QUESTION POST: PLEASE COMMENT

Question Post:

I have been approached to do some computer system and tablet reviews.

My question is, would the readers of this Blog be interested in seeing those here?

Also, is there a certain Computer System/ Laptop / Tablet / Smart Phone you want researched?

Let me know in the comments.

Also, see my new service: Excel and PDF Forms Help (Link in the the Header above )

WHERE ARE THE SNAKES?

DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE?

It’s been brought up before, and it bears repeating. There is a concept called “Situational Awareness.”

Roughly, it is defined as the “ability to identify, process, and comprehend the critical elements of information about what is happening to the team with regards to the mission.” Simply put: It is knowing what is going on around you, how to deal with it, and what it means.

SA is taught and retaught and retaught in the military, with police departments, fire fighters, and many other tactical groups. It’s a concept that means life or death, not only to those groups, but also to the public they serve.

Your SA may not entirely affect on your personal lifespan, but it certainly can mean the life or death of your business.  

The title of this visit referred to snakes. In jungles or similar situations, its one of those things that requires intense SA. The snakes are usually well-hidden, due to the undergrowth or their ability to simply drop out of a tree, and are typically camouflaged fairly well. It’s also important to note that not only are they the most elusive to spot, they are among the most deadly. Each different situation has different hazards. Maybe it’s a different type of snake, maybe its some other poisonous creature, or even a human adversary who manages to hide and be as deadly as those snakes. When they train tactical forces to go into a specific area, they train them on the specific hazards in that area. In addition to identifying the threats, the unit is also trained on avoidance of them, and dealing with the ones that cannot be avoided.

So, where and what are the “snakes” in the used car business? No, that’s not a crack on your sales staff. I’m simply asking you to sit down and put some thought into what the hazards are in your area, and what is your plan to avoid them or deal with the unavoidable ones. Your “area” being the Used Car Business, coupled with the city or state in which you are based. If you engage in dealer financing, you have added hazards to identify, as well.

Some of these “snakes” are more obvious than others, just like in the forest. Some are more annoying than poisonous, and also like the wild, some are only a threat to you when you become one to them. So, when you assess the various species of snakes in the Used Car Business, you also need to assign to them a reasonable estimation of the amount of harm they can do.

This is another situation where 20 Groups are useful, in that they can assist the newer dealers with identification of the hazards, and sharing proven methods for dealing with them.

Older dealers benefit from sharing the wisdom, because stronger dealers strengthens the industry as a whole.

In the US, there were 38.3 Million used cars sold in 2015, and franchise lots only sold 11.4 million of those. (Source: Autoremarketing.com)

That means the independent Used Car Dealers moved nearly 27 million used cars in one year, over 2 million per month. Unless you yourself have a lot that size, remember that we depend on each other. No man is an island, and neither is a dealership.

See you next time.

WHOSE SIGNATURE IS THIS?

I have heard that question a LOT in this industry, usually when the customer is trying to contest the terms of the deal. It’s one of the first weapons the manager pulls out of the armory to use against the customer. “You agreed to this” they say, pointing insistently at the customers’ signature. After all, the manager argues, the signature indicates legal acceptance of the terms of the deal as shown.

Almost ironically, these same dealers are quite cavalier about the other signatures on the page, namely, the dealer representative who accepts the deal.

Let’s talk about that for a moment. Who do you allow to commit your dealership to the same legal acceptance of the deal?  After all, when the dealership wants to “walk back” something they have said or change a term or condition, the customer has the same legal standing to point at the contract and say “Whose signature is this?”

Having a policy that states only certain approved individuals accept and authorize deals on behalf of the company is a very good thing, and your attorney will thank you for it.

Ask yourself: Who do you trust to legally bind the dealership to a contract?

The dealer’s signature (or that of their authorized agent) is just as legally binding as the customers’.

Your dealership needs a policy that requires all sales staff to bring a printed deal to the sales manager or owner for approval before the customer signs. This way, the person or persons who are being held accountable for the deals that leave the lot can review and sign off on them.

Yes, you may have already approved the customer to pay $2000 down and pay $500 per month, but is that what the paperwork actually says? Computers and people make mistakes, although it is legitimately safe to say that the latter is almost always the cause of the former’s errors.

It is simply another way to manage your dealership. I need not remind some of you that UN-managed dealerships are also overwhelmingly UN-profitable.  

Think about that until our next visit.