ho-Holy crap I haven’t had a single call in 6 days” come December.

So here’s a repeated version of a simple truth AND I will restate “The definition of INSANITY = Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”!

OK there you have it and yes you guessed it I am back on that bandwagon again – CHANGE.

Follow my logic on the following crude; albeit excellent example of business!

EXCITEMENT / WONDER / SOLUTIONS / RESULTS

—-> —–> ACTION —-> —->

EXCITEMENT: I am finally gonna have my own lot. I’m knocking out of the park and NO ONE is gonna get in my way!

WONDER: Wow being the boss is cool!

Wow being the boss – takes a lot of time.

What have I done, there’s not enough hours in the day!

How am I gonna get all this done (P.S. Note to self – MAIL that report or pay another late fee)!

Why did I do this again – oh yeah money and freedom. Let’s see – haven’t paid myself in 6 months, work 14 hours a day five days a week and 11 hours a day on the weekends)

SOLUTIONS: CHANGE what you are doing!

Bring in a fresh set of eyes with “no agenda” – observations and options is all you want.

Before you can even think about making effective changes in your business YOU must first change.

Time to get new “Starting Rituals” (that’s a YouTube lookup folks – lots of great motivational speeches on that subject).

Educate yourself – know where you and your business are needing refinement/readjustment/replacement. If you are fair at advertising – take an Online class.

IF YOU ARE PAYING TOO MUCH FOR CARS – RESEARCH

RESULTS: Once you begin to shift what you do and how you do it – your business WILL shift with you.

Where are your goals, hopefully in front of your FACE every day!!!

Your results any given day are a DIRECT results of where your thoughts were in the past.

So if your focus is on your problems not only are you going to attract more problems (like fly’s to a picnic) your facing the wrong way!

Focusing on your goals keeps you pointed in the right direction and attracts more successes.

You will notice in the above illustration that ACTION is the undercurrent of every successful business.

It doesn’t mean you’re not smart enough – asking for help or getting help!

It means you ARE very smart for seeking guidance and knowledge.

We as owners have to push through – no matter what.

Success ONLY comes through failure/ learning / retrying.

Every day I walk into dealerships where “cars are too expensive/ advertising isn’t working/ customers have NO money”. No goals (sell cars – big whoop) only excuses!

Every week I walk into one dealership “business is good/cars are out there/rotate my advertising (paid service)/have a wide variety of customers (social media/website/blog/community service). Will go into great detail on every goal set and achieved – total responsibility

You tell me – which one is going to be there in 5 years bigger than ever!

Remember this my friends:

Through Teamwork and relationships lasting foundations are prepared. Seeds sown therein, will produce fertile crops that you will harvest EVERY season”

Slow season is here – what are YOU going to do about it.

IF YOU WANT TO GROW YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS – GIVE US A CALL

OUR LOGO SAYS WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO!

Create A Great Day,

Tom

P.S.

Recently associated with a good insurance agency for Garage Liability and Open Lot insurance.

Give me a jingle and I’ll text you/email you some info for saving some $$$$

Give us a call – 713-481-6712

To Bee or not to Bee!

Ladies and gentlemen let us consider the humble BUMBLE BEE.

The Bumblebee flies anyway!

Scientifically it “can not fly”!

Mathematically it “can not fly”!

And yet it FLYS!

Too many and I mean WAY too many times I will walk into a Dealership and be talking to “the powers that be” and invariably we get on the topic of growth (usually Lack there of).

Every single time I will fire off a half dozen ways to “grow” their business and almost EVERY SINGLE TIME I will get the same excuse “it can not fly” – and or a variant there of.

In order to hit your long term goals you as a Dealer MUST become adept at –

here it comes the nastiest word in the car business ……….

CHANGE !

The bumblebee DOES NOT KNOW that it can not fly, in other words it doesn’t LISTEN to the outside world.

It arises in the morning drys it’s little undersized wings and gets off to a busy day, things to do – nectar to collect!.

So may times our “well meaning friends” will say OH I did that and it “can not fly”!

Okay so it did not work for THEM – you are not them.

You do business your way and are a totally different person with you unique BELIEF STRUCTURE AND UPBRINGING.

That means even siblings can, will and do act/react completely different in any given situation.

What works for “John” MAY or may NOT work for “Jim”.

The landscape of this business changes daily , whether it is inventory acquisition, advertising or day-to-day business.

My office has learned a great perspective – “This is how we do it TODAY”.

That mindset has allow them to rally on even when chaos is the flavor-of-the-day!

Slow season is just a few weeks before us and YOU had best be looking at HOW you are going to “fly” in the new year.

EVERY Dealership makes changes – EVERY DEALERSHIP!

Most are minor “course corrections”, some are complete new ports-of-call through never before sailed seas.

Keep up or get left behind!

As we continue to evolve into a DIGITAL world. Ask yourself – “Where will I be positioned in 6 months, next year or the next 5 years”.

Too many Dealers only spend their days putting out fires, disorganized and constantly allowing the CIRCUMSTANCES to dictate their valuable days time.

“If you do not create your REALITY – your reality will CREATE you”

That statement is not only true – it is FACT!

Now let me wind this up with POSITVE note.

Here are a couple things you CAN do regardless of it “can not fly”!

                1. Start a WELL ADVERTISED referral program

The Department of Motor Vehicles has recently reversed it’s position on putting in “print” that we “Bird-dog” and or gladly will pay a referral fee if you send a paying customer.

You can either pay them or “credit” them (BHPH) for the referral.

IF you are going to “pay” them – go and purchase a “pre-paid VISA” with a company check along with a nice “Thank You” card. Verify their address and MAIL it to them.

I have two Dealers that are “fueling” their burgeoning referral business with “FREE GPS SECURITY SYSTEM” with every purchase – so here’s how that one works.

They are purchasing an inexpensive 1 year SVR 4GLTE tracker from me for $69 – packing in an extra $150 into the unit. When they sell the unit they already have a line on their deal screen for “GPS Security PKG” usually pre-populated at $299 – $399.

They will look their client in the eye and say something to this effect “Mr. Jones I really appreciate your business so I would like to make you a proposal – IF you send me 3 GOOD references I will waive the $ for the GPS Security Package and give it to you. That means for the next YEAR you’ll be able to know where your new baby is 24/7 from anywhere in the world you have cell signal. Do we have a DEAL?”

It “can not fly”! – that’s what the both heard for MONTHS.

Well now that both their referral are “off-the-chain” and they are kinda scrambling for more good inventory (such a great place to be). Neither one is in danger of “selling out”, however they are both up a minimum of 10 NEW sales per month.

It “can not fly”!

                    1. Digital Dominance

Web presence is a MANDATORY price of admission IF you expect ANY kind of growth for your Dealership!

Your website MUST be optimized to load quickly on any smartphone. Your inventory should be EASY to get to and packed with information (Runs Good went out 35 years ago).

Your contact page MUST be easy to get to and you need to be sure that you have your COMPLIANCE in order for Texting (opt in – opt out).

IF YOU have OCCC License the a SECURE credit application is another MUST!

Where ever or Whomever you are advertising must easily “LINK BACK” to your website and inventory!

At this years TIADA Conference in Dallas I spent HOURS talking to new companies in the DIGITAL arena. I came up with one that is CHEAP ($299 + depending on add-on’s) that can literally get you to Digital Dominance in under 6 months ! (call me for details/meeting)

FOR THE SAKE OF ALL OF US OUT THER ATTEMPTING TO DO IT RIGHT –

DO NOT ADVERTISE IN CRAIGSLIST “FOR SALE BY OWNER” !!!

can you tell it’s my pet peeve

The clients KNOW you are a Dealer and you are setting a BAD TONE by misleading to begin with!!!

Spend the $5 and do it RIGHT

It “can not fly”!

The recurring theme of MOST of my writing – CHANGE or keep your LIMITING Beliefs all the way to MEDIOCRITY !

IF that is your choice then do NOT whine to me when I walk through your door or see you at Auction on how “SLOW” business or how EXPENSIVE good units are!

Whenever someone ask me about business the reply is simple:

THERE IS GOLD DUST IN THE AIR !

OUR business is what WE make it – with our attitudes, choices and ACTIONS.

It “can not fly”!

Tell the Bumblebee that!

YOU CAN FLY – I am telling you that!

IF you are willing to do what “Can’t be done”

Create-YOUR-Great-Day,

Tom Hampton

www.tomhanptonagency.com

PS

Slow season IS coming and my “Mentoring” Schedule books up rather quickly. I am booking NOW for OCTOBER/NOVEMBER and have a few dates open in September!

Want to get to the next level?

I have had the honor of working/coaching/mentoring over 1600 of you across Texas the last 12 years!

That being said YOU have taught me a lot of cool tips and tricks that I have helped hone and add to my repertoire – In other words BOY have I got a lot tools/tips/tricks to teach you now!