By Damon Sefa, Director of Client Services, Elead
The traditional dealership business model is increasingly sharing space with a digital customer experience. A BDC can help dealers adapt and excel during this period of change. Three big trends highlight this new way of doing business:
- Online lead volume is up dramatically as people continue to choose touchless research and shopping.
- Dealership employee numbers are down as dealers cut costs and shift more responsibilities onto remaining employees.
- Going back to business as usual isn’t an option as people embrace digital retailing, digital financing and touchless deliveries.
A new world of car sales is taking shape. The coronavirus and its fallout certainly accelerated the pace, but many believe we were already headed this way. A well trained and professional BDC can help you adapt faster than your competitors due to four winning factors:
- A BDC is a safety net for sales. As online and phone leads snowball, you need more people to respond quickly and efficiently, but you want your salespeople focused on the most immediate opportunities. A BDC employee can call a lead within 15 minutes and follow up according to each dealership’s specific process. The BDC does the heavy lifting, making those 3-4 calls or emails it generally takes to reach a lead. Then, they can sift out the real buyers and put the low-funnel leads right in your salesperson’s lap. An external BDC is also available outside of normal business hours, so a customer will get a response even when your dealership is closed. Leads don’t fall through the cracks and your salespeople are free to pursue immediate ROI opportunities. Talk about a great safety net.
- A BDC is professionally trained. Traditionally, a good salesperson can become the sales manager with very little training involved. He or she may be great at selling cars, but how good are they on the phone? BDC employees receive classroom training to develop excellent phone skills. This is especially important when dealing with people aided by the digital world. They’ve done their research. They’ve narrowed down vehicle choice. The next step is to get the customer into the showroom to test drive the vehicle to make sure it fits all of their needs. They’ll also need a professional appraisal if they are replacing their vehicle. A good BDC will have proven word tracks and will provide an exceptional customer experience while driving traffic to the dealership, so the sales team can do what they do best: sell vehicles.
- A BDC has reporting to hold sales accountable. BDC employees put all call information and notes into your CRM for complete customer profiles. This offers two advantages: salespeople can trace the customer journey for more personalized follow-up, and dealership management can hold salespeople and managers accountable for results. Easy-to-read dashboards track leads by salesperson with aggregated data so you know who’s closing and who’s not. This provides invaluable information for training opportunities.
- A BDC is agile. Most dealerships were not equipped to go online quickly, but many BDCs were. External BDC employees are used to working outside of the dealership and use technology all day long to track and respond to leads. The best were able to quickly train employees to set up Zoom calls instead of in-person appointments and help dealer-clients transition to digital selling.
You can choose to set-up an internal BDC or go with a good off-site company. There are pros and cons to both models. Hiring a small team gives you control over all processes, but it can stretch budgets and training can eat into management time at a period when most dealers are trying to cut costs and asking employees to wear multiple hats.
An external BDC is already up and running. Employees can be trained quickly to adhere to your specific lead processes. A good BDC partner will help you establish a good process in the dealership as well as identify gaps or opportunities in your current process.
A BDC can help your dealership adapt and excel ahead of your competition as our new world of car sales takes shape. In a growing digital market that is all about efficiency, a professionally-trained leads safety net that is agile and able to hold sales accountable is key to ongoing success.
About the Author
Damon Sefa is a 20+ year veteran of the automotive industry, most notably holding home office and field positions with General Motors before joining Elead. As Director of Client Services, Damon currently oversees all aspects of the customer experience center operations.