I get asked a lot what makes a successful internet department and I realize I am only being asked my opinion since there are more ways then one to do it.

I do have a preference but for those looking to set one up here are some choices you have.

The Business Development Center - (B.D.C.)

You can have different types of B.D.C.'s but because of time and space I am going to cover 2 that I have run in the past and how it works for those who might consider this method a good fit for your company.

1. Find a BDC Manager who will manage and run the BDC. The BDC is made up of usually of group of people who spend all day on the phone handing inbound sales calls and making appointments. They will also be doing the follow up for the sales staff setting those appointments and lastly, handling internet leads. While this may sound attractive they are not salespeople. They are appointment setters. Theory is they set the appointment and then once the customer is in the dealership it is the job of the staff to sell them the car. The BDC is compensated by a bonus for appointments that show and in some cases another bonus if they buy. The Manager should be handling calls as well but there main position is to monitor and maintain a high phone call count daily with a minimum expectation of appointments.

2. Find and hire a B.D.C. manager who does not supervise anyone else. While this title makes little sense internally it matters more for customers. Customers wish to speak to managers about making decisions or feel the person they are speaking to has some authority. Obviously, when it comes to talking about a price, APR, and trade in value they would rather talk to someone who can give them some guarantees or idea of what that looks like. You can have in this format 1 or 2 people doing this but this works much better if you are in a smaller store. (Less then 250 cars a month). The BDC manager does not handle internet leads and works more directly with the staff. They still set appointments working through the stores Customer Relation Management tool or CRM. They are to call and set appointments with previous walk in customers as well as internet traffic that the internet manager has not called. (My rule was any customer not called for 2 days and there ares no notes why we would not call, then the BDC manager will call that day.) Compensation is based on Appointments that show with an hourly salary. I also used this position to assist with Customer Satisfaction Index or CSI. There was a bonus involved as long as we were in Green CSI.

Which B.D.C. would work best at your store? First, the question is do you even need one, because I will follow up with what I believe we should be doing today and it means the B.D.C. could be obsolete.

 

Thanks for reading.

Robert Hildreth

https://www.linkedin.com/in/hildrethrobert

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Comment by steven chessin on September 14, 2015 at 2:33pm

Yes Robert  - Numerous types. 

Sometimes a different variation at every store ! 

Customers that are not in the here and now need bdc.

The sample you presented assumed strong lead and showroom traffic that needs a Wonder Woman with gold bracelets deflecting bullets. Most stores that I have seen need lead-generation triage first.

BDC is often pointed to that effort -- vehicle marketing, social media, customer retention,service drive, lease maturity, credit unions, Costco, relations with local businesses etc. And only bdc generally works on cold leads beyond 30 days.

This business will always have a sales management structure based upon "excellent sight hounds" not "scent-hounds". Always managed by those who know how to close deals face-to-face  not those who know how to bring-in customers in from a hundred miles away or two  months ago ready-to-buy.  --- Different types. One has no patience and the other must be all patience and nurturing customers to find the time to come here to do what they would prefer to do from home because they do not have the time to buy a car. --- Customers who want one store to calculate everything for them just so they can then have another store beat it by a dollar.

Most sales-oriented personalities do not have the patience or skills to 'just get them to come-in' -- and that is why bdc can not become obsolete  -  because these customers are seeking customer care specialists more than sales specialists.         

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