Article

Squeeze The Most Out Of Every Incoming Call

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Tom Azbill - Also by this author

Automotive retailers everywhere are investing big bucks in computers, office furniture, software and staffs to open a BDC. Making the phone ring at a car dealership is expensive, and squeezing the most out of every incoming sales call has become a big priority for many dealerships. There’s no doubt that the right strategy is critical to getting a BDC up and running, but once the people are hired and the phones start ringing, success hinges not only the right players but the right set of plays.

Here are a few BDC do’s and don’ts that will help get the most out of those expensive phone calls:
  • Do’s:

    Daily reports: A dealership can’t let a month or week go by if one or more members of the BDC are struggling to set appointments. The only way to identify and correct a problem is for management to look at daily reports and log into the BDC lead management system as often as possible. Phone calls today are too valuable to let any slip through the cracks.
  • Phone monitoring: Finding the right phone specialists will take time, and training them will cost money. Once they’re in place, they’ll need every chance to succeed. By investing in a system that will record incoming phone calls, management will be able to work with the team to build skills and avoid common mistakes. Most call monitoring software is also utilized to measure the effectiveness of advertising sources so dealerships can best direct their ad dollars.
  • Call coaching sheets: Critiquing sales consultants can get personal, especially when a manager and a sales consultant fail to see eye to eye on how a call could have been best handled. A phone check sheet that measures the key steps to turning a phone call into an appointment can take the bite out of critiquing calls. To keep it objective, the phone consultant and manager can score calls together and compare notes. After scoring, the consultant and manager can discuss the score and how best to improve the results of the call.
  • Prepare for success: Keep in mind that phone specialists are very much in the business of selling. They may not sell metal, but they do have to convince a caller to invest their time in a trip to the dealership. Scoreboards, selling contests and bonus plans work for a showroom team and often have the same motivational effect with the phone team, so use them.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t complicate the phone scripts: If BDC team members are struggling, a dealership might want to throw out their phone script and focus on keeping it simple. Nearly nine out of 10 incoming callers will ask about inventory availability, price, trade or incentives. Make it simple for new BDC team members to succeed by training them to turn those four inquiries into appointments.
  • Don’t hide information: Many dealerships are still clinging to the belief that keeping information from a phone consultant and a customer will force the customer to come to the dealership. If this is you, take 15 minutes to make a list of dealers in your market. Think like a customer, and call those stores. How many price quotes did you get? What are the chances a customer will cross you off their shopping list if they can’t get pricing over the phone? Don’t let information become a barrier between the phone consultant and the customer. Phone specialists need to have important information at their finger tips, and they need training to build skill and confidence in their ability to turn a request for information into an opportunity to set an appointment.
  • Don’t separate your phone room from your showroom: The two teams have a common goal: To sell more cars, profitably. The managers of both teams need to share as much information as possible and plan for every appointment before the client arrives. If the showroom team isn’t prepared for the customer, they could not only frustrate the customer; they might also lose an opportunity to make a profitable sale.
  • Don’t give up: When a dealership rearranges the way they manage a big part of their business and attempts to change the culture of their store, there may be a few bumps in the road. A new team and a new way of doing business will take time and persistence, but the payoff is worth the struggle.

Once a dealership decides to flip the switch on a BDC, there are plenty of strategic decisions to be made. The right strategy is necessary for a BDC get off the ground quickly, but without the right tactics, it might not stay afloat. If you’d like to learn more about minding the BDC Do’s and Don’t’s, feel free to contact me for best practices for building a plan to sell more cars and trucks.

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