Article

Training and Testing Your BDC

September 2009, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Glynn Rodean - Also by this author

BDR Dos and Don'ts

  There are plenty of dos and don’ts when working in a business development center. How often do you train and test your business development representatives (BDRs) to ensure they know the dos and don’ts and are performing to the best of their ability?

Of course, BDRs need to take comprehensive assessment exams over the first few months to see if their initial training is truly ingrained. Ongoing training and testing, which can be in a group or one-on-one setting, should be done at least monthly, if not weekly, and can focus on individual performance and specific topics.

A one-on-one setting is the opportune time to review BDR productivity. Discuss BDRs’ individual goals, whether they hit them, and why they did or didn’t hit them. Then, discuss what they need to focus on improving, what their goals are for the coming month, how they’re going to achieve them, and how you, the manager, can help them achieve their goals.

When it comes to testing your BDRs’ knowledge, change up the testing a little bit from time to time. You don’t want to do the same monotonous testing or training all the time. I’m a fan of pop quizzes, and one of the best ways I’ve found to test BDRs is to include essay questions.

Have BDRs write down what it means to do their job, everything their job entails and the knowledge required to properly do their job. Pose this scenario: “You are to be promoted tomorrow and have to write something to train your replacement. Don’t leave anything out.” You can read it and know whether they’re on the ball or missing some stuff.

A good group training exercise is playing recorded calls and asking BDRs for feedback. Consider holding a “Call of the Week” contest. Whenever BDRs feel they’ve nailed a call, they can put it up for consideration as the Call of the Week. Offer some kind of reward (plaques, certificates, bonuses, etc.) for the winner, and replay the calls in the training. You also can replay mystery shop calls and ask the group what they think the pros and cons of the calls were, but remember, group training is neither the time nor place for negativity or reprimands. 

Having trouble coming up with a weekly training topic? Here is a list of BDR Dos and Don’ts that are good topics to train and test on:

BDR Dos

1. Maintain consistent contact, follow up and referral flow.

2. Plan and prioritize your daily work or marketing plan.

3. Keep up to date with company developments, sales, promotions and contests.

4. Keep copies of all current advertising and retain the last four weeks of advertisements.

5. Develop your communication and selling skills, especially your questioning and listening techniques.

6. Understand the word “representative” and apply etiquette on the telephone. 

7. Track every lead, call and appointment to the conclusion of the buying cycle.

8. Watch your own body language in a mirror at your workstation to ensure a smile and proper tone.

9. Adjust your tone to match the volume and speed of the customer’s tone. (Commonality = Rapport)

10. Validate every customer’s timing, choice or thought process.

11. Always T.O. any ineffective or challenging calls.

12. Always mention “checking the appointment calendar” before setting the appointment.

BDR Don’ts

1. Avoid leaving generic “great news” voicemails like everyone else; leave curiosity-based voicemails.

2. Don’t call without checking for Do Not Call or Do Not Reappoint status.

3. Don’t assume that an appointment didn’t show because there is no record of them showing. Call them and if shown, notate it and create a “concern ticket.”

4. Never negotiate deals with customers. Targeting budget ranges and choices are better; if a price is required, T.O. to a manager.

5. Do not knowingly misinform customers for any reason.

6. Steer clear of using offensive language; if engaged in an offensive conversation, T.O. the call.

7. Don’t offer concessions, prizes or vouchers unless directed or part of a marketing campaign.

8. Never ask open-ended questions; instead, ask assumptive questions.

9. If a customer is talking about vehicles, avoid using the terms “on the lot,” “in stock” or “in inventory.” Refer to “availability” instead.

10. Don’t use the word “approved.” (All applications can be “accepted.”)

11. Never change the name on the account or appointment without managerial approval.

12. Don’t ever remove an appointment from the appointment log or a customer from the database.

Attitude is everything! Make a point to differentiate yourself, your store or your group, and please understand that although customers may forget what we said, they will never forget how we made them feel. People will commit to an appointment for one of two reasons: 1) to say what they think needs to be said to get off the phone, or 2) because we have effectively instilled a feeling of trust, excitement, urgency or hope.

Vol. 6 Issue 8

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