BDC Training: “What’s Your Best Price?”
For more information, contact Ted Ings, Executive Director and Customer Experience Expert, CX
One of the common themes in our industry is to throw the new hire to the wolves.
Also known as the "sink or swim" mentality, which can have damaging effects not just on the employee, but the employer.
As retaining any employee - under that style of management - can (and in many cases) will create a hostile environment that decreases both performance and productivity.
Given that dealers invest thousands of dollars in the BDC it is best practice to have training. Not just for the BDC agents, either. It is just as important that the GM (and sales managers) have the same training, so they know what to expect.
Here are 5 keys to consider when training:
The CRM is the foundation on which the BDC builds the department from. It houses the customer information, correspondence, results, and so much more! If the BDC Agent is not familiar with the system that they are to use on a daily basis, their performance will reflect that.
And while many CRM providers offer online training - even having the account managers come into the store - that does not mean that the managers should not sit down and review it with BDC Agent.
This comes to a head mainly when each BDC agent uses the CRM differently. Wherein, BDC Agent “A” does not complete their assigned task in the CRM. But still makes the phone call. So when the BDC manager reviews the “Work Flow Completion Report” it looks like the BDC Agent has not completed their work. Making it that much more difficult to manage new/hot opportunities.
And sure, the BDC Manager should be looking at all of the leads. But when you are getting several leads per day, in addition to handling other tasks, it becomes very daunting to be that involved in the day-to-day.
2. Telephone Skills Training
The inbound phone call is one of the very first impressions the customer has of the dealership.
Answering the phone correctly is crucial. Yet so many dealers do not provide the right training to their BDC Agents. Simply telling them “there are the phones,” and essentially forgoing multiple business opportunities.
There are those that offer that scripts are the best thing since sliced bread. And while scripts can offer a means of understanding “questions” to ask (needs analysis) there still needs to be training on how to approach the question. Instead of saying “don’t solicit information give them as little as possible so they come in” offer “answering their question is very important. However, there is a way to approach answering their question. Whereas they give you the information you use that by answering a question with a follow-up question.” All of which can help solidify the appointment.
3. Customer Objections: The Famous “Best Price” Inquiry & How to Train the BDC Agent
Each dealership has their own method of handling pricing.
In fact, even some of the OEM’s have their own customer-facing pricing strategies with the goal in mind that it will yield better front-end grosses.
This can all go south, however, when the dealer says “Don’t just give them the sales price,” even though it is published online for that, which is why the customer inquired on it in the first place!
Now, instead of focusing the entire conversation around “price,” it is the BDC Agents job to ensure that the make and model they inquired on is the only one they are considering. As this can offer flexibility for the sales consultant to sell them another make and model. Or the same model, but one that can save them money (aged unit), which shows the customer value as we are their advocate.
At the end of the day, it is best practice to ensure that the entire BDC team is on the same page with the pricing. Clearing this up will save mass confusion and potential sales. But more importantly, as the customer is inquiring about the “price,” it is critical to answering their questions while completing a needs analysis. As they might be comparing that vehicle to another unit which are at different price points. So if we are not comparing Apples to Apples and give them the sale price without asking the right questions we are setting ourselves up to fail.
4. OEM Training
It is essential that the BDC Agents are aware of the current technology in the vehicles.
Especially in today's market where the customer is hyper-aware of the safety enhancements, which can - in some instances - motivate the potential buyer to make their purchase. Back in 2012 one of the most common questions asked by a prospective customer was “does it have Bluetooth,” and does it have “navigation.” And if you did not know or fumbled around on the phones you could have lost credibility, and the chance to have earned the sale.
That said, take some time and make sure the BDC Agents are at the very least familiar with the core vehicles for the OEM.
5. How to Respond to the Customer
There has been a lot of conversation as of the last few years that has offered that email marketing is a bygone era, which is simply not the case.
However, what is very relevant - and worth noting - is that sending out irrelevant content in mass quantities will undoubtedly yield miserable results.
The fact of the matter is that many customers - who have caught on - have started to not include their most prized possession - their cell phone number in the lead form fill. Usually just offering an email that they use for junk mail. That said, as the BDC Agent - the one handling the first correspondence - you have to give the customer a reason to not just reply, BUT give you their cell phone number as your main goal is to create a sense of “FOMO” (fear of missing out).
Part of offering “FOMO” is the language you use in the email. Keeping in mind, that in many cases, the customer is finding your vehicle on third-party sit where they are not aware of which dealership they are emailing. And even if they did know (at the time of submitting) which dealership it was they are likely to forget as they have submitted multiple inquiries.
Here is a poor example of an email, and precisely why BDC Agents need training (or re-training) in handling emails:
Inquiry: “Is this unit available? What is the out the door price? Does this have the sunroof?
Subject Line: Hello
Thanks for inquirn on vehicle. You available now for test drive? We look forward to weoking with yiu
Notice the spelling errors (which is far more common than you’d think) and the fact that despite the customer asking specific questions they were completely ignored in the email response! The other thing to take into account is that in many CRM - unless you take the time to “view” the lead (HTML format) - you can easily miss any customer comments, as the text on the top of the lead is usually just sourcing information.
Here’s an example of one of the best ways to not only get their number and also get the appointment:
Subject Line: ATTN: (name), Do Not Miss the ONE!
Thank you for inquiring on the vehicle here with us at (dealer). We are partnered with “XYZ Leads.” Great news, we do have the vehicle available, and it also does have the sunroof (insert photo)!
Here are some other options that may be of interest!
Insert Vehicle Link One
Insert Vehicle Link Two
Insert Vehicle Link Three
What is the best number to reach you on to review this vehicle? We have had multiple inquiries on it, and I do not want you to miss out on this one! We are located at (insert location)
In the meantime, check out what our customers are saying about us!
The entire tone was different. And there were core elements that make a great email:
The intro should create (as discussed above) FOMO giving the customer a reason to call you back. Also, thank them for their interest in the vehicle that they inquired on ensuring to mention the dealer or third party they inquired on.
Body of the response:
After asking for the appointment and answering their questions on the vehicle you want to make sure to include up to three options. In order to select the other options to include it is best practice to look at the VDP (and see what other customers looked at much like Amazon does) giving the customer an additional option that they have most likely already looked at!
Guide the customer to the next expected step. Whereas you have answered their questions you are now wanting to secure the appointment and get the customer into the store by asking for their prized possession. Another avenue to take in getting their phone number is to also offer to send them additional photos or videos! I know it seems daunting or overly complicated (and in many instances, it can be), BUT for pre-owned units especially it is essential to show off the vehicle as best as possible.
Making the simple tweaks as discussed above can add a huge increase in not just the open rate, but also the response rate!
Not all leads are created equal. And most every BDC Agent and BDC Manager will tell you that. And while in many cases they are true. Not all of them have the wherewithal to differentiate the leads in so far as detecting key buying language that offers that the customer is in the market. And no, this is not referring to the auto pre-packed “selections” that less than 1% or so select when submitting a lead. But rather the way they ask questions about the vehicle.
Reading the Lead
Sending emails - typing like crazy - sounds all well and good as the goal is to of course have a great response time. But it is not just about having an excellent response time. As anyone can type a million word email that does not answer the customers questions or best of all ask for the appointment!
That said, it is best to make sure we take the time to read the customer inquiry making sure we take the time to answer their questions, ask for the appointment, offer value statements, and get the sale! As the email is the first impression on the customer!
Bottom Line: Training as you know is not limited to the above, YET there are core elements that can increase performance as it affects not just one situation but the overall success rate of the store.
And the better equipped the BDC agent is in answering the lead - the better results they will get.
Where in so many instances the training falls flat because it is one dimensional often focusing on “objections,” which while that is extremely important - they will not have to worry about handling objections if they do get anyone on the phones or to respond to their emails! In turn, setting fewer appointments, which means fewer sales!