Help with direction

Carl W.

I was very recently put in charge of the BDC with a Sales Manager keeping an eye on it above me. I have been part of this BDC for about 6 months prior to this with previous BDC experience from multiple other dealerships. To say this BDC is a bit unorthodox or unorganized is being generous.  Going over the numbers for the department from last month we took a total of 1505 leads. 864 of those were either Inbound vehicles that had no hard ETA or wholesale/as is units. We had 5 reps with a6th coming on half way through the month. The current pay plan is Hourly+Shown+Sold. The sold is pushed extremely hard and reps are typically judged harder on sold than apps set/shown. In my opinion to hard as a BDC should be selling the appointment and not as much the vehicle unless I am mistaken. We are a high volume dealership and they are wanting me to change up the process to more of a turn and burn method with 3 days of follow up and then send to manager for final contact attempt. Mostly looking for advice on getting started as the BDC is mostly viewed as wasted money by most of the management. Hoping to build value and show them otherwise. What specifically would be the best metrics to track per rep? Do I track normally even though over 50% of our leads came in on vehicles not here yet? How do I convince management that paying on shown apps should vs. sold units is the smarter way to operate? Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I feel like I am trying to turn a department around on my own and would love to see it succeed.

Derrick Woolfson

@Carl, I feel your pain. I do. I was in your shoes in that role not too long ago. The whole "send the lead after three days" to the sales manager does not work for several reasons. The whole reason dealerships have BDC's is due to the sales managers and sales consultants not following up for the most part. Not to mention, it caused for a lot of arguing and disenfranchisement in the BDC. Where you would have customers calling back in 4-5 days later to set an appointment, and the BDC did not get credit because the "sales manager did it." The best way to track your results for the BDC is total appointments set vs. show - the BDC is not responsible for selling the vehicle. They cannot control what the sales consultant does – and while there are "arguments" about "fake" appointments, and/or "the customer should not have come in" is not the way to approach appointment quality. The quality is directly interlinked into what you said regarding "vehicles not here yet or as is vehicles." One thing you could do is try and switch the customer to another vehicle, and discuss adding "coming soon" to the VDP's. But to your point, the main goal is to get the customer into the dealership. As for the pay plan (they vary greatly amongst dealerships), but a solid pay plan for BDC is a good hourly rate, pay per appointment shown, and include a tiered bonus for volume of shown appointments, to then pay a volume bonus on sold vehicles. So let's say their work leads to 20 vehicles being sold, you could give them a bonus of $250+ on top of their commission. Lastly, the other thing to consider is lead source, and lead quality. If the quality of leads is poor, and they still have a 45% set rate, with a 65% show rate, their total "shown" appointments is not that many, which means their monthly income isn't that great...and if that is how you get paid, then wouldn't you work the plan regardless of the outcome? The better you pay your BDC Agents should affect the quality of appointments set! Hope this helps, I'd also be happy to jump on a call with you or share some of the different plans, and pay plans I have used in the past! 

Carl W.

@Derrick, I appreciate the advice. Just hoping to turn around the whole idea that the department is a "waste of money". The two times I have spoken to management about changing the pay structure it is immediately shot down with a response of "We only give half a deal to the salesman and the rest of that deal is what pays the BDC Salary." All that does is create extreme hostility between the BDC and the Sales team. Most of the BDC ends up struggling to get a sales person to work their appointment as they are told "its not worth it for just a half deal". It's very frustrating to say the least.

Stan Sher

Reality is that BDC has 10% control of a car being sold. 10% being the initial communication and what was relayed to the customer. They have better control of customers showing up. The BDC department is an expense, an advertising expense. The BDC of today is the Billboard of yesterday. 

The problem is management having false expectation of that department. The BDC has always been the department to get blamed for everything even though it is the most vital department. Proper BDC training and expertise is needed to be brought in so that everyone is on the same page. It will ultimately come down to the GM and owner with how they feel.

Paying sales people half commission is bad for culture. Fair pay plans need to be created for both departments. It sounds to me like the setup needs to be changed and management needs to be educated on how this can work successfully.

Keep in mind that outsourcing this department can cut down costs drastically for the store but not all solutions are great, very few are incredible. 

My suggestion is that you get with all management and create a game plan. This site has a lot of great ideas. 

Morgan Hardy

My last BDC was viewed the same by some management and a lot of salespeople. Our pay plan was hourly+shown+sold as well. However, once explained they understood the importance of the show rate rather than sold for us. Once they're in, it's out of our control, we did our job. Set appointments were not really taken into consideration due to people possibly manipulating the numbers. 

Morgan Hardy

@derrick- I also agree with the quality of the lead being considered 

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