Equity Mining: A Variable of Data Analytics, but Not the Complete Solution

Equity Mining: A Variable of Data Analytics, but Not the Complete Solution

Leaving additional data out of the picture means leaving money on the table

December 1, 2020

Equity mining is a very basic method for gaining opportunities to sell more vehicles. Customers who owe less than the value of their vehicle are more likely to upgrade.

But equity mining only paints a partial picture of your customers’ likelihood of upgrading – and a blurry one at that. Dealerships that find this picture to be “good enough” are missing out on opportunities every day to retain current customers and conquest new ones.

What completes the picture?

It starts with additional actionable data.

Not just bits of information here and there that you’re expected to somehow piece together – but data that is unified, analyzed, tested, and handed to you in a way that allows your team to take a proven course of action.

AutoAlert’s data platform is so powerful because it gathers the data and does “the data work” for you, outlining the specific steps to engage the customer.

Equity is only part of what we provide for dealerships. We also provide:

  • A more complete picture of each customer
  • Where they are in the vehicle-buying journey
  • How to reach them at the right time with the right message, and
  • A clear path for closing the sale.

Let’s look at three areas where your dealership can most benefit from the AutoAlert data platform.

1. Predicting customer behavior

Equity mining has been a good data starting point for dealerships because it has some data intelligence.

Today, you may know when a customer is shopping a competitor’s lot. You may know when they engage with your marketing materials, and when they’re shopping online for cars. You may even know when they’re exhibiting behavior that indicates – for that specific customer – that they are likely to buy soon.

“Equity position is still important, but it becomes just one piece of what needs to be considered.

“I would ask other dealers, ‘Are you using any kind of mining tool that reaches your sold customers to sell them cars in the future?’” Joel Nelson, GM of Scott Robinson CDJR, recently said. “Because I highly recommend AutoAlert – we sell a lot of cars using it.”

Arguably, the best use of data today by any business is to accurately predict what and when consumers want to buy. If you’re able to do this, you’ll save your customers a lot of time – which is good for you and for them.

2. Service lane sales & conquesting

The service drive has long been considered a prime opportunity for increasing vehicle sales. People pouring in and out every day … but how do you do it intelligently? How do you do it effectively? And how do you get your team onboard?

First, you need to determine the right customers to approach. Randomly picking customers or posting a sign that says “We want to buy your car/We need your car” can easily come off as a sales tactic to the wrong customer.

A good data platform will identify the right customers for you and give you information that is helpful to the customer. Maybe the data and analytics have indicated that they’re in-market, that they were on your competitor’s lot yesterday, that they’re shopping crossovers, and that their warranty is almost up. Now you have a much better reason to start a conversation.

With AutoAlert, you can even create a “wish list” of vehicles you’d like to acquire through the service drive. You’ll be alerted when a customer with one of those vehicles shows up. Better yet, you’ll be alerted when they schedule an appointment, giving your team the chance to prepare ahead of time.

3. Building relationships & loyalty

As discussed in point 1, “predicting customer behavior,” with our data platform you’ll be able to predict what and when your customers are ready to buy, giving you the opportunity to meet their needs faster than the competition – often before the customer even realizes them.

This is key to saving busier-than-ever consumers precious time and key to keeping your customers.

Time and again we hear a story from our dealer partners that goes something like this: They call a customer with a platform-identified opportunity, the customer says they aren’t interested now, and then the customer calls back in a day or two asking about the details again. These conversations often turn into a sale.

Why? Because the analytics are accurate. And because the dealership has useful information to share with the customer – information that the competition doesn’t have, information that aligns with the customer’s needs.

Then, they are given the best way/ways to reach these customers, engage them, and make their entire experience seamless and quick.

“We have a great CRM, and we use it extensively. But there’s a gap. With 18,000 people in the database, sold and service, but also 27,000 that we’ve had contact with, how do you reengage those people with value? … [Y]our BDC team is just going down the list, clicking them off. They don’t know the customer; there’s no personal interaction. They don’t believe in the value of the interaction, then how can they convey value to the customer? And therein lies the gap that AutoAlert fills so wonderfully.”
– Bryan Armstrong, Executive Director of e-Commerce at VW Southtowne, VW Lee’s Summit, VW Cypress, VW of Clear Lake

Conclusion: Don’t stop equity mining – but DO make it one piece of the bigger data picture

In the past, equity information was more helpful for the average customer – “Sarah, did you know that you have $2,000 in equity in your car today? You can get that crossover you want with it.” But today, many customers already have this information and understand what it means. A quick Google search explains equity, and Kelley Blue Book gives them a close approximation of the value of their car.

Equity position remains helpful today, but to provide the most benefit to the customer, dealerships require a data platform that not only collects data but also makes it relevant to the customer – and actionable for your team.

This gives dealerships something that customers don’t have but highly value – the right deal at the right time. And a partner to help them through the ownership of the vehicle, their next purchase, and every interaction in between.

Equity mining isn’t a bad idea. Just remember that it is simply a variable in the equation, not the complete solution.