Tackling the Challenging World of F&I

How ReserveMax hopes to make the process more palatable for everyone in the dealership.

Finance & Insurance (F&I) is arguably one of the most important departments in any dealership, and any help F&I employees can get to make the deal better for the customer – and more profitable for the dealership – is typically eagerly accepted.

RV PRO chatted with Stephanie Alderman, COO and head of product for ReserveMax – an F&I solution that automates the decision-making process to ensure dealers make the most reserve on deals – to learn more about their services and why it can be helpful for a dealership’s success.

RVP: Please tell us how ReserveMax – and the parent company Canopy – came to be. What was the inspiration for these ventures?

Alderman: ReserveMax is the brainchild of Canopy founder Lyle Peluso, who spent years working in auto and RV dealerships across both sales and F&I departments. After several years as a consistent top performer, he quit to form Canopy and launch the first product, ReserveMax. He understood the challenges faced by both sales teams, in desking deals accurately, and F&I managers due to a lack of standardization across the options in the indirect lending market.

Very early on he teamed up with co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Jeremy Grice. Jeremy has over two decades of experience, specializing in software development and telecommunications. As the lead technologist, he brought in talent from his network and built the tool we have today. The company has a wealth of experience on our engineering team, including a senior architect with experience working at multiple Silicon Valley companies, like Lyft, LinkedIn and Amazon.

I joined forces with Lyle and Jeremy shortly after they publicly launched the product as COO and head of product. Prior to joining Canopy, I served in leadership positions across operations, managed services and product strategy for asset management firms as well as fintech firms devoted to automating operations across financial services clients.

Our first product, ReserveMax, was built with the purpose of increasing profitability at a dealership by solving the issues of complexity in the indirect lending market that affect every step in the financing process.

RVP: Can you give us an overview of what ReserveMax can help dealers with? What pain points does it solve for dealers?

Alderman: ReserveMax simplifies the financing process for dealers by offering easy comparison between their existing lenders, effortless prequalification, accuracy when desking a deal, and the potential to access new lenders in their market. In doing so, a dealership can provide a better user experience for customers participating in their financing business, while maximizing the profitability and speed with which deals are completed.

We’re leveling up the sales managers and inexperienced F&I managers so that they can focus on customer service, insurance product knowledge, and maintaining adherence to compliance standards. We’ve also partnered with 700 Credit so that a customer can be prequalified with our tool, even before they start shopping for an RV, giving the sales team and customer a better understanding of what they can afford and what their financing preferences and options are. Using the workflows in ReserveMax, we can offer a seamless transition from sales to F&I all at the click of a button.

RVP: What type of dealers will find ReserveMax most valuable and why?

Alderman: Any dealership that’s offering financing with indirect lenders will benefit from using ReserveMax. The large majority of our customers are using our tool to desk deals, not just as an F&I tool. By putting it in the sales managers’ hands early in the process, they’re able to realize its full potential.

It’s being used to optimize deal structures earlier, overcome cash customer objections, choose the lender that offers the best deal for the customer based on the customer’s clear preferences, and to do it in minutes instead of hours.

RVP: How has the rollout and response from the industry been? What feedback have you received?

Alderman: We’ve had significant feedback from many in the industry, across dealers, software partners and lending institutions. We are excited to have the opportunity to partner and integrate with several of those parties in the coming months and years.

We love hearing the ideas our customers have on how we can improve our tool and what types of features they hope to have in the future. Our product roadmap is formed directly from their feedback, and we’ve been fortunate that our early customers have so much industry experience that they’re willing to share to shape our tool for the benefit of all our customers.

RVP: What do you hope ReserveMax teaches dealers? What do you think it helps them do in relation to their competitors?

Alderman: ReserveMax takes the difficulty of navigating the RV financing options off the table for everyone in the dealership. They’ll have more time to focus on product training and customer service.

Many of our customers are using the tool at RV shows this season and are able to work up deals in minutes while their competitors are struggling in the heavy volume atmospheres. We love hearing their success stories.

RVP: Is there anything else you’d like to add that dealers need to know about?

Alderman: While the lending ecosphere is complex, our implementation and set up isn’t. We work with customers to load their lending programs, set up their locations and users, and have them up and running on the system in a matter of weeks.

In addition to a simple and painless implementation, we are always looking for new partners and features to add value to our tool. We are committed to continuous improvement while seeking to offset costs, where possible, for our customers as we add new benefits to the platform through strategic partnerships and integrations.

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