7 BDC Elements For A Healthy Dealership

February 12, 2015

7 BDC Elements For A Healthy Dealership

7 BDC Elements For A Heart Healthy Dealership

Several years ago, when there was a decision made to create a BDC (or Call Center), my GM took me in a room and said “make me a call center”. We started out with legal pads, pens, and highlighters, and learned as we went along. Today, there are proven methods used to set up and maintain a highly efficient BDC that will create more showroom traffic than you ever imagined.

Over the years, I have seen many a dealership struggle to get the entire team to realize and respect the role and value of a BDC. From being the first impression in most cases that a prospective customer has of the store, to selling the value of doing business with you, establishing rapport, getting the customer through your door, to a smooth t.o. to Sales for a great experience, the BDC accomplishes many tasks.

The most important task of the BDC is to “sell appointments, not cars”.  Additionally, many dealerships have the BDC follow up on unsold showroom traffic to thank customers for their visit(s), dig for details, and do their best to turn them into be-backs who eventually purchase from you. The BDC can also ensure high CSI scores for both Sales and Service with their follow up.

The sales department is often considered the lifeblood of the dealership, the service department is the considered the backbone, and the BDC, without question, is the heart of the dealership.  

Just like the heart supplies blood to every limb of your body, a great BDC pumps business into every department of the dealership. As a healthy heart requires you to adopt healthy habits, so does your BDC, to function properly.  Here are 7 elements of a heart healthy BDC.

  1. Get the right leader for your BDC. Hire (or promote from within) a dedicated, detail
    oriented, dependable BDM with great leadership qualities and a desire to take the BDC and “hit it out of the park” in every respect. Your BDM should be passionate about the BDC, be excited about each and every appointment that shows, and each and every stat that climbs as the skills of the BDC team are refined and polished. A BDM leads by example, and, if you want your team to be energetic, excited, motivated, and at the same time competitive and proud, your BDM must be all of these.
  2. Training. Get the right training for your BDM, keep it fresh and new. Coach your BDM as to how to train the staff and make sure that all training is ongoing.
  3. Outline performance expectations in the department, from outbound call count, to script usage, to policies, etc. and accept nothing less.
  4. Call Review. Daily individual call review – this is essential, and done by very few
    It is not merely the usage of scripts that you are reviewing, but the delivery – which has a bigger impact on getting the customers through the door. Do a LOT of role playing with your team, mystery calls, at the very least weekly team meeting/training.
  5. Keep it in the BDC. BDRs address everything directly with the BDM.  This will ensure that the BDM knows everything that transpires between the BDRs and the customers, and whether anything may need to be escalated to other managers or discussed with other staff members outside of the BDC. You cannot fix something if you do not know that it is broken.  There should be a strict chain of command, from the BDRs to the BDM to the Sales Managers (or better yet the GM who then delegates to his managers) to the dealer. There is no reason for a BDR to be discussing customers or leads with the sales staff, and they should not be in the BDC.
  6. Accountability. Establish a system for the BDRs to record the daily appointments they set and track the results. The BDM’s main responsibility is the training and coaching of his/her team on a daily basis. If the BDRs are not held accountable, the BDM will take several days to verify numbers for month end reporting of bonuses earned, versus having the BDRs recording them daily, turning them in, and the BDM taking a day or two (or less) to verify the validity of all data received from the BDRs. There is no quicker way to bury your BDM in paperwork chasing old business rather than leading the team to create new business!
  7. Feedback!   Turn up the praise, motivation, inspiration of your team! Create excitement!  Keep it fun! Let your team know how important each and every one of them is and how great they’re doing! Praise in public, critique in private.  Do not establish a “do as I say, it’s the only way” philosophy with your team. One of your BDRs may have a suggestion for tweaking a phone script, email template, or other idea. Try it! I like to say that the only thing for sure in a BDC is that nothing is for sure. You try an idea, if it doesn’t work, try something else until you find what works for you. The sum number of heads on your BDC team is much better than one!

Establishing and maintaining success in your BDC requires structure, dedication, and detailed reporting.  A great BDC is a constant work in progress, and, once you’ve structured your BDC with training, processes, call guides, email templates, call protocols, it is essential that you have a dedicated BDM (Business Development Manager) to follow through and keep the structure. With the organization of a new BDC, or revamping and training an existing BDC, I have seen show rates increase by double digits as quickly as a week or less.