It’s been one hell of a ride, gang
Looking back at Progressive Basics when the company was first started. I was a very young man, only 35, but had already sat in every seat in a dealership. I had developed my own vehicle (Nissan Pathfinder) and owned two new car franchises. I was very fortunate and I listened to those a lot wiser than me.
By doing that, I was able to put together a system of pre-owned management training that over the years has worked for almost everyone who has taken it seriously. One thing I want to share with you today is commitment to structure. As in many classes in the past and articles of today, we will discuss the three basic foundations of any business: purpose, structure and accountability.
Structure is the one that I believe, in this day and time is the most important thing for any dealer to focus on. Structure is the simplest one to put into place and the simplest one to watch. Let me give you an example of structure: when you hire an individual and you outline their purpose to be managing that department, you have then outlined their structure. You are structured with a porter, five salespeople, a building, a million and a half in cars, etc.
Last, but not least what are you accountable for? You sit down with your accountability number. Ours, when we work in house with stores, is a bare minimum after year end write down of a 12% net, net, in the bank, ROI and an average stay in stock of 32 days. We can’t do what we do if we don’t have a purpose for what we are doing, so you need to look at it the same way.
Under structure – for the next three or four days in the morning drive the pre-owned lot, in the event this is not a problem, then pick something else, you are smart enough to figure out where I’m going with this.
Go into the used car manager’s office and say, “you need to clean up the rocker panel on that F-150, when they put the tire gloss on it, it was still wet when they drove it through the gravel, and it looks bad.” Next day drive through, then go in and say, “You need to move that GMC Envoy because the sand has blown way up under the tires and it’s very obvious it’s been parked there for a long time.” After three or four days that sales manager is going to know what you expect under his structured environment. You are looking for first class, clean inventory.
After a few days of doing this, stop for a week. You know as well as I do what’s going to happen. They are going to go back to the same old drill. You have got to write out your purpose, structure and accountability assessment for that manager before you can ever expect to have a pre-owned operation that runs in a truly functional manner.