Article

Business Development Basics

March 2007, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Sean V. Bradley - Also by this author

BDC… How many times have we heard that acronym this year? BDC, CDC, CDR, FBI, DEA… too many acronyms. I want to discuss this phenomenon. It seems everywhere I go I hear BDC, BDC, BDC. 

What exactly is a BDC? Well, BDC stands for Business Development Center, but it means something different to almost everyone that uses it. To some it means an Internet department, to others a phone room and to some, showroom follow-up. For me, it is very simple.

BDC:  It is a department or an initiative that is going to develop business. Any and all types of business – phone sales, Internet sales, owner retention, lease retention, data mining, service conversions, unsold showroom traffic, CSI, cross promotional marketing or special finance, but, it’s more than just the modules. It’s a philosophy; it’s a culture.  
 

Stephen R. Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” lays out the guidelines.  He said, if you want to be successful, you need to be proactive. To relate this to the car business, you can’t just wait for “ups” to come on your lot. You need to make things happen. This is especially true if you are a small dealership or a tier two or three product line. You can’t just accept that the market is slow, that you don’t have a big marketing budget, or that the dealer down the block is a MEGA store and gives cars away. The beauty of a real BDC is that it gives you a 100 percent opportunity to dictate your success – or lack there of. A BDC can dramatically enhance the success of a dealership. A BDC can offer incremental increases in sales from 20 to 55 percent (or more) if properly mapped out and implemented.

The problem with BDC is that there are many technology companies that sell dealerships on the illusions of BDC. They sell dealers on the idea of a BDC, and they sell dealers on the theory.  But, when it comes down to it, more than 60 percent of so-called BDCs that are installed are either dismantled by the owner or they implode because there was NEVER a solid plan of action or implementation process. Another cause of destruction might be that the ones that were properly mapped out did not have sufficient support to make sure that they sustained their goals and evolution.

What happens when a dealership’s BDC falls apart? Lost opportunity, lost credibility and lost revenue. The main reason for failure of all of these so-called BDCs is that they try to do EVERYTHING at once. From being in the BDC and Internet sales game for over eight years now, Internet sales alone – done right – is a major project itself, with all of the products, people, processes and promotions. I can’t fathom why dealers would even attempt installing a new Internet department at the same time they build a phone room, owner retention, customer service (CSI), showroom control and whatever other modules they throw in the mix at the same time.

The only way I would entertain that thought was if I had a very strong team with enough human resources to assist in the initiative and a rock solid project implementation plan with very specific details of what to do and when to do it. Then, I would still need to make sure I have a solid support system in place from a training and consulting company that has experience in this sort of thing to make sure all goes well.

Sun Tzu says, ”The key to winning is knowing when to fight.” The business translation is the key to being successful is knowing when to engage.

If you can create the optimum scenario, you will see optimum results in return. Stack the cards in your favor, not against you. In the coming months I will break down multiple modules of a “BDC” and how to implement each.  Next month we will examine owner retention and data mining.

Vol 4, Issue 1

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