Best PracticesDealership Operations & Processes

Internet Teams and BDCs Must be Managed Like Call Centers

Because so many dealers and traditional sales managers continue to look at their internet department as this mysterious group of ex-Dungeons and Dragons players who too closely resemble the graduating class at Hogwarts, it’s important to break down the simplest of strategies that truly drive successful internet sales efforts today.

There’s no need to overthink this; it’s actually pretty straightforward if you’ll just take a step back and breathe.

In this 7-part series, my hope is to detail in plain language how you can stop overthinking much of what goes into making a sale to an internet prospect, and how to use these simple strategies to start setting more appointments that show and buy today:

Simple Strategy #2: Internet Teams & BDCs Must be Managed Like Call Centers

The Problem: Old school sales management and tactics just don’t work when the prospect is sitting at home & your salespeople or BDC agents are sitting at their desks. Moreover, because the average consumer has done over nineteen hours of research before they ever step foot on your lot, pick up the phone or submit a lead, they’ve already done their own Needs Analysis. The old school Road-to-the-Sale doesn’t fly over the phone.

Many dealers I know created their internet sales teams and BDCs by staffing them with a few of their existing floor salespeople, treating them like floor salespeople and paying them like floor salespeople (generally only on sold units). Their argument was simply that they needed knowledgeable folks to be able to answer customer questions on the phone or via email, and that they only felt they should care whether or not this department sold a car.

Wrong and wrong.

Staffing this team with product experts who answer too many customer questions leads to lower overall show rates and (of course) lower sales. To compound the issues facing these dealers, by only looking at sold units they end up just managing the results instead of the activities that lead to the results (like phone calls).

This leads to internet salespeople and BDC agents spending all of their time milling about and “playing” on their computers instead of working the phones.

The Reality: You cannot sell an empty seat. When your team becomes fountains of information instead of appointment-setting wizards, they set few real appointments and close a below average percentage of their opportunities (leads and calls).

[Tweet “When BDCs become a fountain of information & not appointment-setting wizards they set fewer appointments”]

The truth is, your BDC or internet team is more like a bank call center than it is a traditional sales team. Until they get a warm body in the door you should never expect them to sell a thing. Their primary job is to set appointments that show, period. When you allow this team to freelance their workday they will gravitate toward the activities that provide the least amount of rejection: sending worthless emails or wandering around the dealership. You need these people on the phones! “Smiling and dialing” is what working looks like with an internet team or BDC. Everything else is just filler.

Like a bank call center, your BDC or internet team should be driven by metrics and talk tracks, not selling and product knowledge. In fact, the less product knowledge a BDC agent or internet salesperson has the better – it means they can only stick to the approved talk tracks and will spend all of their time setting appointments that show and buy.

The Solution: Drive the activities, not the results. Like a call center, you need to manage the activities that drive the results; and the three most important activities for internet sales teams and BDCs are (in order):

  1. Phone calls
  2. Phone calls
  3. Phone calls

Just like a great call center manager, you want to focus on a strict adherence to your written processes and the word tracks being used for these phone calls. Moreover, one of the most important pillars for success in great call centers is that they make immediate course corrections. That is, they don’t wait until the end of the month to discuss talk tracks or appointment show rates or whether a required phone call was missed or mishandled. No; supervisors in great call centers pull up a chair next to their agents and discuss the issue immediately.


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This is part 1 of 7 Simple Strategies for Closing More Internet Deals Today!
by Steve Stauning.

Don’t miss out on the complete series:

Part 1Simple Strategy #1: Pay for the Performance You Want

Part 2: You’re reading it

Part 3: Simple Strategy #3: Stricter Rules Drive Higher Sales

Part 4: Simple Strategy #4: Treat EVERY Lead and Call Like an Order

Part 5Simple Strategy #5: Yes, You Should Always Use an Auto Response

Part 6Simple Strategy #6: Email Templates can be Personal AND Automated

Part 7Simple Strategy #7: The First Call Should Be the ONLY Call


Steve is the author of Assumptive Selling: The Complete Guide to Selling More Vehicles for More Money to Today’s Connected Customers;" as well ...