Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misidentified Sullivan Automotive Group. The northern California dealership group owns Roseville Toyota, John L. Sullivan Chevrolet and Yuba City Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, and is preparing to open Livermore Toyota.
Melissa Cole remembers her first impression of Reynolds and Reynolds’ docuPAD: “It was a $170,000 mistake.”
Sullivan Automotive Group of northern California, with Toyota and Chevrolet dealerships in Roseville and a Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram store in Yuba City, had installed 17 of the machines, designed to aid F&I sales, in its dealerships at a cost of $10,000 each.
DocuPAD, a flat screen that nearly covers the F&I manager’s desk, lets the manager and customer see every step of the process simultaneously, watching video presentations of products and signing documents on the screen with a stylus.
Cole, now finance director for the group, had to convert the F&I staff at her dealership to a new way of doing business. It wasn’t easy. High performers in particular saw no reason to switch from sales pitches that had worked for them to docuPAD’s rigorous menu-selling approach.
In addition, Cole says, the developers hadn’t accounted for all of the compliance intricacies of regulation-heavy California, and the first wave of training was inadequate.
Fed up, Cole resorted to a tactic she doesn’t recommend for everyone: Her group stopped paying its bill for six months. That got Reynolds’ attention, she says, and the company changed the docuPAD processes to meet the dealership group’s needs and bolstered its training.
Today, Cole is a convert. “Now that it works,” Cole says, “I love it.”