Working with many diverse automotive dealers has allowed us to gain a lot of insight in the BDC Department. Our dealer strategists have been able to develop training programs to increase performance, production, and improve processes inside of dealership BDC Departments.

This is usually accomplished by giving an assessment to be able to identify root cause issues and then building integration steps to achieve the results desired. Sort of the Crawl, Walk, and Run mentality. 

If you are looking at your BDC department and thinking of ways to improve, there are few things you should know as you move your plan forward. There are four important questions to ask yourself before making a decision.

1. What type of BDC is best for your dealership?

There is a lot to unpack here, but mainly you should looking at the big picture items like cost, facility setup, staff skillset, and your general number of leads. The standard amount of leads in most environments is about 150 per agent. Let's briefly look at these three BDC structures.

Traditional BDC:
This BDC method is typically where a manager supervises dealership agents, and the agents are handling the leads at the beginning of the buying cycle.

Hybrid BDC:
This is a mix of the Traditional and Cradle-to-Grave structures where an agent takes the customer from lead generation all the way through to the purchase.

Cradle-to-Grave BDC:
This structure enlists salespeople to handle the lead when it comes into the dealership. Once there, the sale to the customer once they arrive.

We've seen many different dealerships use one or more of these BDC structures with both great success and possible frustration, which is why you interpret your need carefully!

2. What areas is your dealership struggling with the most?

You will see that the "Set, Show, and Sold" process varies at different times of the year, and it depends on the buying cycle of your customers. For example, January through March sees a higher pre-owned interest. It is important that your team leverages the tools they have to maximize the results during these different periods. 

Remember, there are standard goals for both internet and phone leads that come in. 

  • Set Rates: the amount of appointments being set to the incoming lead ratio.
    • Internet has the goal of a 35% set rate.
    • Phone has the goal of a 50% set rate. 
  • Show Rates: the amount of appointments that show up to the dealership.
    • Internet has the goal of a 65% show rate.
    • Phone has the goal of a 80% show rate.
  • Sold Rates: the amount of appointments that purchase a vehicle when they show for their appointment.
    • Internet has the goal of a 65% sold rate.
    • Phone has the goal of a 60% sold rate.
  • Closing Rates: the total number of vehicles sold compared to the total number of leads coming in via the source.
    • Internet has the goal of a 15% closing rate.
    • Phone has the goal of a 24% closing rate.

Here is a practical example of the goals using internet leads:

Let's say you have 100 Internet Leads, and those 100 leads equals 35 set appointments. Of those 35 appointments, 23 of them show up to the dealership. Out of the 23 that show up, we expect about 15 of them to buy a vehicle.

Now let's use the same example but insert phone leads instead:

You have 100 Phone Leads, and those 100 leads equals 50 set appointments. Out of the 50, only 40 of those appointments show up to the dealership. Of the 40 that show up, we expect about 24 to buy a vehicle.

3. What are the basic tools that you need to have in place for your BDC?

Now we'll turn to two basic tools that your BDC personnel need in order to succeed. Tools can be many different things in the BDC world, so it is important to match the tool to your customer base. Every tool needs to work together similar to the components of an engine that gives you the most power without burning excess energy. 

Tool Number 1: Workflows and Cadences

  • A workflow or cadence is the length of time you will be contacting leads, the frequency of contacts, and how you will actually contact the customer. It is important that your team leverage an omni-channel approach that incorporates every means of communication possible, like phone calls, email, texting, and perhaps social platforms.

Tool Number 2: Templates and Scripts

  • Email templates have a science to them, creating a call to action that gets the customer to engage with the offer or detail. While the customer may respond via email, more customers historically set appointments via the phone or through texting. It is important that your emails are working to get a conversation started.
  • Phone scripts are similar to email templates in that they leverage the psychology of the sale to overcome objections, creating a "yes" response to questions in order to build the value in your dealership prior to an appointment ever happening. 

Remember, for the two tools above to be successful, it is critical that the agents are reviewing their leads, answering questions, and working to sell the appointment—not the vehicle.

4. Is it time to lower your costs and improve consistency by outsourcing?

While the term "outsourcing" may seem scary at first, it can actually be a super productive way to maximize your BDC consistency. If an internal BDC is not what you are looking for, we also have Gemini which is a virtual BDC that removes all of those everyday headaches.

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We work diligently to work on the basics so that you are well informed. But understand, there is so much more to making a successful BDC. Other items that have an impact are coaching best practices, conversation flow understanding, meeting structures, email flow, campaigning, and much more.

From the start of a BDC to the most tenured BDC’s, Sokal has many services to support you. If you have any questions, concerns, or ways that you currently structure your BDC, leave them in the comments below!