How to Nourish a BDC Manager: BDC Gardening 101
The Business Development Center (BDC) provides nourishment for the entire dealership, much like homegrown vegetables nourish a family. Just as it is important to have a green-thumbed gardener tending to your crops, it is imperative to have a great BDC Manager (BDM) to watch over your BDC team.
“A Great BDC Manager Doesn’t Grow Themselves!”
You may have a BDC Manager currently in place, and are looking to train either an Assistant or another manager. Maybe there isn’t one in place for whatever reason, and the task at hand is to get a great BDC Manager hired. Whatever the reason, you have to have a process through which you can develop, or grow, a BDC Representative (BDR) into a BDC Manager. You cannot put a BDR into a manager role and expect that individual to immediately and capably lead a BDC team to strong growth and high yield of appointments set, shows, and ultimately continue to increase the amount of showroom traffic. You must start small with your candidate, “plant the seed” as it were, and nurture that individual from BDR, into the role of a mature BDC Manager. Here are the steps for the strong, healthy growth of a BDC Manager:
Choose a candidate that is one of your most accomplished BDRs, your top producer, whose skills are polished, and the person is consistently achieving and surpassing all individual goals, as well as helping the other team members in any way possible to achieve and surpass heightened team goals. A well respected co-worker, upbeat personality, competitive spirit, and shows pride in a job well done. This person clearly understands and agrees on the role of the BDC in the dealership. A good multi-tasker, this person is trainable, has great organizational and time management skills, and is very creative and consistently offers fresh, innovative feedback with regard to BDC practices and processes.
Introduce the BDR into the management role slowly, starting out as an Assistant BDC Manager (Assistant BDM), but test the waters first – do it without the “title.”
Here is a process to follow:
- Ask the Assistant BDM to begin with a few administrative duties, i.e. daily recaps, reporting, etc., with guidance, making sure that the current BDR duties are not being neglected or affecting daily individual productivity.
- If staff changes during this time, the Assistant BDM should be shown how to train new BDRs. Just as call review should be taught, training of the new staff member(s) should start with the Assistant BDM watching another trainer, and, gradually taking on more responsibility with ongoing observation, support and guidance.
- The Assistant BDM should slowly be given portions of the agenda to execute in BDC team meetings, gradually increasing until they can conduct an entire meeting.
- Ease the Assistant BDM into other duties. They should be shown how to do call reviews, initially alongside a trainer (an experienced BDM), ultimately, reviewing the calls directly with the BDRs … Conduct both individual BDR reviews and team reviews of performance. You should encourage the team to recognize the Assistant BDM in the new role with some authority, and to extend to same degree of respect and teamwork as previously given to the BDM.
- Slowly give the person CRM permissions to help with some of the lead management analysis. Provide instruction as to what to measure and how to measure it.
- Give the Assistant BDM hours opposite the person who is currently overseeing the department (whether it is a current BDM or General Manager). Extend some authority to the person to help manage the team during that time. See how it affects the person. When working in that capacity, is the respect, the motivation, the spirit of team play still intact? Or, has the “power” gotten the better of the person? This is a great indicator of how that individual will perform as a manager. If there are any red flags, go back to the drawing board. You want a leader, not a “boss” for a BDC. If not, you are ready to make the Assistant BDM role and title effective. You may have to pull out a few weeds along the way, whether it is your candidate, or other BDRs that may not be compliant when it comes to the direction that you want your BDC to take for growth.
- Increase the training of the BDM responsibilities to your Assistant BDM. If you determine that this person will not be working leads as a BDM, gradually lessen the number of leads that are given so that there is more time to attend to the growing list of new responsibilities assigned.
- Step back again and reassess. How is the team reacting to the changes? How is the Assistant BDM handling the new responsibilities? Again, there will be a bit of “weeding” to do, things will come up, and they will need to be addressed as they do to ensure continued team growth.
- Finally, having shown the Assistant BDM how to complete the required reporting, let them prepare the month end reports. They should be shown how to assess the team and individual performance, and how to present both praise and critiques for the month.
Now you are ready to promote your Assistant to BDC Manager! Ongoing coaching of your new manager will provide the nourishment to ensure optimal performance by the team. At first, you will have daily meetings that will ultimately taper off, likely to weekly.
You have now successfully cultivated a great BDC Manager! Now you can turn over the gardening to your new manager, and reap what you have sown! Wishing you a healthy harvest!