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Data is King at Auction for Sellers and Buyers

In today’s online buying platform at auctions across the country, the most proficient buyers at auction all rely on data to make correct buying decisions.  Have you ever wondered why most sellers haven’t adapted to this method of using data to make selling decisions?  It’s a great question isn’t it? Here’s why I think data is king at the auction for sellers and buyers.

Today our auction coordinator, for the Nalley Automotive platform in Atlanta, was sitting in my office repping the cars as they went through the Manheim Atlanta auction.  It’s a common practice of mine to log-in as remote seller through the Stockwave software and watch our cars on sale day.

Joe was on his laptop using the standard Manheim in-lane video interface without Stockwave and I was logged in as remote seller using Stockwave.  So, I decided to play a little game with Joe and try and predict what each car would bring based on the data I was seeing in my Stockwave at a glance view.  Sale begins and I start calling out the top bid I think the car would bring.  The first 5 cars, I was within $300 bucks of the final bid based on my off brand business plan.  As the sale goes on, I could predict within and average of $450 bucks what the car would bring regardless of what MMR was.  Some cars brought way past MMR and others way below MMR. Cars that didn’t reach the suggested bid were cars with moderate to severe Carfax or incredibly low CR’s (condition report)

About a third of the way through Joe yelled at me and ask, how and the hell can you predict so closely what these cars are going to bring?  So, I brought him over to my screen and showed him all the data.  Joe laughed and said,

“I’m getting Stockwave setup tomorrow!”

Why Every Auction Seller Should Use Stockwave to Sell Cars

data is king for sellers and buyers at auction

If you’re not familiar with Stockwave, the “At a glance view” can be customized to see all kinds of different data such as Carfax status, Autotrader Scarcity Index rBook adjusted average list price, NADA clean trade-in, Condition reports, MMR wholesale average and all of the third party listing sites like Autotrader, and Cargurus average pricing for the car that is on the block. You can even setup a modules for specific business plans you have built within Stockwave. (Business Plans, Very important to this discussion. This is how I guessed what the final bid was going to be.)

This type of data could give a seller valuable insight on what his cars should bring from bidders in the lane. My point here is that Joe usually relies only on MMR and the floor that the store sets on the car.  Since the onset of Covid-19, platform sellers like Joe don’t get the opportunity to walk the cars anymore before the sale.  Also keep in mind, Joe doesn’t know anything about these cars other than the CR’s and the floors the stores have given him.

Know When to Drop the Hammer Using Data

buying cars at auction 7 tips to avoid auction mistakes

We have all seen those 3 and 4 thousand dollar cars bring thousands past MMR in the lane and we sometimes question ourselves why the seller paid so much for the car.  Do you think those buyers are using data or buying from gut instinct?  I promise you, the good buyers are using data informed decisions.

Armed with loads of data, sellers like Joe, could make much better informed decisions on selling their cars, and know when to drop the hammer for the correct amount of money, not solely relying on MMR and CR’s.  I promise you, if you use this tactic you will see you’re wholesale gross increase by double.

I would love to hear what some of you think and do any sellers use Stockwave or any other platform when selling cars at auction.  I know factory sellers and captive lenders have their own in-house matrix, but what about you as dealers?   Please leave a comment below about your experience selling cars at auctions and what type of data you have been using.


Pre Owned car business strategist, music, food and wine enthusiest. If your not ahead of the curve, your behind it!

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