How To Create Success Through Your Dealership's BDC Team

September 11, 2018

Tips for Coaching and Managing your BDC Team

Customers need to feel confident that all their questions will be answered when they contact your dealership, and your BDC team is the key to that confidence. When managing and coaching  your dealership’s BDC team, there are some things you can do to help set your team up for success. In this video, Mike Cavanaugh, Head of Strategic Partnerships at MAX Digital shares how to successfully coach, develop, and manage your BDC team. The adapted transcript is below.

Performance Management and Coaching for BDC Directors

When you're managing and coaching people in a BDC there are a couple of things you want to keep in mind. First and foremost, you need to get to know your employees as people, not just employees. They need to really have a good relationship with you and understand that when you give feedback it’s coming from a good place and that your success and their success align. This lets them know that whenever you're giving them feedback it's looked at as something positive and constructive and not as critical. You want to make sure they know you're measuring and rewarding things that are within their control.

Creating and Maintaining Meaningful Relationships with Your Employees

For example, you don’t want to just measure sales. When it comes to how many cars are sold that is often out of the control of the folks that are in the BDC. You want to measure and reward things like how many calls are made, what the call quality looks like, the volume and quality of texts and emails, and what the response time is for leads that are coming in. And really, you want to make sure that you're not just a manager or a coach that is only looking at reports and sending emails. There needs to be real, genuine human interaction with people. And the only way that that feedback can be genuine is if you're spending enough time with that person, shadowing that person, doing side-by-sides with them, and getting to know them. And there are some soft things that are important as well to build that relationship. Make sure that you're going to lunch with your people and you're getting to know them as people, as human beings.

You need to know what's going on in their life. And sometimes you're better off letting somebody go home early for the day if they’ve got a lot of personal things going on in their life like if there's an issue with their kids, somebody's sick, things like that. Because a distracted employee in a BDC is very ineffective. And we spend a lot of dollars - we spend hundreds of dollars every month trying to generate traffic and get people to send us a lead to generate a phone call and you don’t want that handled improperly. You really only get one chance at that a lot of time, so you need to make sure that you understand what's really going on with somebody in their life.

Another important aspect of really properly coaching and managing folks and a BDC is that you need to make sure they are true product experts on what vehicles you have in stock. And that's really difficult when you're selling new and used vehicles. They need to understand the features, the options, and the packages on a certain vehicle. They need to understand how that has value in the market and you need them to be able to have answer those questions themselves and not have to defer to somebody else like a manager or somebody in sales. You want to give the customer confidence when they call into the BDC that they can get all of their questions answered by somebody that really understands what they’re looking for. And you do that by providing your employees with good tools. A lot of times the information they need just isn't available on the website. When it comes to VDP there's a lot of great tools out there that can help understand what crash test rating is, what fuel economy is, was that a top pick for Edmunds or was that the car of the year? They really need to provide that consumer with the data. They also need to know the other vehicles that are in the market as well and how they may be priced because the consumer is already looking at those things as well.

Finally, your team doesn’t only need to be product experts, but they need to be process experts, they need to understand what the entire process looks like after they set that appointment with the salesperson so they can make that customer really feel comfortable with how long the process is going to take and what it's going to look like when they arrive at the dealership. You can't really accomplish that unless that BDC rep spends time on the sales floor with your sales team. So make sure you're allocating enough time for some cross-training so they understand what happens after their job is essentially done and that appointment is set.

If you can make this level of commitment to developing, coaching and managing your BDC team you're sure to set them up for success.

Mike Cavanaugh grew up working with his father at a dealership in Detroit, MI. He joined the United States Marine Corps, serving two tours in Iraq. When Mike returned to the automotive industry, he worked his way up from selling cars to managing dealerships in Metro Detroit. He spent 8 years working at one of the largest auto finance companies in the United States and served as the Chief Operating Officer of a 28-store dealership group with operations in nine states. Currently, Mike serves as the Executive Vice President at MAX Digital, providing inventory management, merchandising, and digital retail solutions to dealerships on a national scale.