Since I’ve moved over to installing dealer-owned insurance agencies full time, I’ve been hesitant to write about BDC, the main reason is because there are so many other companies out there who are teaching everyone the wrong way and confusing even the most savvy dealership operators. I’m not trying to pick a fight here. Everyone needs something to sell, but many vendors are helping to perpetuate an already overwhelming problem by picking the remaining meat off the bones of the dealer’s front-end variable gross with too much smoke, mirrors and confetti. This hurts the dealer beyond comprehension as it affects the dealer’s ability to run a healthy and profitable business.
Any dealer should be able to take a “bucket” of leads (any leads) and dump them into their “BDC funnel,” and measure the ROI in ad dollars as the leads are converted from lead to set to show to sold. Then they should be able to easily determine the efficiency and productivity of their BDC based off those conversion rates. Is that too much to ask? Apparently in 90 percent of the nation’s dealerships, the answer is a resounding yes.
Here are some process changes that will significantly improve your dealership’s BDC conversion rates, but keep this in mind: you can’t fix what you can’t measure, and you can’t measure what you can’t see. You need to be getting accurate reporting and that seldom comes directly from your CRM. Your lead to set to show to sold ratio as well as your true viable lead count can only be calculated by a competent business development manager.
1. Look at your “stop the clock” method. Is it an auto-responder? If so, what sort of template are you sending out? Auto-responders can be a deathblow to the lead if you’re not monitoring them properly. Also, if the factory is shopping you, the auto-responders need to comply with the grading standards set forth by the OEM. Make sure you know which auto-responders are going when.
2. Overnight leads are hot. It’s important to have someone first thing in the morning responding to all leads that came in over night. These leads need immediate attention.
3. Escalate every electronic lead to a phone call. Voicemail, live chat, emails, website inquiries, must all be escalated to a phone call as soon as humanly possible.
4. Pound the phone until you talk with the customer. Winning the appointment is everything. He/she who gets the customer on the phone first is the one who is most likely to win the appointment. A very talented BDM will tell you that if the customer doesn’t answer the first time you call it’s because they are on the phone with your competitor. If they don’t answer the second time it’s because they are on the way to your competitor, and if they don’t answer the third time you call it’s because they are inside the dealership of your competitor. A good BDM will be willing to call the customer up to 10 times on the first day. I know you’re thinking about all the reasons why that is so wrong, but there are even more reasons why it’s right. Customers get over being angry very quickly when you tell them the reason why you made so many attempts.
5. Ask for the appointment multiple times. Eighty percent of the nation’s BDC reps only ask for the appointment one time, and 20 percent don’t ask for it at all. Yet, 60 percent of the yeses comes after the third no. There are script techniques you can use to work through the basic objections.
6. Give them a reason to come to the dealership. Everyone is having a huge sale, and everyone has the best prices, and everyone has a VIP sales process, and everyone has special internet pricing.
7. Gift cards. “I know your time is valuable, I’m going to give you a gift card when you get here for you to put toward gas (or tolls or lunch). So, when can you be here to look at that ________?”
8. Only give them options. “Does today or tomorrow work for you?” “Morning or afternoon?” Don’t ever ask a customer if they can come down to look at a vehicle. They need options and they need them repeated. Don’t be afraid to revisit those options.
9. Eliminate your overdue tasks, as they are killing your morale. You do this by setting so many appointments that there’s nothing left for you do except to mark it as an appointment. When you’re overdue tasks get marked as an appointment, the follow-up tasks become much lighter. Once you power through your overdue tasks, and get more assertive on your lead to set ratio, your overdue task load lightens up. This will significantly reduce those morale-killing daily grind workload calls and emails you’re making to your 90-day-old unsold, no-show follow-ups you’re doing every single day.
10. Find a phone grinder for unsold follow up. Unsold follow up usually ends up being passed on to the salespeople, and I’m sorry, but they’re not going to make those calls most of the time. So, keep them in your workflow, but under an automated workflow so they don’t kill morale. A phone grinder will comb through them over and over again and thin them out. You have more fresh leads coming in every day that aren’t being managed at all, so why choke your salespeople, or your BDC with pointless calls. A good phone grinder comes from the background of businesses like debt collection companies or brokerage offices. They don’t mind making 200 to 300 calls per day at $12 to $15 per hour plus commissions or bonuses and they can always pass the golden nuggets back the BDM/BDR or salesperson.
Click here to view more solutions from Kevin Bradberry and Atlas Dealer Services.