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BDC, Call Center…BS…Call It What It IS!

COMMUNICATION!

I just got through reading “Is the dealership sales call center obsolete?” on autonews.com. I got the article from Andy Warner on twitter. This article highlights dealers that have built, dismantled and maintain BDC’s and discusses the various pro’s and con’s of each but fails to get the real point.  

That said I am going to try and land the plane on this topic and let’s discuss where you think I’m missing it or what we can do to make it better. The reality is that we have a real problem here that needs to be addressed for the retail auto industry as a whole.

I have beaten the lead conversion drum for years to the point many think I am obsessed with it.

The fact is that I am but over the last 2 years I have come to realize that… “Lead Conversion isn’t enough”, we are going to have to get beyond lead conversion to the visit to excel and therein lies our problem.

When we get a lead or a call there are a few inherent things we know we have to do.

  1. Answer the question
  2. Give the price
  3. Sell the appointment

But if you’ve answered the prospects questions and you’ve given them the price…why do they need you? When you get a prospect on the phone how do you get their contact information and make sure it is accurate, and then convince them to visit the store? These challenges are not new to the industry; they aren’t even unique to the automotive industry. The fact is all business working to generate leads face these same challenges.  

The answer… VALUE!

To get something from someone, a lead, contact information, a visit you have to give them something of value in return.

Value Drivers

  1. Time – this is the number one reason the prospect is on the net to begin with, it would stand to reason if you can save them time in the shopping & buying process you will have an advantage (think Progressive.com). Here I suggest a 90 min test drive and purchase guarantee.
     
  2. Information – the primary reason a prospect contacts the dealership is for information, about the car, about their trade, about financing and of course the price Joe Webb talks about these various types of appointments in a very good blog post “The Four Appointments Car Dealers Should Set” but what is the VALUE the customer gets for setting the appointment? This is where most sales people miss it and is your opportunity to place yourself above the competition with an online brochure about the car they are buying with information on why they should buy from your dealership and a video introduction from you with a walk around of the car. You see the dealership and the YOU are the only things they can’t get somewhere else. This is the reason we developed infoMagnet our online brochure tied to our incentive based behavioral marketing app. When you offer this value 98% of the time you will get good contact information from a phone call to your dealership and over 60% of these customers will show up at your store with a 80% plus closing ratio.
     
  3. Convenience – we all pay more for convenience, we do business everyday based on what is most convenient for us. Make it more convenient for your prospect to buy from you. Deliver the car to their place of business let them drive it while you take their car and get the appraisal. I was doing this back in the 80’s and ironically I would sell at least 2 other cars to people in that office with in as many months after I did this for a prospect. My closing ratio…100%, I never lost a customer I delivered the car to.
     

Whether you are in the BDC or you are a salesperson on the floor you have to be able to communicate the value to the customer for giving their contact information, showing up at the store and buying from you. So you see it doesn’t matter if you have a BDC Department or Your sales staff handles the leads as they come in, they will all have to communicate value to get the customer.

The question is who do you want to train? That’s all.

So tell me, where am I missing this, if at all?

What can we improve or add to TIME, INFORMATON and CONVIENENCE?

Views: 331

Tags: BDC, BS, Call Center, Calls, Phone, Salesperson, agency, digital, entice, hooklogic, More…marketing, onlinedrive

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Comment by Keith Shetterly on May 29, 2013 at 4:50am

Thanks Larry!  Ralph, lock me in to moderate.  keithshetterly@gmail.com to discuss format and rules as we move forward, please.

Comment by Larry Bruce on May 29, 2013 at 4:45am

@Ralph I have no problem with Keith. This will be fun and hopefully educational for everyone. 

Comment by Tom Gorham on May 28, 2013 at 5:46pm

A MUST SEE event!

Comment by Ralph Paglia on May 28, 2013 at 2:23pm
Larry Bruce @PCMguy - The Debate is On! The AutoCon Agenda is being updated and the fine folks at FCE are updating the site at http://AutoCon2013.com - Larry, I am OK with Keith being the moderator if you are.
Comment by Keith Shetterly on May 28, 2013 at 11:29am

Mike, I think that speaks volumes to the reality in most stores today.

Comment by Mike Warwick on May 28, 2013 at 11:20am

BDC agents and salespeople have become completely different animals.  The salesperson 15-20 years ago was able to handle the process from initial phone call to delivery.  Very few of those salespeople exist in today's dealerships.  They are not trained in phone skills or follow up and their writing skills leave a lot to be desired.  It's not their fault, we've simply changed the sales culture and we no longer demand those skills from our salespeople.  

I can remember when there was a great deal of crossover between the sales floor and the BDC.  I never see that anymore.  Take a salesperson of the floor and stick them in the BDC and tell them they need to make 120 attempts a day.  Most won't last a week.  In many of our stores, the BDC agents make more money than some of the salespeople but the under-performing salespeople will quit before working in the BDC.

The real challenge in the BDC world is dealing with the turnover.  The national turnover rate in call centers is about 100% annually and in my experience, it's not much better in the car business.  

Comment by Larry Bruce on May 28, 2013 at 8:56am

As they say on one of my favorite shows Ralph... CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! 

This is an important topic for the industry would be happy to debate it for the benefit of all. 

Comment by Keith Shetterly on May 28, 2013 at 8:23am

I presented this information at Brian Pasch's bootcamp earlier this month from four years of data from CAR Research's call center, the company I now am VP for in Houston.  Many thanks to Julie Seitz for working so hard on the both the data and the concept.  Food for thought on The Invisible Customer:   https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxJJSE4To0mLRFRNTElCOGJ2TnM/edit?us...

Comment by Keith Shetterly on May 28, 2013 at 7:43am

Ralph/Larry, I'd offer to moderate that debate!  What have I seen?  That ANYONE taking a logical, business-smart approach and OWNING it is going to have results--just about no matter which direction they take (BDC or No-BDC).  As I wrote below, I've had the very big privilege to meet and study the BDC at Norm Reeves Honda, #1 Honda dealer in the USA.  They've had a BDC FOR SEVEN YEARS and never looked back.  Most dealerships that I've seen show that BDCs--and even external call centers--statistically do much better than the salespeople that most dealerships hire these days.  BTW, my hat is off to folks who DO well as salespeople, and my only point is that you are rarer and rarer as this century begins.  :)

Comment by Ralph Paglia on May 28, 2013 at 7:36am

Larry Bruce @PCMguy - You know my experiences and beliefs about BDC's, CRC's, CCC's, whatever they are called, in my experience setting them up and running them, the tactic of using a dedicated call center is a more efficient and productive way to handle incoming calls to the dealership...

However, given the strong case you make for the opposite conclusion, perhaps we should schedule a POTUS style moderated debate at AutoCon 2013.  Are you up to the challenge? You and I going head to head with whatever compelling arguments and data we will use to state our case... autoCon 2013, September 4-6 in Las Vegas... You and I on the big stage... BDC or No-BDC?  You have been challenged to a duel of words in a public venue!

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