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I am not about to ask "What is the best way to run a BDC?" as I feel we all are pretty confident in each of our own beliefs that our way is the best way.
However, I am currently in a small battle and want to know of others' experiences with their BDC management.
Some dealers believe a BDC should be run like a telemarketing office with minimum-waged workers following an exact script and taking inbound sales calls and pounding outbound CSI calls with minimal rapport building. I have been asked to change the culture of my BDC to this type, but feel that my current incarnation of BDC far exceeds the results this telemarketing-BDC venture can provide.
In my current BDC, I have Customer Contact Reps with past experience in non-auto customer service departments and telemarketing companies. However, before joining the BDC, but had to cut their teeth on the showroom after selling cars for one year. Both have strong ties to CSI and understand the sales process which, in my estimation, makes the sales staff assisting the customers more accepting because they tend to be more qualified as prospects. I am struggling, though, explaining to some in my dealership that it is beneficial for someone to actually know cars when taking a car sales call. Opposed to reading from a car brochure, their time on the showroom seems to have made them more well-rounded than other BDC reps I've spoken to - and I feel that is our advantage.
Am I off the mark - can a telemarketer without auto experience offer the same quality of contact as that of someone who is more of a "relationship-builder" during sales calls?
Please let me know how you all maintain your BDC staff as well as how you feel their pay plans should be structured (with a range, if it isn't giving too much away).
For instance, I've been told my top Customer Contact Rep - generally responsible to bringing in an average of 130 appts = 60 or so sales per month is well-overpaid at $48k after all bonuses have been met. (Hope that isn't divulging too much) I would like to know details/ammunition/testimonials from you all that can either help me make my case or persuade me otherwise. I'm afraid if I malaciously comply with this newest directive, no matter how well I train new recruits, it will have a negative impact on sales volume, profit, CSI, and more. Any guidance you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Tags: BDC, calls, phone, sales

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I would say that you get what you pay for. When I worked at Courtesy Chevrolet's BDC in Phoenix, My reps were probably the highest paid in the industry, however compare there results with any other BDC in the country and I am sure we were close to the top if not the top. I am going through much the same thing at my new dealership, however I am changing the comp of my reps for the better because I believe quality is better than quantity. However I am cutting some of my reps and devoting my time to a smaller team. My reps are required to become certified and also must understand the sales process, if not all you are developing are mindless robots. My question is to your management team, what happens when one of those minimum wage people can't find an answer from the script? How many deals are you going to lose, than add that into how much you are saving and you should have your answer. Good luck!
Hello Steven,
That is a great way of looking at it. My only downside is that I will have to implement their preferred plan before I have the potentially unfavorable results to compare my current ones to. I too, believe quality is better than quantity and have a smaller BDC staff in place at the moment.

I had the honor of starting a BDC from the ground up in late 2005. The journey lasted till late 2007.
I had a total of 4 BDC reps that answered inbound calls and all e-leads. At that time my reps were generating more appointment shows to the dealership via inbound phone calls and e-leads then ever before. I hired people that were not in the car business before, but had a strong background in sales over the phone. When I interviewed them, I would interview them over the phone to get a good sense of there phone skills.

There main and only job was to set appointments for the sales floor! Each salesman would be in rotation to get an appointment made via the BDC. When the appointment was made the BDC rep told them whom to ask for when they came in. The BDC agent would then hand the prospects information off to the Sales rep, to do a follow confirm appointment call and introduce themselves to the prospect.

This process worked well until the store went through cutbacks and the BDC vanished. Would this process work today? I do not know. I will say the best thing about a BDC and doing it this way is a good way to promote BDC agents to the floor as Sales Reps! They already know how to answer the inbound call and set the appointment!
I have had the opportunity to work in several types of BDC environments. From being an INTERNET SALES MANAGER that set my own appointments using only e-leads and sell those appointments. This became a miss a lot and gain a little proposal realistically. If I was sitting working a deal, e-leads would come in and I would answer them way to late, in my opinion. This was how I cut my teeth in the Internet Department.

The next set up I joined, was almost identical to the one ALVIN described. We switched from handing it right over to the Sales Person, to greeting them ourselves, to setting them for the Management team. We all had to be INTERNET CERTIFIED and Product Certified. I had been on the floor of many of a Dealership well before I dove into the BDC format and I believe that it gave me the leg up strongly. My statistics showed this. I was killing everyone with my stats. Main reason I realized, was that I set everyone of my appointments up and landed them on a vehicle before they hit my show room.

I worked in two different BDC's that were staffed mainly with Phone Reps. Not Sales People and it showed. They would constantly have to put the Customer on hold and ask me questions and at that time I wasn't the Manager. Needless to say, when I did take it over, I made everyone get Certified on Product and part of their training included Sales Training. The results were night and day.

So, I believe that you need to at least Certify your Team on Product knowledge, Internet Certification, and give them the basics of selling to have a really results driven department.

As far as your pay, you absolutely get what you pay for. I was earning from $48,000-$55,000 a year from selling 45-70 cars a month. Most of which were not of the mini variety!! LOL!
PS.. What would a Car Sales Person make if they sold 60+ cars a month? Even if they sold 60 minis a month they would get $6,000 which is.....$72,000 Hmmmm. What are they complaining about? Food for thought for the Management Team that wants to change it!!
Ok, wait a minute! either I do not understand your answer, or I am reading it wrong. I would like to meet a salesperson selling 60+ units a month in any market, good or bad! If you sold 45-70 cars a month and only made $48,000-$55,000 a year, and you were happy with that more power to you. I have been in the business for over 12 years now and my best months were selling 15-18 cars a month and making $7,500-$9,000 a month! not to brag, but I know how much time is spent just selling 15-18 cars a month. If I sold 45-60 I better be getting paid 20K plus a month or BYE, BYE I FLY!!

I have to be reading this response wrong! PLEASE TELL ME I AM.

I was wondering if you could help me out? I have been tasked with setting up a you know of any "one stop" sites that could give me all the info I need to do this? I have a plan, but not sure how to actually get it up and I need any specialized programs, or just my CRM? How many leads can 1 employee handle? 3? 5? Pay plan? (I was thinking $10/hr, plus $20 for each appointment that shows)....etc, etc, etc.....


Thanks in advance for any help or advice...



Hello Brian,
I'd like to think that ADM has all the details you'd need to do it, but those tips are likely mixed inside their 100k pages of content.
A few tips - yes, a CRM is primarily all you will need, but it is ideal when the sales team is utilizing the same CRM and always inputting customer records and updating them with notes consistently.
You'll also need a strong phone system and a call management tracking service so you can monitor inbound call activity/quality/volume/length/source.

If your staff is being tasked with handling inbound leads and calls, I believe a good individual (who is not being asked to deal with price negotiation and online desking of deals, but simply appt-setting) can handle 200-225 total opportunities. (Closer to 200).  If you are tasking them with more of an online center for vehicle purchasing (desking, pricing, negotiating), that should go down to 175 opportunities per.
Also, if they are being asked to make outbound unsold walk-in follow-up calls, lease retention calls, sold calls, etc, you likely want them to cap out at 150 NEW opportunities as all of these other calls will generally equal the work of an additional 75 leads.

For compensation, there needs to be stair-steps. Think $10 for showed appts, (never pay for set), $10 additional if sold, but opportunities to make $15-$20 per show and sale provided they are reaching higher volume numbers.  (You are right on for the hourly).

Hope that helps.  In the end, if you need it... call me... 847-456-5130 

Thank you so much!! Great advice. And thanks for the offer of continued help...I am sure I will need it!

Ok...what advice can you give me on this?.....I currently have an average of 70-80 Internet and Phone Leads per month, yielding about 15 sales from those sources. What is the best practice for buying leads? How many? Cost per Lead? Are some 3rd Party providers better than others? What is the expected close on 3rd Party Leads?


I'm sure I seem completely lost about my job, but I am finding hard to obtain the data I need to justify increased expense....

A lot of good questions there.  Just give me a ring some time and we can chat about it.

Thanks Joe...Calling you tomorrow. Is there a better time for you?


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