BDCs are not a new concept, but they are a hot topic of discussion again. Automotive shopping patterns-- including increased use of mobile and internet devices for purchases, and the Google "micro moments" of shopping and researching-- have all increased the amount of internet leads that come into our dealerships. 81% of shoppers are getting on their phones to research before they ever step foot into a dealership. 71% of shoppers are online while they are at your dealership making sure they are getting the best deal. All of this activity is generating a huge increase in leads, and how you handle them will make or break your BDC profitability.(think google)
This information has driven many large autmotive manufacturers to encourage the use of a sales BDC or a BDC-style culture in their dealerships. Let’s face it--the sales guys are focused on the customer in front of them. Leads that come in may be put to the side if there are customers on the lot.
A Kayak study stated that if you do not respond to a customer within 5 minutes, the likelihood of a sale diminishes by 10%. (Kayak) How many sales are lost becuase there was no one to answer the lead?
Service BDCs are just as important. Sales may sell the first car, but Service will sell the 2nd, 3rd, and so on. That's why it is key to have a service BDC in place to set the service appointment for the customer, answer any questions, and set the expectations of the dealership.
Knowing all of this is one thing. Implementing it is another.
Here are 4 tried and proven ways to make sure that your BDC fails miserably, and then ways to avoid the pitfalls.
Hire anyone to fill the position.
Stuart-the guy who can’t sell a car and likes to play on his computer all day--make him the manager of your BDC. That will get him off the lot-- and he knows about computers, right?
The majority of sales are coming through your BDC. And the BDC is the first point of contact for customers when they call in or search online.
Your BDC manager must be able to not only communicate with customers, but also communicate with the staff. He/She needs to be able to evaluate data, create goals, motivate the staff, and get stuff done.
Don’t hire Stuart.
Build the plane as you fly it.
A BDC is not something you can figure out as you go along. You need to know your goals, expectations, a plan of action for the BDC staff--basically, you need to know where you want to end up before you begin.
Know your goals and expectations before making one call or answering one email. You can’t finish a journey if you don’t know where you want to go. Make sure your metrics are specific a measurable, and make sure that everyone working in the BDC knows, understands, and works towards them.
Training is not required.
The only thing a strong BDC needs is incentive to call, phones, and computers, right? Just get them on the phone dialing, and something good is bound to happen.
Training expectations and outcomes are critical--as well as training techniques and methods on speaking to customers.
One of the most tried and true approaches to a BDC is having an effective script. (I know it sounds Old School, but these are proven effective methods.) A script prepares your BDC and increase the comfort level on the phone, all while giving a unified message to the customer. You need to train your staff on the scripts, have them practice conversations, and then train again when needed. Practice does make perfect.
There are many other areas to train concerning a BDC as well: phone skills, how to send an effective, personal email, CRM training and tracking--and the list goes on.
People will not meet your expectations if you do not make them overtly known. If you train and educate well, your staff will know what is expected of them and strive to get there.
Change the pay plan frequently to keep staff on their toes.
A BDC payplan is one of the trickiest to navigate. Do you pay on calls? Appointments set? Appointments kept? And what about bonuses?There are many factors to take into consideration--including sharing deals with the floor and who receives credit. However you set up your schedule, keep it consistent.
There are many resources for developing a payplan (such as this one), but once you choose, stay with it for a while. If you change it up constantly, you will only confuse the BDC and make it impossible for them to reach their goals.
BDCs are not going anywhere. They may evolve, but they are a necessity for answering increased leads, driving customers on-lot, and customer relations. If you are starting a BDC in the near future, make sure to avoid these mistakes and plan for success.
How have you been successful with your BDCs?
If you would like more information on how to create the most effective BDC, or for technology that can help do that, CLICK HERE.