What Your Dealership’s BDC Needs to Be Doing Differently

March 27, 2020 John Kehm

Well before March, Americans were already shopping for new cars online, and the current environment means that trend is going to skyrocket faster than anyone could have predicted. With in-person car shopping largely being eliminated until the current crisis ends, the heavy lifting of engaging with prospects and eventually getting them in the door (or whatever that might look like in the near term) is going to be handled by your dealership’s Business Development Center (BDC) team.

Now is the perfect opportunity to revisit your BDC and consider whether you have the right tools, BDC training and compensation structure in place to maximize its effectiveness.

We’ve discussed how to increase dealership BDC effectiveness before, but there’s still a lot dealerships can do to improve this increasingly critical component of their sales process. Read on to learn some dealership best practices, including:

  • Giving your BDC the tools and insights it needs to play the critical role of connecting online car shoppers to your showroom floor
  • Ensuring your BDC training is helping your agents be effective in turning shoppers into appointments
  • Structuring BDC and salesperson compensation to incentivize behavior that maximizes sales

Arming Your BDC With the Right Tools

How much does your BDC agent know about the shopper with whom they’re engaging? Do they have the insights they need to differentiate a quality sales lead from a weak one, or to be truly helpful by suggesting a more appropriate product or offer?

This is where the data-driven insights of a comprehensive sales platform such as Market EyeQ, including the Behavior Prediction Score®, come into play. With insights like household and vehicle ownership information for online shoppers in front of them, BDC agents can be more effective than ever in customizing touchpoints and BDC sales scripts to effectively engage prospects and move them toward scheduling an appointment.

However, it’s important to differentiate between “data” and “insights.” It’s not enough to only make sure your BDC agents have information about your prospects. You also need to support them with analytics-driven insights that help them make the most of the information that matters, allowing them to “get ahead” of today’s digitally savvy customers.

Train Your BDC to Deliver

Automotive BDC training involves more than simply running them through a few BDC training scripts and roleplaying some common customer interactions. More than anything, your dealership’s BDC training needs to be focused on making them as effective as possible in delivering scheduled appointments.

It’s critical that your BDC agents understand how predictive analytics work, and how personalized marketing engages prospects with the goal of connecting them to your dealership’s online resources – and eventually getting them into the store (or for now, a virtual appointment). Mastermind offers dealership training that prepares BDC agents to play a seamless and effective role in the dealership customer experience, using all the tools at their disposal to deliver prospects to the showroom floor.

Your BDC is a critical touchpoint for your overall customer experience. Even in a time when many BDC agents may be working from home or otherwise isolated from their colleagues, make sure you’re investing personal effort in engaging them to help you build a dealership culture around customer experience. 

Salespeople are the top driver of customer satisfaction in the dealership experience – more than length of the process and price paid, combined – and the more the automotive sales process moves online, the more your BDC agents will be fulfilling that role in the eyes of your customers.

BDC Pay Plan and Incentives

Does the compensation structure for your BDC create the right incentives for your team to get high-quality prospects through the showroom door, and how does that interact with your sales team’s compensation structure to encourage them all to work together effectively?

One approach we see frequently at dealerships that have effective and profitable BDCs is differentiating between BDC-scheduled appointments that have a specific time and date attached and every other appointment. 

From here, dealers are challenged with determining how to allocate floor sales commissions on BDC sales on scheduled appointments. One way to determine what an appropriate factor would be in your dealership is to look at what your existing closure rate is for in-person sales appointments of all kinds. If your salespeople are already closing appointments at 50% or more, then half the work of the sales process is clearly connecting with the prospect. The BDC agent who did their share of that heavy lifting should be compensated accordingly.

While this might make some floor salespeople unhappy, there’s another reason to take this step: It incentivizes them to pick up the phone themselves and take a more aggressive role in the sales process. If your salespeople are getting paid more for closing their own prospect sales than they are for closing BDC-scheduled appointments, they’ll naturally put more effort into developing prospects and maintaining relationships versus sitting at their desks waiting for the next appointment to show. 


When you combine this sort of incentivized approach with the powerful prospect identification capabilities of Market EyeQ, the result is dramatically improved sales volume.

Is your dealership interested in maximizing your BDC’s effectiveness as auto shopping moves online faster than anyone ever expected? Contact us for a free remote demonstration today.

Explore additional resources related to dealership sales during COVID-19. 

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