On today’s show, Jim speaks to Jason Cohen, BDC and E-Commerce Director for Paramus Honda, one of the largest and most profitable stores in Lithia Auto Chain, to discuss how to effectively expand your dealership BDC, and get the most from your dealership’s internet and phone processes.
Paramus Honda is the fifth largest Honda dealer in the country and the most profitable dealership in the Lithia Auto Group chain, which is especially impressive given that 10 of the top 25 Honda dealerships are within Paramus’s zone (the New York metro area).
Initially, when BDCs grew in popularity about 15 years ago, it was to supplement the sales department with leads and phone calls. Now, it’s around 50 percent of all business at Jason’s dealership, including lease retention, database mining, service customer prospecting, and CSI follow-up, just to name a few. While expanded BDCs haven’t pushed salesmen off the showroom floor yet, Jason reminds us that in a relatively short period of time, their BDC has gone from 10 percent of the business to 50, which is quite a large transformation. Jason expects that the BDC will continue to grow to 75 or 80 percent in the next decade.
Currently, 25 percent of Paramus Honda’s customers have some degree of engagement with the dealership online before they step foot in the showroom, and their website has about 80,000 visits a month. Which means many customers are doing their research using the virtual showroom.
In order for Paramus to move on average 800 cars a month, Jason breaks down his BDC process into four different parts:
- How often are we following up with customers who have reached out?
- Contact ratio for appointments
- Setting up appointments between customers and product specialists
- Greeting the customer, and establishing that introduction
For the dealers that don’t believe they need a BDC or have tried to build one, albeit unsuccessfully, Jason recognizes that while a BDC is an added cost, the amount of conversion through the BDC, doubled in his dealership. The biggest reason that BDCs fail, is because the staff is not trained correctly, but if the BDC is managed efficiently, the rewards are endless.