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  

A KEY TO PROSPERING DURING COVID-19

Weeks of continuous communication across the nation and across the industry has allowed me to put a few tick-marks under some points on my TALLY sheet! 

These conversations are all the same: 

  • HOW are you (the owner) Re-Inventing in all areas (personal/business)?  
  • WHO are you collaborating with (friend & foe)? 
  • WHICH areas would you recommend an immediate change in? 
  • WHAT communities are you a RESOURCE for and which communities are a resource for YOU? 
  • WHERE would you concentrate MORE effort into and why? 

The conversations have lasted from 10 minutes up to 4 hours! The answers have been insightful, inventive, original and most of all … full of HOPE! 

The point on my tally sheet that got the most tick-marks? 

REFERRAL PROGRAM!    

Using Texts, Calls, Emails, and/or Video Chats. All have been fruitful. Integrating your referral program into your Social Media is PARAMOUNT to prospering. 

That being said, 

HOW is your referral program? Old School Simple to the rescue! It is very simple, very effective, and no complications necessary! It also provides a very powerful income stream to your previous customer (scared & financially insecure)! 

A Simple Referral Program example: 

You (previous customer) notify me (the owner) that someone (referred friend/family) is coming to do business with me. I (the owner) roll out the covid-19 sanitized Red Carpet for the client (referred friend/family). When the referred potential customer (referred friend/family) does business with me then You (the previous customer) that referred the new customer will receive a pre-determined MONITARY amount!  

Example:  

I sell used cars, you bought one from me 2 years ago. You got my Rewards Program email and are in need of extra bucks during this crisis. So, you tell every Tom, Dick & Henrietta to see me if they need a car! 

Bingo! Now I (the dealer/business owner) have an ARMY of salespeople giving the BEST kind of recommendation on the planet – Free positive advertising via word of mouth! 

****Note: Be sure the reward paid out is fair and intriguing enough.  

In the previous example that dealer would have started his referral fee at about $250 and climbed up to a preset limit. Think about it; Previous customer sends a buddy that buys a $25,000 truck – caution if paying out a $100, that customer will never send YOU (Mr. Dealer or Mr. Business owner) another referral.  

On the other hand, if you own a carpet cleaning business and you do the whole JOB for $250, then that referral may look like a nice Thank You card and a $20 gift card (about 10% of the job). 

It is all relative, however, the KEY is the referral program. There you have a little nugget, that if worked properly, may well be you/your companies’ lifeline for a while. At the very least, it will be fun adventure! 

Remember. If you don’t CREATE your future, then your future WILL create you! 

Create-A-Great-Day, 

Tom 

STARS & SWIPES!

NEWS FLASH – THE WORLD IS NO LONGER FLAT!

Most of you, if not all of you know this fact! or do you?

First, let us relive a bit of the past – Math Class. We learned how to graph on “Y” and “X” axis, given a set of “points” we could use these axes to pinpoint the location – on a FLAT piece of paper!

Those of us with a propensity for math also understood the “Z” axis – 3D.
With all the “points” we could pinpoint the EXACT location in space – not just a flat piece of paper.

Well, my friends welcome to the wild frontier of the Internet. Unfortunately, most of you still are based and run your business on a FLAT model that is over 100 years old! The car business is the most dynamically changing industry on the planet, and yet many do business like it’s 1985! You still cling to the past ways of doing business because they work. Do they really?
Most of you I talk to are moaning about the poor selection and high price of inventory, not to mention the lack of “buying” customers. I have said this to almost ALL of you at one point or another – INSANITY (and poor business management) is defined very simply:


DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER
EXPECTING DIFFERENT RESULTS!

We no longer live in a FLAT world! Our success is determined by stars (literally) and swipes. Our stars determine our position on that crucial “Z” axis – are we ABOVE or BELOW standard? Swipes determine if we’re going to pay our bills that month or not. What REASONS do your “potential” have from buying from you – if you say PRICE, then you have already lost!
Let’s look at it from this perspective – would you rather be a port or a ship? A ship can bring prosperity to new and gloriously new markets. A port, on the other hand, IS prosperity attracting numerous “ships” laden with treasures for her inhabitants and their future. Most of you out there are “ships” looking for ports to “unload” your merchandise.

Those of you out there that are “ports” have labored hard with your inhabitants to make it “the destination” of prosperity.
In simple terms, PORTS build relationships with their ships and merchants!
Far too often in this business it’s “sell it and move on” to the next customer (that would be the price model) with never enough time to build any sort of “relationship”. Hell; only a handful of you even understand the POWER of a simple yet sincere, handwritten Thank You note mailed out!
“Port Dealers” find ways to constantly keep in touch with not only potential customer, however, they also go “above-and-beyond” to keep past customers in their community “loop”.

Newsletters, videos, emails and most importantly a “stunning” web presence. They have become a vital part of their “ELECTRONIC COMMUNITY” They build VALUE into themselves, their product and their web presence.

OK, so that is the long-and-short of my message here people. I think I’ve broken my own record for metaphors and analogies in one paper. Over 50+ years of communicating with folks I have learned a way-or-two to “pitch” an Idea and I am sincere; that’s one of the reasons people see value in me when we do business together. What do people see in you and your business?
Where are your STARS and how many SWIPES sent you and your website to electronic oblivion? Time to up your game folks – if not now, then when. There are numerous tools and services out there at your disposal – some of it even free! You have to make it a PRIORITY in your day and your business.
If you spent ½ as much time in a month growing your business electronically as you do hunting down inventory and going to auctions, well my friend you would definitely be on the BETTER path to success (lasting and financial).
So there you have it April’s nugget of wisdom to ponder upon ( & hopefully act upon).

CHANGE IN THE WIND

After a long and prosperous relationship with Frazer Computing, we here at Car Guys Agency (formerly Tom Hampton Agency) announce our parting!

Frazer is a wonderful DMS and I personally think has the best Help Desk in the USA (the reason I represented them for over 12 years).

Michael Jordan is no longer with our agency; we thank him for the numerous doors and opportunities he brought us in his time with us/ We wish him the best of luck in his new endeavors!

We here at CGA are growing in new directions as we speak.

We are expanding our GPS business and will continue to bring quality product at great pricing!

We are in the process of negotiating a sponsor for my DEALER 101 class that will be held 2x monthly in Houston (yes, my friends after all these years I am listening to you and teaching full time).

This will be a FREE 90 minute class that can easily fill in the gaps for both the seasoned vet and the green-pea alike!

13 years traveling this state from one corner to the other and the privilege of consulting with over 1600 dealers had allowed me to glean a ton of information to help grow your business.

Watch our website and updated in email for future dates!

I will be at the TXDMV Dealer Training Seminars in April (IF you haven’t made your reservation for the class – DO IT NOW!).

These classes are free, give you the ground rules AND keep you abreast of the current interpretations of said rules (if there’s one thing I have learned; the rules seldom change – how they are interpreted and enforced DO change often).

We will still be assisting Dealers with License procurement as we have done for the last decade (96% + approval rate too!).

We also still have strong ties with V-12 and their fantastic array of tools that help you “get there” quick.

Well my friends that is where we are TODAY, tomorrow has yet to dawn.

Those of you that know me and have dealt with various members of our team know that we hold ourselves to the highest standard of professionalism and efficiency.

We sincerely thank you for you support in the past and are excited to help you exceed your goals in the months that are to follow.

Now one last word to you my “family of steel” – crunch time is coming; Tax Season is all but done and that “gravy’ will be drying up!

Sooooooo, what’s-your-plan?

Going to continue to “wing & prayer” – OR – are you working on your Action Plan for the next 90 days?

In the coming weeks I will be working on expanding my “open” slots in my calendar so that I may be available for MORE consultations for those of you willing to embrace this changing marketplace we call the Car Business.

Go out there and CREATE-A-GREAT-DAY!!!!

With best wishes,

Tom Hampton and crew (Barbara, Ana, Lety & Cat) at CGA (Car Guys Agency)