If you want to grow as a successful BDC representative, you need to be asking yourself the right questions. Even the top representatives have room to improve, and this article’s questions should unlock your potential!
If you’ve already read The Automotive BDC Manifesto, you are well on your way to being a top representative at your store. Choosing to follow a path of self-improvement is critical in every career path. Never forget the fundamental tenet of my book: BDC representatives are salespeople, not receptionists!
There is no guarantee that your managers or your coworkers will go out of your way to help you set more appointments. It’s time to take things into your own hands.
After you read this article, consider reading about my optimal BDC workflow.
Four Questions to Ask Yourself
Self-questioning is an essential part of improving your performance at work. You need to be able to ask yourself the hard questions, and be honest in your answers!
Successful BDC Representative Question #1: Do I Know My Product?
Salespeople need to be excellent at building relationships, over-delivering on value, and knowing their product. If you are expecting to be a top representative, convincing your clients to come in for appointments, you need to make sure you understand what you are selling.
Every manufacturer provides training for the sales representatives that work with customers on the floor. The manufacturer creates video training and will keep it updated with the new product launches.
Do you follow that training? Do you have a log in so that you can learn the answers to the questions that your customers are going to have?
Think about it this way: you are the front line dealing with the customers. We know that customers actively shop around at multiple dealerships. Do you think that we are putting our best foot forward by not knowing the answers to their questions?
If you don’t want to spend a few minutes a day watching the training videos, consider just walking the showroom with a salesperson, asking for information. Tell the sales representatives on the showroom floor that you will be better at setting appointments for them that sell if you have all the product information!
Small Steps to Product Mastery
I quoted my mentor Frank Garcia in The Automotive BDC Manifesto:
“I think it’s just little tweaks you need to put into action if you want to be more polished. It
will take a decision to start and a dedication to follow through. Polish is not about some
grand action; it’s a collection of little steps—little steps that you care about.”
Take the small steps every day to perfect your product knowledge.
Not only will you be more successful with the customers, but you will also be setting creating personal value that will protect during market downturns.
Things you can do to learn about the product every day include:
- Asking the managers about new products that have arrived
- Sitting in all the showroom cars for a few minutes every week to try out new features
- Asking for a demo car for a day (perhaps from loaner fleet?) to drive and get the feel of
- Read online publications that discuss the product, such as Car and Driver or Road and Track
These are the little steps that will push you to the next level.
With the knowledge from these small steps, you will be prepared; the customer asks you questions such as:
- Does all the Audi Q5’s come with parking sensors?
- When does the new Allroad come out?
- Is there any difference in the new Audi Q7 compared to last year?
When you can answer these questions with confidence, you prove your dealership’s value to the customer. Every time you say, “Uh… let me check” you are losing rapport.
Successful BDC Representative Question #2: Do I Know My Salespeople?
When working the automotive BDC, you are a piece of a much larger machine. There is a funnel of customers that flows through your desk that ends up sitting with the salespeople. Both your customers and your salespeople have peculiarities.
The oddities of your customers will be made clear quickly as you work in the BDC. Although most of your customers will love getting updated on the status of their incoming cars, some will yell at you merely for calling. Some customers will only text, refusing to ever jump on the phone. There will be customers that never respond to a single follow-up touch, but then come in and buy on a random weekday afternoon with no warning.
Your customers are going to fall on a spectrum, from gentle to mean, from wealthy to not.
Your salespeople do too!
Learning about your Partners
Your salespeople that you assign appointments for when working in the automotive BDC are your partners. Never forget how much you all rely on each other! Think of the problems that arise when communication and relationships are lacking:
- Salespeople can forget to log appointments, costing BDC reps money
- BDC reps can forget salespeople’s days off, costing salespeople half deals
- Salespeople can not update the notes in the CRM, causing more work for the BDC
- BDC reps can forget to update salespeople on their customer’s plans, costing the salespeople some of their rapport
It’s a transparent back-and-forth.
So, put some Mariah Carey on and get to learn about each other! This is your responsibility if you want to be a successful BDC representative!
Here are some ways that you can get to know the sales staff better:
- Attend the weekly sales meetings
- Ask the salespeople what the BDC is doing well and what it could do better
- Ask the salespeople if there are any problems that they’ve noticed that they haven’t addressed
- Ask the sales manager to host team night for everyone to meet up outside of work
When the BDC and the sales floor work with each other, the result will be more successful appointments, better CRM usage, and more sales.
It’s worth it! Get to know your extended team!
Successful BDC Representative Question #3: What Percentage Do I Close?
Do you know the answer to this question:
What percentage of inbound leads do you set appointments for? What percentage of those appointments sell?
If you don’t know the answer to this question, then how will ever know if your performance improves?
Careful tracking of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) is the only way to track your relative performance at work.
Why do I say that?
Think about it this way. If you set 50 appointments every month for three months, and then you set 30 appointments in the fourth month, were you less effective in the fourth month? The fact is, unless we know the amount of opportunity you had in the fourth month compared to the previous months, we can’t identify your actual performance.
What if in the first three months you had 100 opportunities and in the fourth month you only had 60? In that case, your relative effectiveness went up in the fourth month, from 30% appointment setting to 50%!
Example KPI for Successful BDC Representatives
Here is a list of the fundamental Key Performance Indicators that I recommend you track as a BDC representative:
- The ratio of Appointments Set (Appointments Set divided by Number of Leads)
- The ratio of Appointments Shown (Appointments Shown Divided by Number of Appointments Set)
- The ratio of Appointments Sold (Appointments Sold divided by Number of Appointments)
- Sales Person Effectiveness Ratio (Appointments Sold divided by Appointments Shown)
With these four metrics, you can have a gauge of your relative effectiveness. If you wish to improve, track these four ratios!
In The Automotive BDC Manifesto, Anthony Rinaldi shared with us (in his bonus chapter) his ratios of success that he looks for:
Outbound: For every 80 outbound phone calls, expect 20 conversations, which leads to 10
appointments, of which 5 will show, and 2 will buy.
Inbound: For every 100 inbound phone calls, expect 50 appointments, 25 shows, and 12 sales.
If your numbers are vastly different from these ratios, shoot me an email, and we can delve into what is going on!
Successful BDC Representative Question #3: Do I Know My Market?
In How to Sell Cars on the Internet, I delve into the importance of market research:
When you are selling cars on the internet, you need to know your market.
Your market is defined by the group of surrounding dealerships. In a thriving market, there will be plenty of
sellers and plenty of buyers. Dealers can differentiate themselves in three arenas: pricing,
customer service, and inventory.
Pricing includes the price you sell your cars for and the financing you offer. The pricing
you should provide (to be competitive) will be investigated in this chapter.
Customer service is a broader category, including timeliness, transparency, unique perks
(such as free servicing or details), pick up/drop off services, and general demeanor when
working with the customer.
Inventory, the final differentiator, is about volume. When a customer goes on your
website or visits your dealer, they want to have options on colors and features. The more cars
you have, the more options they have.
I know a significant number of BDC reps are asking themselves the same question right now:
“Wait… isn’t this the responsibility of my managers?”
If you think that market research “isn’t your job,” you are technically correct. That said, technically, most representatives never move up to manage an entire BDC. Most representatives act like Ziggy instead of Zag.
Your desire to succeed can be held back by your belief in the limitations of your role at the dealership. If you are willing to take on additional challenges, such as market research, you will stand out and make a name for yourself.
This article should be one step in your path to becoming a top tier automotive BDC representative. If you have questions, shoot me a message here. If you want to join the community, check out our Facebook group, Ethical Internet Managers, Sales Managers, and BDC.