Bumpa loved to be on a boat, especially a sailboat, and several times he even sailed up the entire east coast from Florida all the way home to Maine. Like all good sailors, he always kept his eyes on the sky. How does that apply to our business? Let’s just say that if you get caught out on a sailboat during a storm, it’s too late at that point to make any adjustments—you’d better just hunker down and try to survive without getting sunk! Whereas, by keeping abreast of any climate changes in our industry and being sensitive to fluctuations in the environment, you will be able to proactively make the necessary course corrections in order to ensure your business is safe in the harbor to ride out the inevitable storms we all face.
“Let’s go key up the lot!”
Bumpa was infamous for wanting to rearrange the lot, and you could normally count on him rounding up the sales staff two to three times every week to go out and rearrange the entire inventory. I used to think he did it just to keep the staff busy, but I have since learned the importance of making our lots look alive and how crucial it is for potential customers driving by to always see activity at our dealerships. It’s the same principle behind putting out balloons and antenna flags, popping the hoods and trunks or turning on all the flashers. We need to create an atmosphere of excitement at our dealerships, so we can grab the attention of our customers and arouse their interest about what is going on. They don’t know it is just our staff rearranging the inventory; all they see is activity, and they will want to be a part of it!
“Many hands make light the task.”
I’m a slow learner, but after awhile I came to realize that he usually quoted this one whenever he wanted us to help him move something heavy. That doesn’t change the truth of the statement. A good team can always accomplish more than one individual, usually in a lot less time, and certainly with less stress on the individual. Don’t overlook the resources embodied in those you work with every day, and don’t be unwilling or too proud to ask for them to help “lighten your task.” Conversely, look for ways you can lend your hands to help lighten others’ tasks.
“A car bought right is half sold already.”
Now Bumpa was semi-retired before special finance really came into its own, and this statement really applies to all segments of the used vehicle market. However, it certainly seems to be especially applicable in the realm of special finance, where buying the right inventory at a price that will allow you to maximize the callbacks is really one of the major keys to the success of that department.
“If I agreed with you all the time, why would I need to keep you around?”
In other words, don’t surround yourself with “Yes”-men. There is nothing wrong with people having differing opinions as long as they are expressed in a civil manner. Many successful businesses set up an advisory team to serve as a sounding board for the dealer principal, where key decisions can be openly discussed and opinions and ideas can be presented without any fear of repercussions. This is not a complaint session, but rather an opportunity to discuss different ways in which the company can become more successful.
I’m thankful for these nuggets of wisdom that Bumpa has left for us, and I hope by keeping them fresh in my mind, and trying to constantly apply the principles contained in them, I’ll one day be passing them on to my own grandkids. I’ll also have to see what I can do about getting them to pronounce “Grandpa” correctly!
Vol 3, Issue 3