What Is a BDC?

June 3, 2024

A phone headset next to a computer

Dealerships are always looking for new ways to attract customers and deliver excellent customer service. While dealership websites and social media platforms are invaluable, don’t overlook the power of good, old-fashioned phone calls.

Many modern car shoppers still want to talk to dealership representatives on the phone. You need a system to handle those calls in a way that satisfies customers and leads to more business for your dealership. That’s where a business development center (BDC) comes into play. 

What is a BDC in car sales, and how can it help your dealership? Let’s break it down.  

What Is a BDC in Automotive Sales?

A business development center is a customer service team dedicated to inbound and outbound calls. Businesses across industries use BDCs to aid their sales and customer service efforts, but they’re instrumental in the automotive industry¹. 

Automotive BDCs handle calls from potential customers wanting to learn more about the vehicles for sale on your lot. They answer customers’ questions about vehicle service and repairs and reach out to prospects directly to push them to the next step in the sales funnel. 

Why create a separate department to handle these calls? Your existing sales and customer service reps are often busy with other essential tasks in the dealership. It’s easy for calls to fall through the cracks. A dedicated BDC team ensures that you’re not missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with customers and nurture leads². 

Is a BDC the Right Choice for Your Dealership?

Some dealerships may not need a BDC, but many would benefit from having one. Ask yourself the following questions to decide whether a BDC could be advantageous for your dealership:

  • How high is your current inbound call volume? 
  • Do your sales and customer service representatives miss calls? How many?
  • Are you consistently reaching out to potential customers to create new leads?
  • Are your outreach calls successfully leading to appointments and sales?
  • Are you and your customers happy with your phone-based customer service?

If your inbound or outbound calls are not delivering the desired results, a BDC could benefit your dealership. 

Consider how you currently handle other sources of leads. Currently, 65% of car buyers do some or all of their car shopping online and feel that the ease of the online car buying journey influences their purchasing decisions³. If you have online shopping resources, like web forms and appointment portals, who is following up with the customers who complete them? Dedicated BDC representatives could take over that responsibility. 

Pros and Cons of Using a BDC

These are the advantages of using a BDC at your dealership:

  • Provide excellent customer service over the phone. 
  • Create more opportunities for appointments and vehicle sales.
  • Free up your sales and customer service representatives to focus on other tasks, including in-person service.
  • Take advantage of the expertise of BDC representatives to provide the answers customers and potential customers need.
  • Choose between an internal and external BDC, depending on your preferences.

There are also some potential drawbacks to implementing a BDC:

  • Setting up and running a BDC is an additional expense for dealerships.
  • Poorly run BDCs will not offer strong results.
  • Finding skilled BDC representatives can be challenging.
  • BDC representative turnover is also a concern.

Even with these potential drawbacks, using a BDC is often very useful for dealerships. A BDC at your dealership will help you generate more interest, schedule more appointments, and close more sales. In such a competitive industry, a BDC could be the X-factor that helps ensure customers choose your dealership over your competitors. 

External vs. In-House BDCs

If you decide a BDC is the right choice for your dealership, you still need to choose between an in-house and an external department. 

An in-house BDC gives you more control. The BDC representatives will be more familiar with your dealership and will likely fit in better with your company culture. They will also have direct access to your CRM and other car sales tools, which will allow for personalized interactions with customers for better results. 

By contrast, an external BDC offers more flexibility and scalability⁴. If your needs change, you can quickly scale an external BDC solution up or down. External BDCs are also cheaper than in-house ones, but you lose some of the process control. 

The Role of a BDC Representative

Most car buyers indicate that they would visit dealerships more often if the buying process was better⁵. High-quality BDC representatives make the buying process smoother for customers, leading to more appointments and sales for your dealership.

A BDC representative is responsible for handling inbound and outbound calls from the dealership’s customers and prospects. More specifically, their job description may include tasks like:

  • Encouraging customers to book appointments and scheduling those appointments
  • Reaching out to customers who contact the dealership by email, chat, or web form
  • Developing and maintaining a deep knowledge of the dealership’s product and service offerings
  • Answering questions from customers about the dealership’s inventory or available services 
  • Letting customers know about relevant promotions

BDC dealership representatives are often the first point of contact between a consumer and the dealership. They need to deliver excellent customer service to keep customers loyal to the dealership and moving along the sales funnel⁶. 

Equip Your Dealership for Success

A business development center is a great tool to help your dealership generate more leads and close more sales. Implement a BDC alongside other sales and service tools for the best results. 

For example, improving your web presence will create more interest in your inventory, prompting an uptick in customers reaching out to you. ACV MAX has a comprehensive dealership merchandising tool that will help you upgrade your vehicle listings. Schedule a demo to see how this software can help your dealership.  



  1. All you need to know about Car Dealership Business Development Centers (BDC). VaVende. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from
  2. Mitchell, S. (6 Nov. 2020). How dealers can improve their BDC processes. CBT News. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from
  3. How to Improve Your Dealership’s BDC Experience. Automotive Mastermind. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from
  4. The Pros and Cons of an External BDC for Auto Dealerships. CDK Global. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from
  5. 90% of Car Shoppers Prefer a Dealership Where They Can Start the Buying Process Online. Porch Group Media. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from
  6. 6 Key Ingredients to Build a Successful Car Dealership BDC. Volie. Retrieved May 21, 2024, from