(Realizing I never actually posted this article I had published in Digital Dealer Magazine several years ago – circa 2008, I felt it still relevant based on recent conversations I’ve had about the importance of sitting in and amongst your BDC team as a manager/Director. Read on…)
I’m sitting on the plane on my way back from the Digital Dealer Conference in Dallas. On every return from a conference, I write (long-hand) my typical, meandering, motivational speech about the experience I had at the conference.
However, I’m having a hard time getting into a positive, motivating frame of mind because the dude next to me continues to complain that the airline should show a movie or television show for him to watch. Yes, we are in first class so maybe that is his problem. (I fly first, not because I am a big shot. I just like the extra space because I am not only a tall drink of water, but also a Big Gulp. He’s just keeps whining about it. Customers’ expectations are way out of whack. It is not good enough that he is sitting in a (faux) leather chair and throwing down vodka cranberries trying to hide his personal, depressive demons. (What kind of guy drinks vodka cranberries anyway, but that’s beside the point.) He is egregiously overlooking the fact that HE IS FLYING THROUGH THE AIR. Have some respect!
Okay, I just told him exactly that. Now, Vladimir is no longer talking to me. Fine.
One of the big highs to the automotive industry is winning arguments with customers. Usually, winning an argument means selling a car. In this instance, my retort to him has yielded me the result I was looking for…Silence. It just feels fantastic when you say the perfect thing at the perfect time. It is an accomplishment and I have to share it.
We have a similar practice in my BDC. Allow me to explain. For those of you who attended the solid 2008 Digital Dealer Conference in Dallas, you may have met my right-hand man and Internet Relations Manager, Jason Oshita. He’s my Ed McMahon. My protégé, I discovered him. We also sit side by side in the BDC which means we eat at our desks at the same time and work throughout “lunch”. Sometimes, in the midst of a quick “lunch”, there is one great, defining bite of food that sums up the entire meal. It is the quintessential bite, halfway through eating, that makes you realize “This is the spot where flavor, taste, portion, and mixture comes together into an explosive culmination of food. It could be the middle of the burger, per chance, or the fork full of salad that carries with it a bit of every ingredient. When Jason and I find this bite (and we look for it), we need to let others know. “That’s The Bite Right There.”
So, as it goes in our BDC, when we tell someone the perfect answer or perfect response, we share it with the group (in case we didn’t hear their half of the phone call already). When we overcome an objection or are proud of the email we are sending, we show the others. Then we all chime in, “That’s the Bite Right There.”
I sit in and amongst my BDC, desk in the center, because I want to be in the mix. I want to hear everything and see everything. I never stop learning and I want everyone to learn from each other.
The director of the BDC or Internet should be immersed in their department. Sit with your team. You’ll learn more about them than you expect. For example, you will come to find their strengths, weaknesses, productivity level, and phone skills. If, at any time, one of us feels that our response back to a customer’s question/objection was excellent, we will just call it out or read it to each other because I want everyone to hear that person’s perfect reply. I want people to congratulate that individual. Thank them for sharing it. No one has all the right answers. Everyone can use training. The benefit of being surrounded by this constant and open communication is that you will eventually absorb the information without realizing it. These best-spoken practices will become a part of you. It is similar to learning through osmosis.
Everybody adopts other’s great word tracks and phone presentation skills. Encourage your team to communicate. While the top salespeople hardly ever hand over their best closing techniques, this isn’t the sales floor. It should be common BDC/Internet practice. Jason impresses me with his great replies all the time, as everyone does. And I try to give some great “bites” back. Many great replies have been converted into a growing list of templates titled – Objections – so you don’t have to write it all over again.
The 2008 fall Digital Dealer Conference was another great experience for me. I know it was for Jason as well. The only grumblings I heard was that a few of the presentations held by vendor personnel weren’t as helpful as those by dealer staff because they were focused on products, not skills. I can say it may be that the vendors are not as immersed on a daily basis in a BDC or dealership setting as their audience is and that may cause a slight disconnect.
That being said, I personally want to thank every single participant who attended my presentation. I am humbled by your overwhelming response and I appreciate each and every one of you for attending. While you may have enjoyed my antics and videos and say you are walking away with a lot, know that you’ve given me so much more. I was scared to death giving this specific presentation in front of peers, but your generous support and kind remarks throughout and after made my conference. As a matter of fact, where this conference presentation ranks in regard to my career, all I must say is “That’s The Bite Right There.”