And Three Smart Ways to Fix It.
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.
(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.
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.
- 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:
- Setting Up Pay Plans
- Job Descriptions for a BDC (an oldie, but goodie)
- Great Source for Discussion and Relevant Information