What Does BDC Stand For – And How Can it Help You?

A BDC is a business development center, an auto dealership department devoted solely to making outbound calls and taking inbound ones. Chances are you’ve heard the term mentioned, even if you haven’t yet instituted one of your own.

While at first glance, you may question the wisdom of setting up a team just for phone calls — isn’t this the social media era, after all? — you’ll soon see the reason why so many dealerships have chosen the BDC model.

Whether you opt to create a BDC in-house or work with a virtual center on a contract basis, the advantages can range from more free time for salespeople to better appointment and sale rates and beyond. The old-fashioned phone has some life left in it, at least in the auto space.

BDC: What it is and why your dealership needs one

The automotive BDC is a place where all your dealership’s phone needs combine.

When you have dedicated BDC staff, either in-house or virtually, there’s a better chance that your potential customers will reach a real person on their first attempt to call. These representatives also have free time to reach out to more prospects, and the well-honed phone skills to make a good impression.

Top-performing BDCs can drive an 80% inbound appointment set rate, with a close rate of 50%. These centers aren’t one-trick ponies, either, delivering results on both inbound and outbound calls. Here’s what that looks like:


BDC representatives take inbound calls from curious shoppers, ideally confirming appointments with these interested callers. You can choose which departments go through the BDC instead of their own personnel. For example, it’s up to you whether to train BDC reps on fixed ops products or to keep that with the service department. Inbound calls can come from:

  • Interested shoppers who prefer the phone to online browsing.
  • Previous buyers interested in making another purchase.
  • Callers looking for something other than to buy a car (such as parts or service).


While knowledgeable BDC representatives are experts at turning inbound calls into appointments, they also make outbound calls to a long list of potential prospects. This division of labor allows salespeople to focus on closing deals on the sales floor while the reps reliably feed them new leads. Call recipients might include:

  • Replies to curious shoppers who have filled out an information form on the website.
  • Outreach to previous buyers or service customers about their interest in a new purchase.
  • Sales calls based on referrals from current customers.

You can get this level of performance from either an in-house or virtual BDC. In either case, to deliver good set rates and show rates, the reps should be knowledgeable, well-coached and working from consistent, high-quality scripts.

For an in-house BDC, you’ll have to connect your team with a good coaching program. For a virtual BDC, it’s important to link up with an industry-leading provider.

Coaching for an in-house BDC

Why work with Phone Ninjas to coach your BDC personnel? In short, it’s because this coaching is very different from one-time training. Team members start out learning from video lessons, then comes the heart of the program: Reviews of real customer calls based on phone scripts.

Representatives being coached by Phone Ninjas work from a library of well-tailored phone scripts to give customers a consistent experience. Coaches base their reviews and comments on the audio of real calls made using these scripts, giving each BDC rep a template for success.

The BDC manager monitors the progress of each BDC representative over time, in a number of areas. These leaders use the rich data to enforce accountability and motivate staff to greatness.

Virtual BDC services

Rather than coaching an in-house team of BDC representatives, Phone Ninjas can take charge of your inbound and outbound calling entirely, serving as a virtual BDC. This is a way to simplify the whole process of phone management, paying a simple and economical rate to have our experienced reps handle:

  • Inbound sales calls, service calls, warm transfers and operator functions
  • Outbound follow-up, sales lead generation and service generation calls

The level of service you require from the virtual BDC will determine what you receive — each deployment is tailored to a specific dealership. For example, if you want to fully commit to the third-party model, you can opt for a virtual operator.

The virtual operator, which we consider the “director of first impressions,” serves as a live voice for your customers. Rather than reaching an automated menu, they hear from a real person who will greet them, schedule appointments and transfer them to the department they’re seeking.

The overall virtual BDC experience is designed to create a smooth, high-quality process for your dealership, staffed by people who understand customer service and have advanced phone skills. These experts are there to deliver set rates and show rates that will help your salespeople thrive. All this excellence comes without any of the complexities of staffing a new in-house department.

Contact us for a demo, a free phone analysis or even a free mystery shop to learn about coaching your in-house BDC to greatness or adding a virtual BDC to your offerings.