The Benefits of Using a Completely Live Vehicle Appraisal Team – Mike Dodd, Trade-In Valet

Trade-In Valet

At NADA 2020 in beautiful Las Vegas, host Jim Fitzpatrick was joined by Mike Dodd, CEO of Trade-In Valet, one of the industry’s largest guaranteed trade platforms for dealers.


Jim Fitzpatrick: Thank you so much for joining us on the show.

Mike Dodd: Thank you for having me.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure. Having a great show so far?

Mike Dodd: Absolutely. Man, it’s an absolute whirlwind for us at the moment. Have you been by the booth?

Jim Fitzpatrick: I have.

Mike Dodd: Good gravy.

Jim Fitzpatrick: I see it’s covered up, it’s incredible.

Mike Dodd: It’s the Affinitiv, AutoLoop, the merger.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right, that’s right.

Mike Dodd: And we’re packed with …

Jim Fitzpatrick: Talk to us a little bit about the acquisition. I mean those guys picked you up recently, right? Affinitiv?

Mike Dodd: Affinitiv and AutoLoop just merged.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right, right.

Mike Dodd: And that’s all the activity right now at the booth, is covered up with OEMs and clients. It’s great though.

Jim Fitzpatrick: I bet. You guys are on fire.

Mike Dodd: It’s really good.

Jim Fitzpatrick: So what’s new Trade-In Valet here at the show, 2020?

Mike Dodd: Well, for Affinitiv as a whole, all the focus at the show is on the new OEM relationships, the merger, the acquisition and it’s just great. We’re incredibly busy.

Jim Fitzpatrick: You must have a —

Mike Dodd: So we’re focused on that here at the show. That being said, what’s new for Trade-In Valet? We have a few tricks up our sleeve, and we have a really exciting new product coming out that you’ll have to have us back on and have that discussion here.

Jim Fitzpatrick: I’d love to. In the past, you mentioned that Trade-In Valet has live bidders. Tell us a little bit about that.

Mike Dodd: We do. Our bid team, real people.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right. Very cool.

Mike Dodd: Every appraisal we issue comes from a live appraiser that analyzes the data. Of course, we have technology to support us, but they all come from a live bid team.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s pretty impressive. I mean, that’s got to be enormous team that you’re building there.

Mike Dodd: Oh, it is. It’s a huge team. We’re the only people in the country that do it that way, but there’s an incredible … The human element of the appraisal is invaluable, and here we are, it’s 2020, and everybody’s relying on technology, but there’s certain things in a car deal that you just can’t replace, and the human element of that appraisal’s really valuable.

Jim Fitzpatrick: And a dealer can get burned pretty quickly if you don’t have that live person in the deal, right?

Mike Dodd: Oh, we make a big difference. It makes a huge difference.

Jim Fitzpatrick: There’s no question about it. Is that the feature that dealers use most?

Mike Dodd: Well, it’s a pretty robust platform, and there’s several aspects of it, and what we find … It depends on what their challenges are in the store. There’s some dealers that gravitate to just the pure lead gen aspect of the tool. We’re the number one site visitor lead provider in over 95% of the accounts we’re in in the nation.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow.

Mike Dodd: So as we help them harvest their site visitors, there’s a ton of value. Or there’s stores that may struggle with the social. They want to pull people off of social media. Well, maybe that’s the appeal.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay. Okay. So it really just depends on the needs of that particular dealer, right?

Mike Dodd: But there’s a component that will help pull traffic out of the service drive, help them sell cars and buy cars off the service drive. So …

Jim Fitzpatrick: Let’s talk about that. You mentioned Trade-In Valet helps dealers save deals in that way as well, right?

Mike Dodd: Well, the saving the deal, it’s really interesting because back to the live bid team.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right.

Mike Dodd: Every appraisal we issue comes with the guarantee to the dealer and to the consumer, right? We are transparent. We tell the customer the truth, we help them hold car deals together. But the save the deal aspect of it is dealers now have a second set of eyes on the higher-card car deals. For example, there’s a difficult trade, the used car manager may not have experience with that unit or maybe they just can’t push that hard. They have a live appraiser at their beck and call, two minutes, five minutes away, that will give them a guaranteed offer for the car.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow. That’s really impressive.

Mike Dodd: To be clear though, I think something that we try to clarify often, we’re not wholesalers. Every appraisal we issue comes with a live guarantee. But we’re not wholesalers. What we do, we’re a technology platform that’s all about effective engagement and just helping dealers sell new and used cars. But if, for some reason, a unit that we appraise or a unit that we offer a bid on does not fit in that dealer’s mix, they can transact and we buy the car, so …

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay. Okay. Wow, that’s pretty impressive. It sounds like you’ve incorporated a lot of single-purpose tools into a single solution. Tell us about that.

Mike Dodd: Well, we have. We have the social media, we have a service drive application. We now have, as part of Affinitiv, we’re now able to leverage that broader platform.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Mike Dodd: And we now have an equity mining component to the tool.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Mike Dodd: The online engagement, it’s very robust, and then the statement you made. It’s true. We’re the only people that have combined … We’ve combined four or five tools into one, and we’ve leveraged the other aspects of our platform throughout Affinitiv, to bring that together.

Jim Fitzpatrick: You guys are doing so much at one time.

Mike Dodd: Oh, it’s getting super exciting.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Affinitiv is becoming like this new conglomerate out there that a lot of dealers are talking about. You’ve developed a great out there.

Mike Dodd: That’s what we’re hoping for.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right.

Mike Dodd: That’s what we’re here for.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Mike Dodd, CEO of Trade-In Valet. Thank you so much for joining us on CBT News. It’s been great.

Mike Dodd: Thanks for having me.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Thanks.