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How to Maximize Dealership BDC Profitability

As evolving consumer demands and changing buying models challenge the automotive industry, some progressive dealers are discovering new, exciting opportunities by transforming their business development centers (BDCs).

No longer are BDCs simply a dealership’s notetakers, sitting in the back room cold calling customers with the same script. The modern BDC is a conduit to the dealership’s showroom floor, as well as our dealership’s director of first impressions with customers.

While customers are increasingly shopping online – 65% of U.S. vehicle buyers reported shopping online or partially online according to S&P Global Mobility's latest Vehicle Buyer Journey Study – the physical dealership is still where a majority of customers make their purchase.

In a 2024 industry survey, 86% of U.S. consumers said they still want to test-drive a car before buying it, and 74% want to negotiate in-person to get the best deal.

The BDC is critical to bridging the gap between the online and in-person dealership experience, providing customers with a seamless omnichannel journey. This unique perspective enables the dealership BDC to support multiple departments and help maximize dealership profitability by: 

●       Proactively identifying conquest opportunities

●       Supporting the service department

●       Supporting ongoing customer retention efforts

Proactively Identifying Conquest Opportunities

As dealers look for new opportunities to increase their market share, many are turning to their BDC to proactively identify and engage prospective customers. A well-connected BDC can fuel a dealership’s conquest strategy by enabling dealers to engage prospective customers before they even start shopping around.

When equipped with the right tools and insights, a dealership’s BDC can help streamline conquest efforts by proactively identifying, prioritizing and engaging prospective buyers with the highest likelihood of conversion. Predictive marketing technology enables BDCs to identify conquest opportunities by analyzing online behaviors and previous purchasing patterns to pinpoint prospective leads.

By leveraging data from their dealership’s DMS, CRM, CDP and sales platforms, as well as third-party insights, predictive analytics calculate which customers are likely to be returning to market. This enables BDCs to prioritize and tailor their efforts, reducing waste and maximizing gross profit margins.

Download the Whitepaper:
Crack the Code: Dealership Sales Opportunity Cheat Sheet >

Connecting Service and Sales Through the BDC

As the service drive grows more and more valuable, dealers are increasingly looking to their BDC to support their service department. The BDC can also serve an important role in breaking down the barrier between service and sales and fueling an efficient service-to-sales process

As many dealers are looking to “do more with less,” some have tasked their BDC to 

serve as service-to-sales liaisons, tasking the team to mine upcoming service appointments for sales prospects, such as those out of warranty or over their lease mileage to present tailored offers.

But a BDC’s strategy for getting customers into the service department needs to be different from their approach for setting up sales appointments, of course. Not every service customer represents a potential sales opportunity.

To maintain CSI scores, it's important that the BDC takes a data-driven approach to identifying and engaging prospective service customers, focusing their efforts on the customers with the greatest likelihood of purchasing. BDCs should always be contacting prospects with a prepared upgrade offer in-hand, accounting for the customer’s trade-in value, any OEM incentives and more.

Download the Whitepaper:
The Do’s and Don’ts of Service-to-Sales Phone Calls >

Using the BDC to Promote Customer Retention

To proactively prevent defection and protect their customer base, dealers need to consistently engage their loyalty audience – a job perfectly suited for the BDC.

By maintaining regular, personalized communication with existing customers, the BDC can nurture relationships and build loyalty, ensuring their dealership remains top-of-mind when customers return to market. This includes following up on recent purchases, reminding customers of upcoming service appointments and providing exclusive offers or incentives tailored to their needs.

Every communication and touchpoint should build off the last, meeting customers where they are in their ownership journey and keeping them engaged through the years. Predictive marketing technology enables BDCs to automatically engage loyalty customers who may be at risk of defection. By proactively engaging customers with personalized communications, BDCs can help foster long-term loyalty and fuel future sales.

As the automotive industry continues to change, a well-equipped and strategically focused BDC will be a key driver of success for forward-thinking dealers.

No longer just a call center, the dealership BDC now plays a vital role in connecting online interactions to in-person experiences and providing a seamless customer journey. With predictive marketing technology, BDCs can anticipate customer needs and address potential issues before they escalate, creating a more proactive and personalized approach.

By proactively identifying potential buyers, supporting the service department and maintaining strong customer relationships, the BDC helps maximize dealership profitability, boosting sales and service opportunities while fostering long-term loyalty and customer satisfaction.

Want to learn how Mastermind can help your BDC maximize profitability and convert more customers? Request a demo.