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Chris Hill

Chris Hill E-Commerce Director

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BDC or bottom line....you choose

I know the title of the blog is aggressive, let me explain. 

I'm a firm believer that BDC's are formed by the shortcomings of your management staff. It may not be your current management staff, but at some point, somewhere, your managers failed to motivate your sales people. This lack of motivation is now costing your dealership a tremendous amount of money. In essence you're paying people who aren't sales professionals $30-$50k a year to do a job that your sales people should be doing themselves. 

Ask yourself, would you rather have your sales professionals selling your customers or a younger or less experienced beginner do it for you? Note your sales people are fully capable of doing this job, we just don't require them to do so. How are sales people winning this split decision? When did it become the job of inexperienced people to sell the appointment or even the car over the phone, for sales people that are just lazy or unwilling to put the effort in? 

Some may argue the fact that their BDC people are the best or very good. All the power to those people but ask yourself this. Are your successful BDC people making what your successful sales people are making? Chances are they aren’t. The successful BDC people end up on the floor because they become professionals at selling. Not to mention, they know, clear as day, they can make more money selling cars rather than appointments. At that point you’re left with the cream of the crop on your floor and the inexperience or less proficient people running your day to day in the BDC. How does this make any sense?

I suggest you go back and look at your numbers. Once you’ve got a firm understanding, subtract what your BDC costs you in training, retention, turn over and other associated costs. Now ask yourself if that large sum of money would be better spent elsewhere rather than on inexperienced people selling appointments. The answer is simple, your sales people can do this. You can make it happen. Here’s how…

Create a hybrid internet sales team. This team will be comprised of your best digitally experienced sales people that are willing to take your internet leads from cradle to grave. Create a effective sales process that will respect the day to day duties of the sales person but also give your customers the time and dedication they deserve. Give that team ALL of the internet leads that come into the store. If your sales process is sufficient, the hybrid reps will start selling a lot of cars. Word will spread throughout the sales staff in your dealership. People are going to ask to be on the team or complain about certain sales people getting all the leads. This is called “building value” in a program. You’ve effectively turned a lazy or unwilling sales person into an employee asking to work. As the success of your program builds, so will the amount of sales people that want to be part of it.

In closing you will save a huge amount of money by eliminating your BDC and have a culture of professionalism and hard work back into your dealership. Sure there are a few more supports that have to be put into place like an internet manager that will ensure proper follow up and help with qualifying/handing out leads.

Have questions or comments? I'd be more than happy to help! You can contact me at chill@billjacobsjoliet.com or you can follow me on Twitter @ https://twitter.com/CRMSensei

LinkedIn - http://www.linkedin.com/pub/chris-hill/66/433/3ba/ 

Brian Toczko
I think this article is spot on. I have 4 BDC "managers" who I believe do nothing. They play favorites and give good leads to the same few salespeople. They are not even good at their job and use subject lines in mass Emails that say things like "you have got to read this" They do the bare minimum for the business/marketing side of the dealership. I am new to the whole industry and have been thinking of a way to become on of those hybrid salesmen. I know I can do a much better job.
Donnie Hinkle
Although I certainly respect your opinion I simply don't agree. Granted I do not own a dealership either and have to be the one to justify the cost of the existence of a BDC either. We have had the Hybrid or "Elite Sales Staff" as we called them who handled all Internet and Phone traffic, our very best sales sales people, and only allowed the rest to catch floor traffic. Is this the same format you are speaking of? This is what happened. They were of course successful, which meant they were always out front with a customer doing test drives, write-ups, trade evaluations, closing a sell and doing a vehicle deliveries. While they were busy with the customers who they got into the dealership as we knew the would, but are also eating up their day, you guessed it, all the leads they are sitting on are not being followed up properly because they just can't be in two places at the same time! Many potential customers found themselves in a bottleneck we created of slow response time and the complaints started mounting. Potential customers were lost therefore we gained no significant advantage. If you have an answer to this new dilemma created by the instant success you WILL have by creating a Hybrid Internet Sales Team, brother I’m ALL ears. I would also point out that you can get good BDC people who can handle an internet lead properly, write good emails and execute productive phone calls, follow-up timely and set appointments. I'm not saying they are easy to find but they tend to be people who have the skills but are unable or unwilling to work the hours of a car salesperson for various reasons. We just had one of our best salespeople who gave birth to a child and she requested BDC hours for obvious reasons. In closing we have tried everything in my 8 years as Internet Director and it looks like now we have decided to go back to a BDC setup. We will sell more cars. Our owner and COO are trying to justify the cost of its existence… As The World Turns.
Brian Toczko
They simply try to get leads through the door. That is how they get paid. They a lot of the time make false claims which then gets planted on the salesmen when BDC turns them over to us. I think it may just be the quality of the BDC representatives in my dealership. Where we go real wrong is advertising budget.
Wendi Venable-Nelson
Amazingly true as hard as it is to hear. Anyone in the business for any length of time knows the woes of today's sales person who complains that there is just no money anymore in selling cars.....well they are right there isn't like there used to be and there is very good reason. As you pointed out Chris, we have layered the sales process to such a degree that there just isn't enough pie to go around. When you create a department to handle all responsibilities that used to be just part of the job, the money has to come from somewhere. Typically I have found that just because there is now a BDC isnt always a sure fire way to more sales. If the machine isnt well run to begin with a BDC just ends up being a diluting factor to profit margins. If I had a dollar for every sales person who complained about "not enough money to be made here" while their BDC took calls, followed up on unsolds, as well as made the who do you know/referral calls as well as orphan owner calls, I would be writing this from the bow of a very beautiful boat with my umbrella drink. The key is back to basics- hire the right people with the right core competencies to handle all aspects of the sales responsibilities- and then effectively manage and develop them instead of creating departments to delegate the parts of the job that the most sales people these days don't like to do
Willie Cruz
All very valid points, the key here is the training, process and the people you staff. The industry has dramatically changed, with all the technology and research available it’s requiring more "customer service" and this requires the salesman to be so. With the right process and people you can have a very cost effective and successful BDC and still allows for the salesman to "make more money" by providing customers a great experience and value for their dollar! The job of a BDC is not to sell the cars over the phone, but to provide a great reason why buy from your dealership and set the appointment. Compensate your BDC staff for a sold appointment instead of a show appointment. Also allows salesman to rotate a shift in the BDC, this allows for the difficult callers or leads to be redirected to the professional, the priority of incoming calls should be to a salesman, BDC staff should be creating residual business by making outbound calls to orphans owner, unsold orphan leads, conquest manifest, data on your CRM otherwise just sitting there… My experience has been that customers are more willing to share information or reasons why they didn’t purchased with a non-sales person than with a salesman or manager. The bottom line is that with adequate training, with the right staff and written processes you can have a profitable and successful BDC.

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