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A BDC Manager's Tips for Generating More Sales & Service Opportunities

d5a746ecd4afdfc2ae556e0c362184d3.jpg?t=1Inventory, price and location aren’t your only deal winners. When it comes to differentiating your dealership in sales or service, don’t discount the power of communication done right. Just look at Ryan Mays’ team.

As the BDC  manager for Cadillac of Mahwah, Buick GMC of Mahwah and Hawthorne Chevrolet, Ryan has a lot of opportunities to test (and fine-tune) his digital communications strategy. We asked what’s been working for his team—responsible for 38-40% of their dealerships’ overall business—and he shared three steps that could be helpful across the industry.

Update Your Communication Technologies & Processes

Just as car shoppers jumped on the email train years ago, many are now looking for even more instantaneous online connections. After all, mobile technology has shifted our expectations of being able to get in touch with anyone, anywhere.

“This way of thinking has permeated all generations. People want information yesterday,” notes Ryan. “Email is the new snail mail, and smartphones are the new laptops.” And phone calls? They’re important, but some shoppers  will put that off until the very last moment.

So what does Ryan do? On top of the other contact options, he uses chat and tracked mobile text. And due to how his team uses these newer communications, 10-15% of BDC business can be directly attributed to them.

Use That Tech to Help Shoppers in the Moment

Ryan’s team uses those real-time, text-based communications to influence shoppers’ decisions at key moments that often wouldn’t be possible any other way. Here are a few examples:

  • Turning showrooming into a positive thing - Study after study shows that car shoppers are already doing this on dealer lots via their smartphones. Well, Ryan’s team used that behavior to their advantage. A shopper texted back and forth with them about a car while on a competitor’s lot and finally said, “I’ll be there in 20 minutes.” Talk about bridging a gap.
  • Wowing service customers into greater loyalty - In Google’s “The Road to Winning Drivers: What Drivers Want in Automotive Aftermarket Service,” 73% of drivers say they’d return to a service center they visited for preventative maintenance for future larger repairs...but only 1 in 3 are committed. One tip Google gives is to make drivers’ lives easier, which Ryan is all for.
  • “If your prescription is ready, they text. If your hotel room is ready, they text. If your car is ready, why can’t you get a text about it? It’s all about convenience,” he says. The service advisors he works with now love the ease of notifying customers this way and it adds to their overall experience. (It’s also an easy way to let a customer know when extra work is needed.)
  • Being there to help when others aren’t - Quite a few shoppers go online to research their vehicle purchase after normal business hours. To Ryan, it’s an opportunity to stand out. He uses his chat/text provider’s trained answering advocates to provide always-on help for such shoppers: “I think it shows we care a little bit more, and we’ve gotten extra leads from it.”

Train Against Lead Data Obsession

Gathering lead information is an important step, but Ryan believes that providing help first is even more powerful. He calls it earning the lead—answering questions first and then asking for contact info. “I say that I’m here to help you get the answers you need. In fact, I once answered a guy’s questions for 10 minutes via chat, but it ended with a sales appointment.”

So here’s how Ryan looks at it (and trains his team):  “If you don’t get the lead details in a chat, that person could come in and you wouldn’t know it was him. But if you don’t help him, it’s almost a 100% guarantee he won’t come in the first place.”

The Best Results

Ryan’s insights show that while keeping up technology-wise with your consumers is important (especially when trying to engage them in sales conversations!), it’s not an automatic fix. The best results come from using technologies the right way—to provide convenience, attentiveness and real-deal help.

And that can really make your dealership stand out to a shopper unsure of where to go or who to trust.

Robert Karbaum
This is more of an infomercial than a blog post....
Aaron Hassen
I'm sorry you feel that way, Robert. If you look through my past posts, you can see that I am trying to be helpful. Ryan Mays is a case study in using text and chat at the BDC level. His team is responsible for 38-40% of their dealerships’ overall business and one of the most significant tools he and others use to reel in that business today is text and chat. If instead of blogs you are looking for Dataium and RL Polk type research and analysis reports, several of those can be found on our website at: http://www.autodealerchat.com/download

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