Strangers in the Mall

I was sitting in a big comfortable chair in the mall just outside the second-level entrance to Macy’s department store. I was extremely lucky to have secured one of the big comfortable More »

Internet Battle Plan XX Schedule & Program

View and download the full class schedule for Internet Battle Plan XX in Myrtle Beach at the link below! Internet Battle Plan XX Class Schedule More »

Watch Out for Grizzlies

Life really sucks if you’re a salmon in the Upper Northwest. They’re just trying to get home to start a family. As if the journey wasn’t perilous enough, a long line of More »

Alpha Dawg Down

I have visited five cities in three weeks, traveling to the North, South, East and West through some of the worst and most erratic weather of the year. I went from warm More »

We’re Selling Cars Like Candy Bars

Party on, Garth! Light-vehicle sales showed a year-over-year increase of 8% in February. Of course, that’s coming off of a January in which winter storms ground sales to a halt. Still, statisticians, More »

 

Strangers in the Mall

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I was sitting in a big comfortable chair in the mall just outside the second-level entrance to Macy’s department store. I was extremely lucky to have secured one of the big comfortable chairs, because every last one of them was occupied. There was a family of five sitting on the sofa, an old man taking a nap, and, in the chair next to me, a well-dressed, middle-aged man playing with his smartphone. This is the place wives park their husbands while they shop. Most of us have that bored look on our faces that says there’s some place we’d rather be. I played with my own phone for a while until I had seen every post on Facebook and LinkedIn, cleaned up my emails, messaged

You Can’t Handle the Truth

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You’d have to have been in a coma since 1991 if you haven’t seen that clip from “A Few Good Men.” Tom Cruise is grilling Jack Nicholson in court. “I want the truth!” says Cruise, in the role of the smarmy lawyer. Nicholson, playing a battle-hardened Marine colonel, explodes. “You can’t handle the truth!” Classic. No matter what you think about Jim Ziegler, you’ll seldom find anyone who is neutral about me. … Although even my staunchest detractors will agree that my industry forecasts and predictions about the car business have, for the most part, been extremely accurate. I have often made the right call when every other expert and authority in our industry was saying the opposite. History has always seemed to vindicate me

To Lease or Not to Lease

Writing about leasing requires that I don several hats, as it’s important that I clarify the processes and move dealerships to a better strategic policy. When wearing my sales or desk manager hat, I need to know the best way to present my leasing vs. retail figures to a customer. I also need to know what considerations impact my decisions. I also need to know when to covert a customer to a lease. When wearing my general manager hat, I have to consider what is best and most profitable for the dealership. As a sales professional, I have to consider when and how to present the lease proposition to customers. I also have to know what to tell them. It amazes me when I see

Internet Battle Plan XX Schedule & Program

IBP XX

View and download the full class schedule for Internet Battle Plan XX in Myrtle Beach at the link below! Internet Battle Plan XX Class Schedule

Watch Out for Grizzlies

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Life really sucks if you’re a salmon in the Upper Northwest. They’re just trying to get home to start a family. As if the journey wasn’t perilous enough, a long line of grizzly bears is waiting to eat two out of three of them before they get upstream. Poor bastards. Operating a dealership today is sort of like being a salmon. You’re just trying to make a decent living and provide for your family, but there are grizzlies everywhere, all trying to consume two out of three of your hopes and dreams. Unwelcome Competition For years now, I’ve predicted it, said it in speeches and written it in literally hundreds of articles, blogs and social media threads. Now they’ve actually said it and their agenda

The Lead-Gen Death Throes

They came dancing into our lives back in the mid-’90s and totally transformed our industry. In fact, I recall the first time I saw Autobytel exhibiting at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)’s convention. I shook my head and said, “That ain’t gonna happen.” Well, it did happen, and we all saw a growing parade of competitors in a vicious dogfight to dominate the space. My hat’s off to the few who prevailed. The real game-changer, however, was Scott Painter and TrueCar. Painter’s business model reflected his thinly disguised contempt for car dealers. Unlike other lead-generation providers, whose primary purpose was to connect car buyers with dealers, TrueCar’s main objective was to set prices and broker deals at a loss for the dealers. We all

Alpha Dawg Down

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I have visited five cities in three weeks, traveling to the North, South, East and West through some of the worst and most erratic weather of the year. I went from warm weather with pollen raining down everywhere to the snow, cold temperatures and wet, windy weather of the Northern reaches and then back down South again. I’m happy to be back home in Atlanta, but for more reasons than one. Don’t ever take your health for granted, my friends. Sudden illnesses can deliver a knockout punch. I didn’t think much about the sniffles, chest congestion and coughing when it started. I blew it off as pollen allergies or maybe a head cold. In any case, I was busy. I was in Lake Charles, La.,

We’re Selling Cars Like Candy Bars

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Party on, Garth! Light-vehicle sales showed a year-over-year increase of 8% in February. Of course, that’s coming off of a January in which winter storms ground sales to a halt. Still, statisticians, industry experts and analysts are predicting the possibility of a record-breaking 18.9 million-unit sales year. Of course, that’s assuming nothing goes wrong with the economy, the delicate balance of diplomacy in China, North Korea and the Middle East, the presidential election or any of a thousand other variables that could slam the brakes on momentum without a moment’s notice. But until something happens, we’re selling cars like candy bars. Party on, Wayne! Personally, I have never been so busy and so optimistic in life and business. In a few days, Debbie and I

Solving the Dealership-Life Imbalance

The car business is tough. The hours are long. We work nights and weekends. If you’re not here, you’re not selling cars. If you’re not selling cars, you’re not making a living. I’ve been in the retail side of this business for 40 years. I’ve seen many things change and evolve, but the extreme work schedule really hasn’t changed that much. Many salespeople and managers find themselves putting in up to 60 hours a week. What do you want, a 40-hour workweek? You already know the answer. “Suck it up, buttercup! We need coverage!” Recently, on one of my blogs, a young car salesman new to the business asked how he could achieve some sort of balance between family life and the demands of the

Killing F&I

I’ve been writing about this for years. As a matter of fact, I’ve screamed it from the mountaintops until the echoes rang repeatedly around the industry. I’ve watched it gain momentum as a consortium of vendors, manufacturers and other assorted rogues and pirates dreamed and schemed up a plot to assassinate the F&I department. They’ll sell it to the dealers by promising to reduce the time it takes to complete a sale. They’ll talk about the magical customer experience it creates when the horrible F&I process is eliminated. They’ll tell you any competent salesperson can present and sell the products and make the proper disclosures. You’ll ask who exactly will deliver and disclose the contract and all the documents and get the deals worked. That’s