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Are Your Customers Keeping Their Appointment?

“On average, when your BDC rep closes an appointment, it takes up to five touches to get that person to show up at the dealership. These efforts include text messages, emails and additional reminder calls.”

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Are your salespeople or business development center (BDC) representatives closing on the appointment over the phone? Or is there a disconnect in the process where your rep tells you that the appointment is closed, but the person never shows at the dealership?

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Many steps need to happen between that initial conversation and the actual appointment. On average, when your BDC rep closes an appointment, it takes up to five touches to get that person to show up at the dealership. These efforts include text messages, emails and additional reminder calls.

These days, BDC reps seem to both be at capacity and yet not as good as the outsourced call center staff you can find nationwide. Why is this the case?

An outside BDC focuses on very narrow scripts that correspond to specific campaign efforts. Training goes on for weeks before an outsourced BDC rep is allowed to speak to a live customer. Then, over time, the rep advances through a series of scripts, only handling the most challenging of situations after more than nine months on the job. Does your dealership have this level of rigid training?

Having listened to thousands of calls over the course of my career, I don’t care how good you think your sales team or BDC is — outsourcing is the way to go. It is simply too much effort to replicate what these powerhouses have accomplished.

Some food for thought:

Only the best of BDCs will close 135 out of 150 people spoken to on the appointment and, of those, only 120 will show up. Let’s face it, as Joe Verde would say — if those numbers are too good to be true, cut them in half. Still too good? Cut them in half again. Taking this into account, it is the job of your sales team to close 35 to 50 percent of everyone who comes in the door. Similarly, a great sales team will knock these numbers out of the park, closing 75 to 80 percent of the people coming through the door.

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Where am I getting these numbers? I’ve personally worked with an exceptional BDC for a Honda dealership in New York that has consistently exceeded these numbers. That, however, is not the norm. If your team is not exceptional at bringing in the vast majority of those who call the store, you need to seriously consider outsourcing these calls. Leave the heavy lifting to the pros.

The right company will charge you somewhere between .065 and .1 cents per direct marketing effort (so, on a 10,000-piece direct mail effort, expect to pay $650 to $1,000 extra for this level of support). I promise, however, that these modest costs will be well worth it.

So, ask the agency you work with if they offer this level of support. Most have deals with the big national agencies and can pass along these services for extremely little mark-up. That’s who you want — and need — to be working with. In particular, make sure that these calls run through a U.S.-based agency. You do not want your potential clients struggling with language barriers.

There are some phenomenal agencies in the United States. They use a series of scripts that correspond with a variety of popular campaigns. A word of warning: You never want to alter the scripts or internal processes of these companies. Much effort goes into training this team; they know what they are doing. Trust them. Delegate these efforts and let go. Better yet, ask your current ad agency representative if you can listen to a sampling of how these calls are handled. You will be blown away. I promise.

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Best of luck exceeding last month’s numbers — I hope this helps.

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