MAXDigital leads the way from acquisition to sale

What can data do for a dealership? Ask Pat Buchanan. “With the data we have in hand now, I can look at everything from the closing rate on trades to the top sellers for the past two, six or eight weeks,” says Buchanan, used car sales manager for Zimbrick Chevrolet, Sun Prairie, Wis. “I can get down to what option packages and colors give me the fastest turnarounds.”
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That gives him an advantage, for instance, in used-car auctions. “I may see both a gold GMC Terrain and also a silver one,” Buchanan says. “From my data, I know that I can sell the silver 22 days faster than the gold. So maybe I’m willing to pay up on it over the gold, and I can pay more than my competitors to get that car because I know it’s going to turn faster.” Family-owned Zimbrick has been selling automobiles in the Madison area for 51 years, and now sells more than 10,000 new and used cars yearly through 16 franchises.

Buchanan has used MAXDigital for data and inventory management for five years; when he moved from another Zimbrick store into his post last year, he transferred Zimbrick Chevy’s data management to MAXDigital. In seven months, he says, the dealership is up over forecast and is selling more pre-owned units than in the previous year, and gross profit is up nearly $500 per car. Zimbrick Chevy uses MAXDigital’s Inventory Management Platform for stocking, appraisal and pricing, as well as its Marketing and Sales Platform to pull together reviews and comparative model and pricing data, and to create digital advertising.

“If you really utilize these tools, for pricing and to look at what is selling around you, you can dial into having a better inventory,” Buchanan says. “We used to carry just Chevy on our used-car lot; based on the sales data we saw, now we have more imports. Our website traffic — on our own website as well as on third-party sites — has gone up, our turn rate is faster, we are generating more leads.”

One of the reasons he loves MAXDigital is time to market. “My turn to get a car online now is less than three days,” he says. “I’m beating my group’s average of 7 days.” MAXDigital’s ad tools make it simple to create and distribute digital ads for each new vehicle, designed around searchengine optimization. At the dealership, the MAXDigital tools also give salespeople better information when making a deal. “These tools take all the data points, third-party reviews, talking points and put them at the fingertips of a salesperson,” Buchanan says. “If a customer wants to beat them up on price, the salesperson can use the data in the rebuttal process. We can say,‘Yes, you can go look at that Cruze down the road, but look: Ours has more technology and $1,800 worth of extra equipment.’ ”

Finally, having all this data available in one place saves the dealership valuable time. “Here’s the thing: It’s all about price, price, price,” Buchanan says. “If you are not on some sort of appraisal tool, you are leaving money on the table with each car you’re selling. If you’re using books instead of a digital tool, you’re losing time from every manager or salesperson who’s got to touch a book to check a price. The tool pays for itself in terms of man hours alone.

“To put it bluntly, MAXDigital’s tools take an OK and average dealer and make them better. Not only do you have all the data in hand, but I get much faster service from MAX. From acquisition through sales, in lane buying and appraisal … when I’m looking to buy, what cars I need to buy and where to go get them — MAXDigital offers a complete tool.”
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