Over two-thirds of customers say a business’s customer representatives are key to a great experience. Given that your business development center is the communications center of your entire dealership, the BDC reps you choose can make or break appointments and customer relationships before they even get started. 

But how do you pick the winning candidates from the stack of resumes? What are the personal qualifications, experiences, and intangibles a new BDC rep needs to excel?

We’ve put together a list to help your hiring team find the right people for the job. Some of these elements can be developed or trained, and others cannot. But because you’ll know exactly what personalities and skill sets to prioritize, your hiring processes will be more efficient and productive. 


Expert Phone Ninjas coach Amy Hayes puts it best: “Anyone can learn the secrets of selling—but you can’t teach someone to have a personality.” 

Your customers will mirror the energy your BDC rep brings to the call, so the people you hire need to project an inviting and engaging experience by being:

  • Warm and likable.
  • Empathetic and a careful listener
  • A real “people person”.
  • An enthusiastic presenter.

Rarely will you find someone who is amazing in all these ways, but if they’ve got some degree of each of these four checkboxes, your coaching partner will have plenty to work with. 


The University of Southern California notes that up to 70% of all employees exhibit poor listening skills and habits that result in misunderstandings, errors, and missed opportunities. This is one problem your BDC team—and your dealership—simply can’t afford. Every BDC rep needs to have excellent listening skills, as these are key to qualifying customers and nurturing them toward setting appointments. 

This is even more true in an age where sales scripts are becoming the norm. Active listening will help your team know when to pause or elaborate on the script to address customer concerns instead of pivoting at awkward moments or missing opportunities. 

Your agents also need to listen to what customers are telling them as well as what they aren’t saying. Things like intent, tone of voice, confidence, and more all shape an effective approach to fulfilling customer needs. 


This is more than just having a decent vocabulary. Every successful BDC rep must have the ability to make meaningful connections with customers through nothing but their verbal communication.  

When interviewing candidates, listen carefully to how they respond to you. Great communicators will:

  • Speak clearly and concisely.
  • Be accurate in their facts.
  • Display an understanding of appropriate word choice and tone.
  • Restate what you have asked to confirm they understand you (up to 40-60% of message content can be lost between speaker and listener).
  • Ask open-ended questions to avoid conversation-killing “yes-no” answers.
  • Use regionally-accepted professional modes of speech.

People with these aptitudes and skills are going to be a lot more effective when delivering customer service as they’ll be able to quickly identify needs and deliver helpful responses. 


The last thing any customer needs to hear is a BDC rep caught off guard by a question and fumbling for an answer. 

This doesn’t mean your team has to know everything that might be asked. Rather, they need to be able to process information quickly and come up with an answer that keeps the conversation moving—even if the response is a polite delaying tactic to give them time to find the answer.


This is a biggie. Instead of inventing an answer to move the conversation along, your team members need to have the courage (and the freedom) to say, “I don’t know—but let me find out for you.” 

Honest customer service reps will bring a number of benefits to your dealership:

  • Build trust.
  • Foster brand loyalty.
  • Increase repeat business.
  • Raise profits. 
  • Prevent customers from being surprised during their appointments, leading to more productive sessions.

More than half of all customers say honesty is critical to earning their business. By hiring candidates with integrity, your customers will learn to trust your dealership.


Your BDC department is making and taking hundreds of calls a day, especially during peak hours/seasons. A BDC rep who knows how to manage their time effectively will get to all their tasks on a given day. 

They will also have a superior ability to pivot between tasks, which they certainly need to do in this fast-paced environment.


This one is very difficult to train, but customers can absolutely tell when a BDC rep is enthusiastic about your products and services. After all, they will mirror the energy your employees bring to their phone calls. 

There are other advantages as well. These candidates will be more likely to learn about your product line on their own time, which will result in product knowledge and use scenarios you won’t find in the technical manuals. Product information will be remembered more consistently, and these types of BDC reps may have personal experience with your products.


Even perfect candidates will require the right support and training to be successful. Sales scripts are incredibly valuable, but they aren’t shortcuts to success; every team member needs a mentor or coach who can help them grow and develop in natural, effective ways.

Phone Ninjas is the training partner that can make that happen. Our active coaching program is designed to work with each BDC rep individually on your scripts and style so they can deliver your company’s customer service and brand message in a relaxed, natural manner that customers will embrace. 

Our training program is helping some of the nation’s top dealerships stay ahead of the competition by doubling and tripling appointment set rates from 20% to nearly 70%—and we’d love to show you what we can do for your business. Contact us today for a free demo and two free mystery shops.

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