Three Shocking Ways to Ruin Your Dealership BDC.

And Three Smart Ways to Fix It.

Are you meeting your customers where they are?

Are you meeting your customers where they are?

BDCs and/or Internet Departments are a necessity for today’s automotive dealerships. BetterCarPeople is part of the GM Compass Tour this year, and BDC or BDC Cultures have been at the height of the conversation. With 89% of sales originating from an online lead or search inquiry (according to Edmunds 2014 research), these departments are not just a fleeting whim, but the real deal.

So why do we think they will just create themselves?

When one single department is bringing in this level of revenue, you would think there would be a tried and perfected plan in place. And some dealerships have this department rock solid.

Others—not so much.

The need for process, as noted at the GM Compass Tour this year, is at an all time high; yet many think these magical unicorns called a functioning BDC will just appear. We know the formula for making things fail, and we know the secret sauce for how to make a Rock Star BDC. And both start with the word “process.”  

We can plan for our BDC/Customer Experience to fail, or we can plan for it to blow all the others out of the water. Let’s talk about both.

Way to Fail #1:Hire anyone who looks techy.

Yeah—that kid who just graduated and has an iPhone for a hand—you know who I mean. He MUST be a technological Guru. Hire him to head up your  department.

Forget that he has no clue how to communicate with people, set expectations, plan for a day, or motivate people. He LOOKS smart, and can SnapChat like a beast, so he must be the best fit.

Plus, he is the Dealer Principal’s nephew.

Bonus Points

(Unless he fails. Then you fail.)

Way to Fail #2: Don’t worry about the details.

After all, this is just answering leads, right? Anyone should be able to figure this out— even if you really don’t know what you expect. Forget that the BDC/Internet Department is the first real communication with the potential customer. As long as the BDRs have a laptop and a phone, they should be able to get the job done and bring people in. Still not sure how many people we want them to bring in, though.

Lots

They can bring in lots.

“Lots” is a good metric, right?

And if you don’t bring in lots, you will continue to lose money until you either quit or get fired.

Way to Fail #3: Assume things be understood without training.

I remember a teacher way back in highschool telling us never to assume anything; it makes an a** out of you and me. (See what she did there? Pretty clever).

When we assume people know what is expected and can implement without training, we are setting ourselves up for failure. And it is a giant waste of time trying to reteach things that we may not even be sure of.  

Let’s Fix This With Process.

Focus on People:

Hiring the right people from the start. That will take a little work on your part. Especially if you are not familiar with the elements of the job. Do a little research. Ask other professionals who have been successful in setting up their department.

Know what you expect from your employee and the position.

You are much less likely to hit a bullseye if you are blind. Stop leading blindly and know the expectations of the position.

Focus on Process:

Good things don’t generally just happen. They are planned, developed, and discussed—part of a process.

You can hire the perfect person for a job, but without a process, she will flounder. Process beats out talent any day.

Get your process in place and know what you want from your team, when you want it, and how you will measure it. This is not an easy fix, and needs some definite thought, but once it is in place, you will see the process kick in and productivity rise.

Focus on Time:

It always takes less time to do something right the first time.That is why you have your processes in place and prepare your employees well. That includes being transparent, sharing the information they need to be successful, and training the employees on what is expected. Share information—don’t hoard it. There is a fear that if you share, you either look weak, or employees will know too much.

That is dumb.

The more they know, the more they can focus on their job at hand.

Finally, if you are not a trainer, you will need to find good, practical training to educate your BDC on YOUR processes. Luckily there are options from online to brick and mortar to face to face to blended. Find the trainers who have similar philosophies as you, will be able to accomplish what you want the way you want.

Take Aways: 

  • It is easy to fail if you do not prepare
  • Preparation and process take work, but in the long run you will save time and be much more successful
  • Training is necessary. If you are not able to do it, find someone who will do it in the manner that works best with your dealership.
  • When you have a targeted focus, you will see results. You can’t get where you want to be if you don’t know where you want to go.

 

Some Helpful Referenes for Creating a Rock Star BDC:

 

Internet Departments, BDC, BDC Managers, Automotive Training, GM Compass Tour, GM Compass Tour 2015

GM Compass Tour and BetterCarPeople: Catch us while you can!

2015 has been an incredibly busy year for BetterCarPeople--and especially for its owner and CEO, Matthew Belk. While in the midst of creating new products, renovations, and keeping up with a quickly growing business, Matthew was asked by General Motors to be a Subject Matter Expert and speak about retention and the customer experience at the GM Compass Tour.

Today, Matthew is in Novi, MI followed by Minneapolis, MN on Thursday.

The GM Compass Tour is “an interactive journey created exclusively for GM dealers and key leaders. This daylong adventure provides multiple opportunities to meet GM and Industry experts who will be on hand to share new methods to market your data and provide training for the innovative tools and processes that will help drive retention, increase sales and service, and grow your entire dealership business.”(GM) The focus is on sharing best practices, networking, and developing skills that will either make dealerships more relevant in their market or make them even better than they were previously.

The tour kicked off in Orlando on May 19th and has already had 5 stops so far. Each stop has been bigger than the last, and all have been received extremely well. The tours, starting at 7 am in the morning and lasting until about 4 pm, have been sold out and filled with everyone from General Managers, to Internet Directors, to Service Managers, to all levels of GM employees.

One of the main reasons the tour has been received so well is that the speakers are providing specific and tangible solutions to modern problems in the dealerships. The face of automotive has change drastically, and will continue to change with technology, social selling, and varied forms of communication. The GM Compass Tour is providing real world solutions to relevant concerns--and it is going incredibly well.

Matthew Belk, alongside three other presenters, will continue to travel across America throughout the summer, ending the tour in September in Las Vegas, NV. Check out the dates and make sure to register for the Compass Tour if you have not been already. Click here to sign up to be a part of the Tour.

Remaining Dates:

July 23--Minneapolis, MN

July 28--Chicago, IL

Aug. 4--Wilmington, OH

Aug. 6--Pittsburgh, PA

Aug. 12-- Baltimore, MD

Aug. 18--Teaneck, NJ

Aug. 20-- Boston, MA

Aug. 25--Santa Clara, CA

Aug. 27--Los Angeles, CA

Sept. 10--St. Louis, MO

Sept. 15--Las Vegas, NV

 

GM Compass Tour, GM Compass Tour 2015, Internet Leads, BDC, BDC Manager

Is The End of Automotive Near?

Is it all over?

Millennials in the automotive industry. What does that even mean? Excitement? Fear? Annoyance at the overuse of the term?

To some it looks a little something like this:

the simpsons

The term millennial in the automotive industry has become synonymous with slow buying cycles, lack of excitement, and pure fear that they are not interested in cars.

And these fears did carry weight even a year ago.

Many studies were showing a decline in automotive purchases, dwindling passion for cars, and increased interest in car sharing, urban living, and reducing purchases. As all things do, though, times are changing, cycling, and new research is showing new trends.

The end may be a good thing, though.

Well, maybe not the definitive end, but definitely a modification.

Things are changing in the industry. And Thank God! If nothing changed, it would be a stagnant, boring, predictable life--and those words definitely do not describe the automotive world. The changes that are occurring at such a fast rate keep us all on our toes--connected technology, autonomous cars, progressive fueling systems--it you don’t feel your heart racing a little, you need to check your pulse.                

So of course, with these changes come the need to change your marketing habits.

It is a different product to a different segment of the market.

And Millennials are ready to buy. With purchasing power and a need to find the vehicle that represents who they are, it is time to adjust how to market to, sell to, and talk to Millennials. Automotive is not dead--not even close!

What can we do to market effectively to Millennials?

Hire Some!

They are the peak age, peak market, and at the top of their game for learning. Hire some. Ask what would get their attention.

And then LISTEN.

 

We all know we are experts and that we have all the answers. But sometimes others can add value. And the value of knowledge could pay back in dividends. Listen to their ideas--even if they are incredibly different than your own, and try to incorporate some.

Modify SOME Habits

I used to have a manager who would say “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” I always thought that was an odd statement, but very appropriate. Just because something is tepid and needs to be replaced, you don’t throw everything away.

Keep what works, get rid of what doesn’t modify what you can, and then add new ideas to spice things up. And when focusing on millennials, the spice may be an increased online presence. Removing stale content from your website and bringing in real stories from customers. Making sure all processes are as transparent as possible.

These are small, simple, and incredibly effective ways to market that target audience.

Take Aways:

  • The End Is NOT Near--Enjoy the Changes

  • Millennials are not the enemy, but rather your best friend. Talk to them

  • The industry is changing. Keep up or lose out.


Image Credits: 

Image 1: donteatthepickles.wordpress.com

Image 2: dreamingup.blogspot.com/2011/05/end-is-near.html

Image 3: commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Restoring_sanity_sign_-_The_end_isn%27t_near.jpg

Now That We Found Love--The Evolution of Millennials and Cars.

Millennials. They make up more than 75 million of the U.S. population, and have been researched, analyzed, and dissected from their emergence onto the scene in the 1980’s to today. Do they hate cars? Why are they not buying? Do we even market to them?

Just as in life, people change, trends change, and Millennials have definitely changed. They morph as fast as the technology around them-- and they have developed, enhanced, and gained ground in the automotive market.

They are also to the point of financial stability and purchasing power.

So, Heavy D and the Boyz had it right. Now that we found love  (car love, that is) what are we gonna do with it?

Here are some suggestions on marketing to millennials as well as debunking the myths, based on my Gen X love of music, research on Gen Yers (Millennials) and an abundance of coffee

The Sky is NOT Falling (Adele):

During 2010-2012,  most research done on the shopping habits of this group of individuals stated that it was the end of an era. The love of cars, the passion around driving--it was all gone. Millennials don’t like cars. They love their smartphones. That is it.

The automotive industry--and American culture as we know it--will be changed forever. Call an Uber and get over it. Millennials are not buying cars.

Until they can afford it.

The picture looks different in 2015. A J.D. Power study that tracks buyer behavior reported last month in WardsAuto: “As Gen Y consumers enter new life stages, earn higher incomes and grow their families, their ability and desire to acquire new vehicles is increasing." (Fortune Magazine) They are looking for cars--and looking for cars that represent who they are. Features such as being eco-friendly, socially responsible, and ready for the off-roading weekend are all stated as important.

It is not a different marketing approach than before, just different content. People drive cars because people like them drive those cars.

Show them what they are looking for.

The Myth of Love--Georgia Satellites

The myth that millennials are not purchasing cars is gone. We need to stop putting all of our eggs into the Boomer and Gen X basket.

Millennial car buyers are showing up at the perfect time. Boomers’ share of new auto purchases peaked in 2010 and will only go down from here, according to John Humphrey, senior vice president of automotive operations at J.D. Power. (Bloomberg) To the tune of  a 13% increase over older buyers in 2013.(Fortune)

And according to all research, Reality really does bite for Gen Xers.

This is the best time to remove the myths and start reaching out to your Millennial customers the way they want, in the format they want, with the message they want.


Good Lovin’--Grateful Dead

Millennials are lovin’ their cars. The idea that they are not interested is grossly overexaggerated. A study done by Edmonds chief economist Lacey Plache stated that this notion is not only incorrect, but that millennials love really cool cars.

“Some people have said that Millennials generally dislike cars and don’t enjoy driving, but my analysis shows that Millennials’ actually have a greater preference for luxury and sports cars than their older counterparts.”

A study that involved 3,610 Millennials between the ages of 18 and 34, and revealed that this generation may be more interested in cars than their older counterparts. For example, 70 percent of Millennials enjoyed driving versus 66 percent of Generation Xers and 58 percent of Baby Boomers.

They are ready to buy--and don’t want to settle.

Fooled Around and Fell in Love--Elvin Bishop

This group “fools around” on their smartphones for everything from initial research to final point of purchase. And it is not all research prior to walking into the dealership. Millennials continue research while they are in the dealership, talking with you, looking at vehicles.

70 percent know little about what car they are interested in before shopping. Ironically, 70 percent know exactly what they want when they walk on lot for purchase after completing research. Your opportunity to sell them is online. (http://www.automobilemag.com/features/news/1408-autotrader-survey-says-millennials-lead-the-car-buying-revolution/)

Conversely, the study also revealed that 76 percent of Millennials would give up social media for a day rather than their car, while a whopping 72 percent would give up texting for a week rather than be without their car. (http://www.dealer.com/insights/three-ways-your-dealership-can-attract-millennial-car-shoppers/)

Who do you love? George Thorogood

Not you. Unless you are giving them a hassle free, customer centric experience.

Millennials want transparency, clear and understandable marketing, and a faster experience. Get rid of the outdated and unsatisfying purchase experience.

They are turned off by the “hard sell” and desire upfront pricing with no negotiations.

  • 44% would pay for a dealer to come get their vehicle for repairs and drop off a loaner. (Deloitte’s 2014 Global Automotive Consumer Study )


Take Away:

Millennials are ready to purchase automobiles and have been doing so for quite some time. To write them off is to write off the largest portion of your customers. Boomers purchasing is declining, and many Gen Xers are not in the position. Market to your Millennial customers, meet them where they are (online) and give them the customer experience they desire.

 

 

Resources:

http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/automotive_and_assembly/ten_ways_autonomous_driving_could_redefine_the_automotive_world

http://www.edmunds.com/about/press/millennials-claim-they-are-better-car-shoppers-than-their-parents-reports-edmundscom.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-20/millennials-embrace-cars-defying-predictions-of-sales-implosion

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2015/01/20/10-new-findings-about-the-millennial-consumer/

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/09/the-cheapest-generation/309060/

http://www.automobilemag.com/features/news/1408-autotrader-survey-says-millennials-lead-the-car-buying-revolution/

http://www.dealer.com/insights/three-ways-your-dealership-can-attract-millennial-car-shoppers/

http://fortune.com/2014/08/29/millennial-car-buying/

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-10/millennials-think-they-have-it-bad-generation-x-has-it-worse

We Put the "Better" in BetterCarPeople

One of the great things about working for BetterCarPeople is the continued desire to make the surrounding community better.  Matthew Belk, CEO of BetterCarPeople, wants Monroe to be the best place to live and work, and has the desire to take care of those who may need assistance, training, a safe haven, or a meal. Turning Point is just one of the many organizations BCP partners with.

 

BetterCarPeople is excited to announce a partnership with Turning Point Shelter. Turning Point is a non-profit organization which strives to give battered and abused family members a safe place to live until they can fully support themselves on thier own or have a safe place to call home.

BetterCarPeople’s over 50 employees were recently challenged to raise money to adopt a room at Turning Point. BCP will renovate and replenish the room as each new family comes in. Many have already stepped up and committed to a monthly donation.

So far, BCP has been able to paint and renovate a room for a new family coming in. From bedding, to bathroom decor, to a comfortable area rug for the floor, we were able to create a “homey” environment for the families.

If you are interested in donating time, money, or expertise to Turning Point, go to Turning Point's website to see why this is a wonderful place to give back.

Before and During Renovations

Before and During Renovations


After the BCP treatment!

After the BCP treatment!

Enough with the Windsocks--It’s 2015.

How are you reaching your customers?

It is time to deflate.

It is time to deflate.

I am tired of people talking about how digital media is becoming a presence and that we need to incorporate it into automotive marketing. Truly--how many dealerships are NOT using some form of social media, digital advertising, or marketing to drive people online and on-lot? We are past the point of why and moving into the thick of how.

How to do it well.

How to do it right.

 

It is 2015--how are you reaching out to your customers? If you are relying on a giant, flapping windsock, you may want to rethink your dealership marketing strategy.

You know what I am talking about--the one that flaps in the wind and steals your attention from the road as you are driving down the street. That windsock has taken on a new digital life--one that is just as distracting and may not drive as many customers to your site and lot as you would think.

Here Are The Digital Equivalents of the Giant Windsock:

The Loud/Messy/Distracting Website

Have you visited your dealership page lately? Not as an administrator or an editor, but as a customer? You need to. Right now. Some may be happily surprised with the look, the information, and the sound.

Rock on to you.

Those of you who are horrified, you need to fix this now.

Clean Up your Website

According to a McKinsey Report, the average buyer visits 1.6 dealerships before purchase, which is from 10 years ago when buyers visited an average of 5.  You need to make sure that your digital presence is as impressive, informative, and engaging as your face to face presence.

  • Get rid of the multiple videos that start all at once on the site.
  • Get rid of the sound effects as you scroll over an item.
  • Get rid of the banners that continue to float all over the page--even after the customer has closed them out.

These distractions will frustrate your potential customer more than guide them to your dealership. Take a moment and do a little product research. See what others are doing. And then go back to your page, get rid of the annoying elements, clean up your page.

There is something to be said for a little white space.

Add Relevant Content

Buyers are more educated than ever before because they have all the information in the world at their fingertips.  Your digital presence needs to give them something more--something extra that lets them know you are the industry leader and the professionals in the know. Whether that be on your site, your facebook, your instagram, your twitter--whatever medium has your name attached to it--you need to add value.

You can find good content and repost it, or you can curate your own content-- or have a mix of both (which is what I suggest).

Here are some amazing sites that helped me get started with content curation and original blogs:

These sites have original, understandable, and actionable steps to help move you forward in your strides to become relevant in the digital dealership space.

Reminder of Why Digital is More Important Than You Think

  • 100 percent of smartphone owners surveyed say they used their device to perform some sort of car-shopping activity, typically for vehicle and pricing information.

  • Only 58 percent of respondents say they test-drove a vehicle before they made their most recent purchase. The majority of the decision making process is done via internet.

  • 85% of auto consumers turn to mobile for more information after seeing ads for vehicles on other media channels. 

  • 1.6 dealerships. That is how many consumers are visiting before they purchase. Will it be yours?


TakeAway:

Meet your customers where they are. The majority are online.  And most will make decisions well before they ever set foot on your dealership showroom.

The key is to keep your digital presence current, relevant to customer need, and real.

 

References:

http://www.inmobi.com/blog/2014/05/23/us-auto-shoppers-an-infographic

http://www.edmunds.com/car-news/2014-car-shopping-trends-report-offers-insights-into-consumer-behavior.html

McKinsey Innovation Report http://www.mckinsey.com/client_service/automotive_and_assembly/latest_thinking 

 

 

4 Things You Can't Miss This Week

Here are four must read articles/graphics that deal with  Automotive BDCs and lead response. Are you interested in driving more sales, increasing your customer contact, and cultivating a rockstar BDC? Then, by all means, read on.


Your Survival Depends on Following Up on Internet Leads -- Fast  Entrepreneur Magazine

Quick Skim:

Cardone hits home with the importance of responding to leads, responding fast, and responding in a personalized fashion (the tenants BCP was founded on!).  One of the more shocking facts is that 65% of companies do not have a process to nurture leads. 65%! That is a lot of business being left on the table. These top-down, common sense strategies can be implemented immediately with little training.

This mix of video and text are informative and a great reminder of how to capture the most business the right way.

Why BCP Cares:

Internet leads are our business. We realize how important they are, and how vastly they affect your bottom line. It is easy to say that leads are bad, blame a third party lead provider, or say that they don’t matter. But they do. Take time to develop a system to answer all leads quickly--regardless of the time of day.

Read Full Article


Dealers should respond to questions quickly or internet shoppers will leave Automotive News

Quick Skim:

Three dealerships weigh in on the importance of responding to customers quickly. Thier experiences, results, and the data to support their claims all support the success of their dealership.Some common threads amongst all:

1) Holding sales/internet people accountable for answering quickly and answering well.

2)Always racing to be the first to respond.

3)Making sure the response is detailed and personalized.

Again, it seems common sense trumps all fads when dealing with customer response time and customer relations.

Why BCP Cares:

We know autoresponders are a waste of time. There have been multiple studies done which state you need to turn them off. Customer who are shopping online have been conditioned to desire a fast, specific and courteous response. If you don’t give it to them, someone else will.

For more information on how to turn off your autoresponder and how to turn on customers, visit BCP Online.

Read Full Article


The Lead Response Management Study

Quick Skim:

This is an older study, circa 2010, but has amazing information concerning specific elements of leads. This researched report discusses the best day of the week to respond, the best time of day to respond and when you will most likely get a response.

This research also analyzes the speed of response and how it is directly related to conversion rates. This is more of an analytical read with some great stats--even if they are older. This is a great base to any study on response times.

Why BCP Cares:

If information is not research based, it is an opinion, not a fact. We base our technologies, our advancements, and our company on data, not conjecture. That is why we can say with confidence that we will improve your lead response quality, time, and conversion rate.

To request more information on how we improve your business and your life, visit BCP Online  and register for a free demo.

Read Full Article


Internet Lead Response, Inspect what you Expect  DrivingSales.com

Quick Skim:

Ron Henson, of DrivingSales, studied various dealerships, their response rates, and quality of response, and amount of personalization. His findings were grim, but hopeful. You cannot fix something if you do not know it’s broke. I personally liked his attention to grammatical errors and content. Each response represents the dealership--whether in a positive or negative way.

If dealerships take the time to analyze their responses, they will see a great opportunity for training and improvement.

Why BCP Cares:

Researched articles are always interesting to me, but when industry experts share tales from the front line, I am definitely listening and learning. This raw assessment not only shows where there needs to be adjustments, but also gives ideas for growth and development.

Read Full Article


Are Your Competitors Beating You Out of the Gate? The Average B2B Lead Response Time Capterra.com

Quick Skim:

I’m not going to lie--I read through the article quickly because my focus was on the graphics--this graphic, specifically:

Why BCP Cares:

Only 34.51% of all web leads are contacted within an hour. You are now an expert on lead response times after reading the previous articles, and you know that if a lead is not answered within 20 minutes by a live person, the lead is essentially gone. The majority of web leads are sitting in cyberspace (or in your CRM) and are not being responded to. I don’t know about you, but this is a great time to reevaluate your process and start optimizing the leads that are coming in!

Read Full Article

Insight
We can no longer talk about how the internet/mobile/social media will change the way we sell cars--it already has. Have you adjusted to meet your customers where they are?

Contact BetterCarPeople if you are interested in stepping up your game.