Ask 10 different dealers for their opinion on automotive business development centers and you will likely get 10 different answers. We’ve seen it all — we have clients who have their own fully functioning BDCs onsite, others who outsource and another group that is achieving great results without BDCs.
There is no perfect answer to the question, and we’ve seen successes from each scenario previously mentioned. So, when considering if your dealership could benefit from adding a BDC into your processes, it’s important to understand the benefits that one could bring.
Ultimately, we believe the goal of the business development center is to develop relationships and increase showroom traffic for the dealership. BDCs are often the heart of the dealership and vital to the overall success of the store. If they are done effectively and consistently, BDCs will generate more traffic and profit for the dealership.
Why Are BDCs Important?
Because response time matters. Over 80% of car buyers start their research online, and many consumers have inquired at multiple dealerships, so the first to respond or the one who responds at just the right time is going to earn their business — which means that consistency is key.
A well-run BDC will improve engagement and ensure quality through continual coaching and accountability. A strong BDC manager will ensure customers are being followed up with extensively via calls/texts/emails for multiple days, because productivity produces results. When the showroom is busy, you want your sales staff to be able to focus on the customers who are there in person without compromising the real-time response to fresh new leads. A BDC is a dedicated team that you can rely on so your sales team can do what they do best, and you can be confident your prospective customers are being taken care of at the same time.
What Is the Dealership’s Role in the BDC’s Success?
It is crucial to understand that using a BDC, whether onsite or remotely, is a partnership and not a test. There’s got to be a total mindset and commitment made by the whole dealership to say this is what we are doing and we’re in it for the long-term. A dealer must think of the BDC as an extension of the sales team — a support system that is built to accommodate their unique needs.
Also, communication equals success. Always keep your BDC team up to date with any current promotions that you are running. They will leverage these incentives to increase the number of appointments set.
What to Do First?
If you are considering inserting BDC into your processes, we would recommend that you first evaluate both your current processes and your existing team and take note of what you are really good at. From there you can determine what gaps you need filled.
Consult with your CRM/ILM rep since they already know your dealership inside and out and can make helpful recommendations for you. Also, you’ll need to do some research to decide if you want to have your BDC onsite or outsource. If you do decide to outsource, make sure you are partnering with a company you can trust — one that has your overall success as a priority and not just getting you as an account.