I read your stuff (and always have), but this is my first time reaching out. I’m the General Manager of an import store in the midwest, with a 3 person BDC. My question is, is the priority of my BDC to be setting appointments or selling cars online? While I’ve seen your “just get them in” video, I always felt the benefit of a BDC handling calls over my sales team is that they weed out the strokes (pardon the expression), and set appointments with serious buyers. If customers are more researched online, shouldn’t the people they bring in be more qualified? What should be the goal of my BDC?
First off, thanks for being a fan of all the crazy content I put out over the years.
I may take your question in a different direction. Perhaps, too literally. While it may not make sense initially, I will say that the primary goal of your BDC, at least on inbound calls, is NOT setting an appointment, but to extract a customer’s contact info and log it into the CRM. Do they get paid predicated upon a showed appointment? Yes, but making their primary goal to set appointments is putting the cart before the horse.
The reason BDCs work so well is that when a showroom salesperson answers the phone, they’re only thinking about the end sale… and that gets in the way of how they typically handle the customer and the call. When a BDC answers the phone, however, they recognize that no money reaches their pocket without a customer’s first name, last name, phone number or email address logged into the CRM. That should always be priority #1, even before the answering of their questions or setting appointments. That is why our BDC trainers, Melissa and Ashley, push the content capturing aspect of our phone guides so adamantly. If garnering a customer’s contact info (including last name) is one of the key variables that personally make you money, (while simultaneously growing a valuable marketing database), then it is in the best interest of the store for it to be the primary focus.
Let’s all try to buckle down and make capturing contact info our first duty on inbound calls. For inbound emails, your BDC can take the Internet lead as far down the pipeline as the prospect wants it to go, even to a sale. But they themselves shouldn’t be driving that customer to purchase online, only toward an setting appointments, unless the prospect dictates the online conversation must go further toward a transaction. (Here is a previous blog you may have caught about the Four Appointments to Set)
And regarding “strokes”… I’ve sold a crap-ton of them. That’s what selling is. Taking someone without the intent to purchase and convincing them of purchasing. If a customer calls into a car dealership, regardless of their intent, they’re moderately interested in owning a vehicle in the future. So why not set an appointment with them? Sure, a sale may be an unlikely outcome, but it’s still got to be a small possibility. I mean… they are calling a car dealership after all. The team at DealerKnows has ourselves sold thousands of vehicles online and on the phone, but I’ve only sold “strokes” that I’ve brought into the showroom and met with personally.
If your store gets a call and the “stroke” says they’re interested in a Kia Soul, but are a few months out, are you wanting them to avoid setting appointments, or telling the caller to ring them back in a few months when they’re closer to buying? I hope not. I’d rather your team say “Absolutely. The Soul are great vehicles. To make sure it is a vehicle you should keep considering over these next few months, let’s set up a time for you to come in sooner rather than later and experience it. Just to make sure you do indeed like it. What time works best, today or tomorrow?”
A “stroke”, in your opinion may never intend to buy, but I bet not all are opposed to coming into a dealership. That is where your salespeople come in. Not every sale needs to be served to them on a silver platter. Some they many actually need to work for. God forbid, a salesperson may actually need to influence someone with their presentation skills. Otherwise, you might as well have showroom kiosks to sell cars.
Back to your question… one of my former General Managers, Roland De La Rosa, used to love saying…”Just keep the main thing the main thing”.
You don’t need to get discouraged if your BDC is not selling cars online.
Nor should you get discouraged if customers are coming in not fully ready to purchase, or aren’t realistic buyers.
You instead need to encourage your BDC to log accurate information into the CRM in the next-step hope that they become in-showroom shoppers. It’s up to your sales team and the customers themselves if they become buyers.