Many dealerships have started using a Business Development Center or BDC to bring in new business and to increase the effectiveness of the appointments that their sales agents have. If you have never used a BDC before, you may not see why it is important or if you have worked with an ineffective one, it might be frustrating to think about dealing with that. Luckily there are some things you can do with training to make your BDC a profit center for your dealership.
What is An Automotive BDC?
Your BDC is the center of all of your phone business operations. Your agents who work in the BDC have two primary responsibilities. They are responsible for making outbound phone calls to bring in new opportunities. They also manage the inbound calls from these opportunities to set appointments for the sales agents that work the front of the store. Because these sales agents specialize in phone conversations, they are better equipped to deal with the challenges that come up on phone calls, and you can always be sure that there is someone to take the phone calls that come in. Specialized customer service that starts from the first call is important for setting your opportunities up to eventually become a sale.
How to Set Up Your BDC
Because the agents who work in the BDC are in charge of setting appointments and finding opportunities, rather than selling cars, you want to focus on hiring different people than you would for car sales. Car sales agents are great at what they do, but that doesn’t always translate well to the BDC. You want to focus on finding people who are skilled communicators on the phone and who specialize in setting appointments. You should also make sure that the compensation is properly set to incentivize your BDC employees. This will need to be different from the compensation you use for your sales agents because the outcomes are different. The focus is on setting appointments and creating successful early touches, so the metrics for your BDC agents need to match this.
How to Train Your Agents
Once you have the BDC agents hired and you are ready to start running, you need to make sure that your agents have been empowered to be successful in the work that you are giving them. Over 60% of service advisors fail to ask the customer for an appointment, so phone training via active coaching is crucial. If your agents haven’t been properly trained, your BDC could actually end up costing you more than it brings in. The point of a BDC is to develop your business even further and to bring in more business than your current lead generation methods. In order to do this, the first thing you should do is make sure that you focus on standardizing your procedures and training each BDC agent in these procedures in an ongoing manner. Phone Ninjas specializes in certifying and coaching phone agents to set more appointments and to be more effective when interacting with prospects to get them to actually show up to the appointments. This ongoing training is invaluable for seeing success grow with your dealership.
Following Up on Training
Once you have finished the initial certification and your BDC agents are starting to successfully bring in new leads, you need to make sure you follow up on the training that you have been providing to make sure it is effective. Your BDC agents should be regularly evaluated against the key metrics that you set, both in terms of the quality of their phone conversations and the success they have in setting appointments. One of the best ways to follow up on the training that you have provided them with is to give them the resources they need to properly apply this training. Tools like phone scripts are useful for keeping BDC agents on track and making sure they aren’t missing the important steps that make their appointment setting more effective. Not only should you be looking at how many appointments they are setting, but you also need to see what percentage of those appointments actually show up. Regular evaluations give you an opportunity to provide feedback and catch problems early on.
In order to make sure that your BDC is a profit center, it is important to make sure that your BDC is properly set up and that you have provided the agents with the proper training. These first touches are crucial to setting expectations and bringing in leads that you would otherwise miss.
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As the Vice President of Phone Ninjas, Chris delivers leadership, coaching, and mentorship to 55 team members providing software sales and phone skills coaching. He fosters powerful partnerships and collaborations with leaders across various business sectors, establishing expectations, communicating vision, and escalating performance to maximize productivity and effectiveness.