Let’s face it, the car business is changing, and if you aren’t willing to change with it, your dealership will suffer. Business Development Centers were created to give the salespeople on the floor more time to handle walk-in customers and to ensure that the Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) and follow up is dealt with correctly.  With this being said, they are the first impression of your dealership and can be the least trained. Dealerships are spending thousands of dollars a month to push an all-important call to their dealership, yet the BDC is the least instructed in how to handle a phone call. Customers do not want to discuss their 2nd biggest purchase with someone that has no clue about the car they are calling on or are not able to see that they may wish to add additional options. If you have hired an order taker, appointment setter or a company that genuinely does not know your business FIRE them now…they are killing your sales.

Build confidence So, let’s talk about turning calls into walk-in traffic and walk-in traffic into sales.  First of all, the call should be a conversation, not an interrogation. The dialogue should be a friendly tone, with expert knowledge and a goal of setting an appointment at the end of the call. Your BDC should not only address the person by name during the call, but the consumer should know their names as well.  Build a trusting friendship along the way leads to an appointment. Build confidence with the consumer by showing them that you not only know about the car they are interested in, but you have several other options that they might like as well. They should expect to meet their “new friend” upon arrival and not be greeted by a strange salesperson.  Doing these simple things can create trust in not only your BDC but also your dealership.  If your salespeople are walking the lot every morning, why not your BDC? I am by no means saying that they need to know everything about every car. They should, however, spend time walking your lot and laying eyes on a handful every day. It is next to impossible to sell something you do not know. They, after all, are SELLING the car before the customer gets in the car.

In an age where almost everyone is using the internet and doing research before visiting a showroom, grooming leads through the BDC should be an essential focus.  Phone scripts don’t always lead to appointments, but excellent phone skills do.  If your BDC can build a relationship with the client and understand their needs, they can help create value in the car they are interested in, and an appointment will become the natural next step.  Remember this is the 2nd most expensive purchase a person will make in their lives.  Knowledge, understanding, and commitment to the customer is the critical ingredient in closing the appointment.

We have seen countless dealerships move the worst salespeople into that role, or they hire someone off the street with ZERO personality.  First impressions matter, and they are giving the first impressions to hundreds of calls a month.  If you are not going to train your people correctly, then there is no reason to spend thousands buying leads for your dealership.  Put your money where your mouth is …Your BDC mouth that is.  Also, if your managers are not listening to every phone call and then ensuring that ALL calls are appropriately logged, then they need to reprioritize their day.  Don’t throw money at something you are not willing to spend the time training and perfecting. Your managers need to coach your staff and help save any missed opportunities constructively; after all, they have the experience and knowledge to improve the BDC’s performance. When your BDC is held accountable, then and only then, will they thrive at the job you have trained them to do.  Hire the right people for the right job and then invest in their success!