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v8 engine

Profitable automotive business development centers are fine tuned in eight key elements, or cylinders. Cylinders in the sense that each element works in tandem with the other seven. Without this calibration any BDC will underperform or fail.

Success lies in your ability to hit on all eight cylinders.

Like a V8 engine, there are many moving parts to a fully blended call center, or BDC. Use the eight cylinders to guide you to a fine tuned and profitable business development center.

Customer Experience. The development of a unique and compelling value proposition is critical to BDC success. Since customers actually visit very few dealerships, they are obviously making decisions based on their online experience and interaction over the phone, in live chat and through email.

Customers primarily choose which dealership they visit based on price, quality of interaction and reputation.

However, most customers will give you an opportunity to make a sale if you do just two things;

Be transparent in your pricing. It may surprise you that most customers are agreeable to an appointment when they know your pricing tools are the same ones they use. This is not a gross killer. BDC grosses are at or above showroom average.

Make buying the car quick and easy. Customers don’t want to be in your store for hours and hours. As a matter of fact, the longer a customer sits in your showroom the less they like you.

The more prepared you are for a BDC appointment the higher the close rates will be. An accelerated process will make your customers want to do business with you and then Yelp about it!

Structure, is about your people. Their roles, compensation plans and performance standards; all of which are designed to deliver the customer experience with excellence.

Staffing is your biggest BDC expense and you have to get it right. If you’re just starting a BDC, build it in phases. Start with phone and Internet, then add outbound processes and finally service. You don’t have to go in that order necessarily, many BDC’s started out with service; just don’t try to do it all at once.

Culture may seem intangible or hard to define, but simply put, it’s more the way you do things than what you do. Culture isn’t really created. Culture is what creates you. It defines your sincerity in delivering an excellent customer experience. With great enthusiasm and skill, culture separates the average from the truly great dealerships.

Going through the motions without enthusiasm, passion and expertise just doesn’t facilitate the best results.

Process is the execution of your customer experience. A BDC is a chasm of processes but seven distinctive processes drive revenue, loyalty, CSI and a healthy ROI for your BDC.

  1. Showroom
  2. Sold Follow Up
  3. Internet
  4. Phone
  5. Database Marketing
  6. Prospecting
  7. Service

Overarching processes include CRM integration, data collection and the appointment process.

Marketing with a BDC in place should drive customers to your website or websites. A well configured website with a compelling value proposition is the pathway to the showroom.

Most dealerships get plenty of traffic to their website. Branding your value proposition and the right conversion tools give your BDC the high quality leads they need for great close rates and a low cost per sale.

Without this strategy, all your BDC reps have to leverage is price. If it’s only about price, the cheapest dealer is going to win.

Technology makes your BDC more effective and efficient. The most important technology is the CRM. Calibrating your CRM for the correct task creation and accurate reporting is essential to a BDC’s efficiency.

Technology also drives website conversion. Live chat, interactive credit application tools, credit estimators, payment calculators and trade-in value tools boost conversion and add to the quality of the leads the BDC is managing.

Metrics are the key to performance standards for employees and vendors, or lead providers. Maybe the simplest and most important metric is the BDC’s conversion of leads to showroom visitors. The benchmark should be around 25% as long as you have a healthy lead mix with at least half of your leads coming from your website or VIN specific leads from inventory listing sites.

Training is a big challenge but certainly as important as all the other cylinders. You must train to retain your reps and realize continuous improvement. Your showroom and service personnel need training as much as your BDC reps.

At AllCall, we train daily for ten minutes on a specific tactic or process and then monitor that focus point all day. This way, training is constant and improvement comes daily.

So you see, a highly effective and profitable BDC can be tuned for high performance. Just like an engine, a BDC needs to fire on all eight cylinders to run like the well oiled machine you need to see great results.