Guest Post: My BDC Experience

Guest Post: My BDC Experience

By Brian Lien

First and foremost, thank you, Andrei. Reading your book has made this role much simpler for me and with the tools and guidelines in the book, you took a guy from 8-10 units a month to a 20+ unit guy. I started in August and up to date in May I was able to pay off $7k in credit card debt, $5k in personal debt and I am now five grand away from paying off my car.

Working in the car business is like going to a university majoring in street-smarts. Within my first eight months, I have learned so many valuable things that I hope to keep for as long as I can. If you are ever seeking a work environment or career where every day is different, the car business is definitely for you. 

In this article particularly, I will discuss with you what I have learned from being in the BDC department. As a BDC representative, you are the front line AND  the last line of defense for the dealership. With my situation working in a small store,  if traffic and sales are slow, the eyes go to BDC. If traffic and sales are great, the eyes go to BDC.

In layman’s terms, the BDC department is ultimately the internet response team that handles all incoming web leads and phone calls coming to the store. Your job is simply to sell the appointment.

Here are some skills that working in the BDC has polished for me. 

  • Stress management
  • Negotiation
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Time management
  • Copywriting
  • Innovation
  • Critical Thinking
  • People Skills 

Here are a few things that I have learned so far

You are in the people business.

You have to really like serving people to excel in the BDC office. You are the politician that people will trust to go invest their time in the store, you become a salesperson when there a ‘no’ comes up. You are customer service if the customer is unhappy with something, and you must be the encyclopedia for your product. 

You do not have to be ‘good’ at sales.

We are living in the Internet age, you do not be a salesperson over the phone. The inventory and prices sell for themselves over the internet. As long as you can act as their guide over the phone you will do fine if you do so with transparency, honesty, and being timely. With Andrei’s email templates, it was easy to set my set myself because I am not sending generic store templates and I am not sending any 1-liners. 

The fortune is in the follow-up.

Not everybody buys within 1-3 days. In fact, the car buying process can go as long as 60 days or even 6 months for some people. However, each time you touch base with your customer, you will increase the chance of them going your direction, but of course, do not spam them.

Sell dumb.

Your job is the appointment, not the car. It can become a sticky situation if you give a wrong answer on payments, financing, warranties, service. In the beginning, I would ask for down payments and desired monthly payments but I would quickly run into self-made obstacles because I am not in the finance department and I can’t provide the correct terms. 

Conclusion.

In closing, being in BDC is a job that is challenging yet very rewarding once you can learn how to take care of people, know your product and set yourself apart from other stores by providing a different experience and feeling that the customer gets when they interact with you. 

My best month so far has been 32 units but I am still pressing forward to become better and still striving to have a 40 car and a 50 car month in the business. Remember, you have the ability to print money just by saying that the car is here! 

How to Overcome What’s Your Best Price

How to Overcome What’s Your Best Price

Car salespeople are continually walking a fine line when dealing with customers.

Some parts are wonderful, other parts are tough.

Negotiating price can be tough.

Here you are, working with customers. You try and build trust, offer value. You work hard to answer questions and guide customers.

Everything is going well, until, you guessed it, they ask the critical question.

“What’s your best price?”

This question is a minefield.

Here is the underlying problem: there is no such thing as the “best price.”

Why not?

You see, markets are alive. As goods and services get bought and sold, and prices shift.

Whereas some things have a relatively fixed value, such as a pound of Bananas in the United States (79 cents everywhere I go!), many things have values that are “floating-point.”

These products, such as boats, cars, and houses, are “worth” whatever someone is willing to pay for them at that time.

When a customer asks you, “what’s your best price?”

They are asking, “what is the lowest price that you will sell me this vehicle for?”

The truth is, the “lowest price you will sell a car” depends on a host of variables. The business math behind the lowest cost you will offer a customer depends on:

  • Timeliness (how soon are you buying?)
  • Potential for Service Business (are you local?)
  • Potential for Alternative Profits (are you financing? are you leasing? do you have a trade-in?)
  • Relation (are you a relative, a friend, a family member?)

On top of those variables, the price of a car depends on the market.

The price I will sell a car depends on the price everyone else is selling their cars because I want my store to be a “value leader.”

If I want my store to have a reputation for being a “value leader,” I might be very concerned with what my nearby dealerships are willing to do on price.

Say, for example, I get a brand new product. It’s a Hybrid Q5, brand new to the market. I get 30-40 units to sell in the next 90 days.

A customer comes in and says, “what’s your best price for this car?”

Well, this Q5 hybrid is a brand new model! This car is a hot product with plenty of customers calling in to set appointments to see it.

You respond to the customer, graciously explaining that this a brand new model and our best price is MSRP.

If the customer responds with “well, I have a quote for your neighboring dealer for $3k off, here is the printout,” then you need to change your strategy.

If you want to compete, your best price is changing. It changed before your eyes!

The Biggest Pitfall

Here is a classic mistake salespeople make:

They’ve spent 2 hours with a customer on a cold Saturday afternoon. The salesperson has test-driven, shown the colors, and settled the customer on a specific car.

The customer, sitting at the desk, explains that although they are not buying today, they want to know your best price.

Thus, the gamble emerges!

If you present a price and call it your “best price,” they may accept it. They aren’t buying today, but if they take that the price presented is the best, you can hopefully move forward efficiently the next time they come in.

Here is the problem.

The customer has likely already put in an internet lead. That means that, regardless of if they want to shop you or not, they are almost guaranteed to end up talking to other salespeople.

These other salespeople are hungry for the business.

Here is the thing- you spent two hours with the customer. You have done the legwork. If the salesperson that is calling this customer can just offer a better price, that is a small price to pay to get a customer that is ready to make a deal!

This is how that conversation goes between your customer (Matt) and your competition (Sally):

*RING* *RING*

Matt: Uh, hello?

Sally: Hi! Is this Matt?

Matt: Yes, who is this?

Sally: This is Sally from Audi PT! I saw that you were looking at Truecar.com at the Audi Q5?

Matt: Oh, hi, yes, thanks for calling. I’ve already started to work with a sales guy, Jim, from Audi Oceanside. Thanks for calling, though!

Sally: Before you hang up! Did he provide you a quote?

Matt: Yes…

Sally: What did he say?

Matt: Uh, he said that the best he could do was 8% off. (No matter how much Matt liked you, money talks, and now he is curious!)

Sally: 8%?! Did he say that was the best he could do?

Matt: Uh, yeah, he said that was the best price.

Sally: I have good news. That’s not the best price. If you come today, I can do 8% off plus an extra $700! On top of that, my dealership has a unique offer, and we give every customer a discount on their first three services.

Matt: An extra $700? Well, I’m already working with Matt…

Sally: How about I make that a clean $900, and we call it a deal?

PAUSE HERE

Here lies the problem:

If Matt liked you, then he wants to buy from you. After all, he trusts you!

Now, the problem is, if you said that 8% is the best price, and he trusts you, there are only two realities in his mind:

  1. 8% is the best you can offer. There is no point calling you to ask if you can match the $750, that would be rude (since you are an honest salesperson that told the truth).
  2. 8% was not the actual best that you could do, so you lied. No matter what happens after, you have lost trust. In Matt’s mind, he had to go to someone else to find out a better price.

Neither of those realities sounds good. In the first option, Matt buys elsewhere. In the second option, he calls you to ask if you can match, but it’s clear that you have lost trust. Also, he is going to feel awkward calling you.

The customer doesn’t realize that car prices are a floating-point. The definition of the best price is always shifting with the market.

You can’t quote an exact whole-market “best price” because it can change at any moment.

The Other Trap

Now, this goes one level deeper.

If you have a customer that is leaving, and you avoid answering the “best price” question, you run the risk of seeming like you are “playing games.”

Almost every customer values transparency, but customers also expect to have to negotiate.

So how do you come across in a way that:

  1. You aren’t playing games
  2. You are willing to negotiate
  3. While also allowing you to skirt the “best price” question?

My Solution: Be a Human

When in doubt, honesty is the best policy.

If you have followed my other training, then you know that I believe that the ability for you to convey your personality and value to customers is critical to selling.

Never forget the golden rule of car sales:

People buy from people they like.

So, if you have followed this advice, you just need to leverage this social capital (i.e., ask for a favor) politely and straightforwardly.

The following is the basics of what I say in the situation that I’ve outlined above (a customer leaving the dealership after receiving my quote):

“I hope that you’ve had a good experience here today (pause for agreement). I want to convey that I am wholeheartedly dedicated to selling you a car, and I want you to know that I will do whatever I can to earn your business.

While I’m confident that the quote I’ve provided you is both fair and competitive, I understand the realities of buying a car in the 21st century.

If you do receive a lower quote from another dealer, please reach out to me before making a decision. Again- I don’t think that another dealer will quote you less. But if for some reason it is, please think of contacting me before making the purchase.

Would that work for you?”

In the end, this seems to work. If you have made the customer like you, then you can ask them this favor. Very few customers will react poorly to this messaging.

This way of talking to a customer, being upfront, honest, and genuine, works for me.

Review: How to Overcome “Best Price”

There is always a fear when using the above messaging that you will inspire customers to “shop around.”

The reality is that almost every customer is going to receive competitor offers, regardless of whether they requested them or not. It’s just how lead generation websites work (Truecar, KBB, Costco). They want to sell the customer’s information to as many buyers as possible.

Your customers are going to receive quotes- there is nothing you can do about it.

That said, if you use my messaging, you will bridge the gap. If you can perfect it, you will significantly increase your internet lead closing percentage.

Internet Car Sales: Requesting a Credit Application Template

Internet Car Sales: Requesting a Credit Application Template

When requesting a credit application for a customer, there are three main options. When sharing personal credit information customers are understandably nervous, and as such, I have found it best to provide options for them to use.

Here is the template I use when requesting a credit application:

SUBJECT: [Confidential] Credit Application at Audi Stevens Creek

 

Dear CUSTOMER,

 

In order to streamline your car purchase, it will be helpful to run your credit before you arrive. We are dedicated to securely collecting your information, and we have two ways that you can provide us the information.

 

Option One: If you click this link (insert hyperlink), you will be directed to our secure website for submitting applications. Simply fill out everything on that site and press submit. Please let us know if you need any guidance or have any questions by calling me directly at phone number.

 

Option Two: If you prefer to submit via email, simply fill out the information below in your reply to this email. Once I receive it, I will call you for the social security number:

 

LEGAL NAME:
BIRTHDAY:
PHONE NUMBER:
HOME ADDRESS:
YEARS AT HOME ADDRESS:
PREVIOUS ADDRESS:
YEARS AT PREVIOUS ADDRESS:
CURRENT JOB TITLE:
CURRENT MONTHLY INCOME BEFORE TAX:
CURRENT EMPLOYER:
YEARS AT CURRENT EMPLOYER:
PREVIOUS JOB TITLE:
PREVIOUS EMPLOYER:
YEARS AT PREVIOUS EMPLOYER:
HAVE YOU EVER DECLARED BANKRUPTCY?
HAVE YOU EVER HAD PROPERTY REPOSSESED?
DO YOU HAVE ANY LAWSUITS PENDING AGAINST YOU?
DO I HAVE YOUR PERMISSION TO RUN YOUR CREDIT?

 

Thanks for filling this out, I will speak to you soon.

 

Sincerely,

 

NAME
TITLE
PHONE

Here is an alternative I use with customers that I already know:

SUBJECT: [Confidential] The Fast Buy

 

Hi CUSTOMER!

 

I want to make this purchase as quick and painless as possible for you. I’ve developed a process that can make this quick and I will just need a bit of help from you before you come into the dealer. 

 

Simply fill out the information below in your reply to this email and attach your current drivers license and insurance card.

 

LEGAL NAME:
BIRTHDAY:
I’ll call you for the social security number!
PHONE NUMBER:
HOME ADDRESS:
YEARS AT HOME ADDRESS:
PREVIOUS ADDRESS:
YEARS AT PREVIOUS ADDRESS:
CURRENT JOB TITLE:
CURRENT MONTHLY INCOME BEFORE TAX:
CURRENT EMPLOYER:
YEARS AT CURRENT EMPLOYER:
PREVIOUS JOB TITLE:
PREVIOUS EMPLOYER:
YEARS AT PREVIOUS EMPLOYER:
HAVE YOU EVER DECLARED BANKRUPTCY?
HAVE YOU EVER HAD PROPERTY REPOSSESED?
DO YOU HAVE ANY LAWSUITS PENDING AGAINST YOU?
DO I HAVE YOUR PERMISSION TO RUN YOUR CREDIT?

 

Thanks for filling this out, I will speak to you soon.

 

Sincerely,

 

NAME
TITLE
PHONE

That’s it! Hope that helps.