“Ain’t no BDC gonna get a cut of my paycheck!” The Value of BDC in Dealerships

“Ain’t no BDC gonna get a cut of my paycheck!” Usually a comment made by a 7-10 deal per month, consistently settled into the status quo, sales rep. This blog post was inspired by a response I shared on a Facebook post asking “Who is responsible for follow-up in your dealership – the salesperson, or the BDC?” and literally because of the comment above made by another responder.

The Business Development Center (herein, BDC) is a department that came about because 95% of our salespeople (a generous number, by the way) are incredibly busy (read with dripping sarcasm) between working with customers in person, standing outside waiting for the next “up”, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, shooting the breeze, and hiding at the 7-11/gas station convenience store across the street.

Greater than 95% of buyers are online before stepping foot near a dealership. Even my 81 year old uncle has the Internet in the palm of his hand via smartphone! “Small” dealerships are averaging no fewer than 5-10 new internet requests per day, in addition to the maturity information now being sent directly to the CRMs, and the other dealership information being collected by the dealership’s computers. The average dealership with an average sales staff and no BDC is losing opportunities faster than the flowing water of a fire hydrant geyser between internet prospects, service prospects, lease/finance maturity prospects, showroom unsold and save-a-deal opportunities. BDCs serve to generate showroom traffic by converting these opportunities. Trained and well managed BDCs are unicorns that exist solely because of top-down buy-in to the installation and operation process (a minimum of 1 year to hire, train, acclimate with sales team, learning curve, filter bad seeds, hire replacements, repeat, repeat, until smoothly flowing), and they have a magical ability to change the mental state of a couch researcher prospect into a showroom visiting buyer!

This is not to take away from the abilities of the sales person to sell a car, just to make those salespeople who feel slighted by losing part of their pay to have a BDC – those salespeople making comments like the one above – understand that if they did their job, a BDC would not be needed.

There are some very strong salespeople who excel at the skills required to present and demonstrate a vehicle, and to close an in-person deal. Unfortunately, it takes a different set of skills and abilities (discipline) to sit on a telephone and dial, send text messages/e-mails/videos, consistently update notes in a CRM, and rinse and repeat until bald or rich to follow up with prospects. More unfortunately, those great salespeople do not usually have both skill sets, or the discipline to spend time unoccupied with customers sitting behind a desk for extended stretches.

Great salespeople possess this rare ability. You’ll find them with customers, delivering a car, on the telephone or answering leads while the deal is in finance, jumping back on the phone the moment the car is rolling off the driveway, usually a charging cell phone to one ear and a land-line to the other. Great salespeople are fewer than 3% in the industry — think about that for a moment — it means that if you have a sales staff of 50 (a VERY large dealership!) you only have 1-2 people who are consistently WORKING from when they arrive at work to when they leave! Most dealerships average 10-20 salespeople … do the math … 3% of 15 people is not even a guarantee of that top notch go-getter working in your store!

Good salespeople are out there. They do a good job on both sides, but they either lack the communication ability or the discipline to consistently and productively wash, rinse, repeat the follow-up when not with a customer.

Most dealerships’ sales force is 90% made of Joe Average. Good salespeople. They’ll do what they’re told. But if no one is holding their hand and keeping them accountable, they will spend more of the work day doing tasks that do not produce – like repeated coffee refills, cigarette breaks, water cooler chat, hiding from customers, etc – than they will generating sales. In this writing, we won’t dig deep into the fact that many sales managers are not holding their teams as accountable as they could be – essentially, not doing their jobs better than average.

A salespersons job, simplified, is to prospect, sell the product, and follow-up.

90% or fewer of today’s salespeople do any activities towards prospecting, and as we all know and has already been stated repeatedly, are equally lax on follow-up.

It seems ours is one of the only industries where a person can be hired to a job and continue to show up and get a paycheck for completion of 33% or less of the responsibilities of that job. And in many dealerships, there are salespeople who show up and collect slightly more than minimum wage for YEARS at a time! How many sales are being lost by that salesperson? How many opportunities are they wasting…..ESPECIALLY if your dealership does not have a BDC to pick up the slack?

A well trained BDC handles 66% of a salesperson’s job responsibilities. Sadly, many dealerships try to create BDC payplans that pencil out to a third of the earnings of a salesperson. Worse, most of the dealerships create payplans for BDC reps that put more weight on the sale of a vehicle, rather than the show of an appointment. These dealerships create an inefficiency and an expense (rather than income generator) because even a mediocre BDC agent will work their payplan. A hospital would never have a nurse perform brain surgery. Why would a dealership expect a Customer Service Agent to sell a car?

As you can see, there are many reasons why a dealership should consider a LONG-TERM plan to install and operate a BDC.

The Dealer Quarterback would LOVE the opportunity to meet your dealership and TEAM with you to map out a long term plan to install a BDC and make it functional, and show you additional tools to help solidify more showroom conversions.

Send an e-mail to dani@dealerqb.com or text message to 310-428-3362

Dani aka The Dealer Quarterback

Dani Zandel got her start in the auto dealership world on a rainy day in January, 1998. The rest is history, which includes jumping head first into running Internet Departments before CRMs became popular (using Yahoo! Mail)...before Internet Departments existed... before Internet leads arrived from any source other than the vehicle manufacture! Dang! This bio just aged Dani way too much! Since those early days, Dani has sold vehicles, trained in the F&I office, and excelled at Internet Lead Handling, while exploring other low-cost, high ROI opportunities to sell cars to the community. Some of Dani's accomplishments include Certificates of Completion for the F&I and Internet programs at College of Automotive Management, as well as the Human Resources program at Loyola Marymount University (extension). She has rank advanced as a representative of Send Out Cards, and believes every salesperson and every car dealership should consider the benefits of showing gratitude to car buying prospects and customers. Dani has had the joy and pleasure of working with great dealerships -- most recently training the BDC team at a prominent Los Angeles Cadillac dealership, and previously implementing a BDC from non-existence to operational success for a Toyota dealership, and before that, a Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep Ram and Fiat dual rooftop dealership. Her combined experiences in HR Management, Telephone & Internet Communications, and understanding of the technical side of CRMs, in addition to her own car dealership experiences, give Dani a leg up in the organization processes involved to create and install BDC departments, and restructure Internet departments within car dealerships. Dani professionally seeks to work with car dealerships on the specific tasks of CRM Automation, BDC installation, BDC/Internet training, and Appreciation Marketing. Dani's future personal goals include travel to the crystal blue waters of Santorini, Greece, and acclaimed success as a consultant, trainer, and speaker on the circuit of Automotive Dealership Seminars, specializing in the topics related to Internet and BDC success. Dani is the author of "How to Create Customer Loyalty" (available on Amazon) and is currently working on her 2nd book (still untitled) targeting an audience of Car Dealership Owners, GMs, and Sales Managers.