Dealership Layouts: What’s Most Effective?

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This seems to always be a great topic to discuss because there are truly many strengths and some weaknesses in each area. In this article, I’m going to challenge you that not one alone but a mixture of all of them together can bring an amazing impact on overall sales to a dealership. I’ve experienced them all in one way or another. So here we go! 

Here is a definition of each area along with the pros/cons that we will cover:

BDC – This is a Business Development Center. The BDC exists to create opportunities for the dealership, be it in sales or service. A BDC brings the customer to the store to make a transaction. They can even create a deal without the customer coming to the dealership at times.

Pros:

  • Continuous attention on the follow-up processes.
  • Trained to handle phone ups coming in and phone calls going out without being pulled away to assist customers in person.
  • Detail-oriented representatives with a high level of CRM training.

Cons:

  • Customers do not interact with the BDC reps once they are in the stores. (customers sometimes complain about this)
  • Added fixed expense in salaries.

Cradle-to-Grave – This is where the sales representative is handling all leads from start to finish. They will follow up, greet the customer, provide a product presentation, demo the vehicle, present numbers, do the delivery, etc.

Pros:

  • The sales representatives are highly skilled in handling conversations with customers and finding solutions with creative ways to maximize a deal.

Cons:

  • When they are doing what they do best (working in person with guests) their leads, phone calls and phone up opportunities are sitting stale until they free up.

Hybrid – This is the combination of both cradle to grave and BDC working together and filling in the gaps with follow up while the sales representative is selling the vehicles.

Pros:

  • This creates a great opportunity for the teams to bridge the gap of BDC and sales representatives.
  • When processes are followed, customers have a better chance of connection and engagement.
  • Encourages team building and better communication between the sales team and the BDC.

Cons:

  • If there is not a good process it can create chaos with too many people dipping in and out of the customer profiles, overloading them with emails and phone calls from different people.

VDC – This is a Video Development Center. This center exists as a layer to provide video content for the dealership follow up and also helps sales people who may no be that great in front of the camera to create their personalized video content.

Pros:

  • Dedicated people who do nothing but video content and have it inserted into the follow up processes. They do not talk to customers or work deals.
  • Creates consistencies when sales people are not comfortable doing video content themselves

Cons:

  • It adds another fixed expense in salaries

BDD – This is a Business Development Dealership. This is the combination of everything working together for the greatest and maximum effect in communicating with the guest and aiding the guest with everything necessary to help create a simple, fast and easy car buying process.

This is what I believe is the most effective process.

The idea of a BDD is the combination of a BDC integrated with the best of a cradle-to-grave model, working across the bridge into the sales floor. This allows the VDC access to the entire follow-up process, the data mining process, and the after-the-sale process. From what I’ve seen, many Internet and BDC departments are highly active departments that are measured, tracked and tediously worked through in every aspect of the CRM and on the phones to maximize appointments, shows, and sales. The focus in these departments and the standards in which these departments operate are extremely high. So, what would happen if when a salesperson isn’t selling a car, working with a client, doing a test drive, working numbers or delivering a vehicle? The salesperson is not just waiting for the next up but is also working through the CRM like a BDC rep. In other words, every Sales Rep is a Business Development Representative. Working through every opportunity maximizing calls, text messages, video messaging and emails with a standard to measure against! I’ve seen some dealerships who have embraced these concepts and changed the entire way they “Sell Cars” and are now breaking store records. The activity of the sales team is being measured and managed daily with expectations on calls and activity. At the end of the day, the salespeople submit their checkouts. This allows management to see what each individual accomplished daily.

At the same time this is happening with the sales reps, the BDC is coming alongside the sales team to dig into the leads with them. This is where the process in the CRM will help create order to make sure it doesn’t become a sloppy mess where BDC reps and salespeople are calling and working the same customers at the same times.

Instead, there will be a process that has BDC reps and salespeople dipping in and out of the follow-up process to reach out at different times. The verbiage in text and emails and video messages will create a team environment to not confuse the customer with the different messages from each rep involved. The management team is also inserted in the follow up with Manager calls and Manager Video messages as well. This idea is founded on the concept that everyone is a part of Business Development when it comes to the dealership. This is also effective when working service-to-sales opportunities, data mining, lease retention, and finance renewals as well.

Working in many of these models for close to 19 years I’ve seen the ups and downs, along with the arguments from all sides.

What are your thoughts? Let me know.

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Joe Cala
In the Automotive Industry, Joe brings close to 20 years of experience covering roles from Showroom Sales, Internet Sales (Cradle to Grave Model), Director of Sales BDC, Director of Service BDC, Corporate Executive Meetings, Conference Speaker, Seminar Speaker, NADA Convention Speaker, General Manager of Award Winning Training Company and New Franchise & Used Management Experience!