Your business development center(BDC) is the staff of your virtual dealership. They’re the helpful, cheerful people on the other side of that “Get ePrice” button. They type the answers in live chat sessions. They answer the phone when a car buyer calls the dealership phone number.
If your website isn’t optimized for that first, crucial interaction, you may not get a second chance. If a customer has a bad experience on your site, are they likely to come back? If you have to choose between “Maybe” or “Probably not,” you’re probably not liking your choices.
Let’s start with your home page. Did you really have to buy every widget known to the industry and put it on your home page? Pop-ups, pop-outs, sliders, videos, toolbars, talking video apps and links to social media are circling your customers like sharks in a feeding frenzy.
The most popular website on the planet is Google. Check out Google’s home page and what do you see? A search bar, and that’s pretty much it. Google offers hundreds of other features and products, but they don’t blast you with everything on the home-page.
Higher quality interactions lead to more appointments and more walk-ins. Guide customers to the calls to action that have the highest conversion rate. From the BDC’s perspective, there are five types of website leads that are going to outperform all the rest. Some should appear on your home page, others deeper in the site. Wherever they’re placed, they will outperform any other feature you’ve tried.
1. YOUR PHONE NUMBER
Have you called the number listed on your home page lately? If the call went straight to a trained appointment setter with excellent communication skills, positive energy, vehicle expertise and the resources to guide the customer toward a test drive, good for you. (I don’t mean that sarcastically; I’m proud of you. You are leading the way in transforming our industry, one customer at a time.)
I see every ring of the phone as a chance to “Wow” a customer. With the right people, training and accountability, you can do exactly that. You have two choic- es for mapping your home-page number: The number can ring an operator who screens the caller and only sends bona fide sales calls to the BDC, or the BDC can be your main switchboard. I prefer the latter. Even if it means locating your operator in the BDC,
the smooth flow and handoff of website phone traffic may be the single most important interac- tion for your business.
2. LIVE CHAT
Live chat is a powerful communication tool that can drastically improve website conversion. A properly staffed BDC is perfect for chat conversions. Again, you have two choices: Train your BDC agents to operate live chat or outsource it to the chat provider. At least one chat provider accurately boasts an 80 percent name, phone number and e-mail capture. If your agents can’t beat that rate, this decision is easy.
I love to see a “Get ePrice” button on vehicle detail pages. But to convert that lead to an appointment, you must equip your BDC reps with a better offer than the one displayed. If the car is priced at $19,850 and a customer clicks the “Get ePrice” button, fills out the form and waits for your reply, they’re expecting a lower price. Consider creating a coupon for setting a priority appointment or a pricing grid that uses a formula to quickly calculate a lower price.
4. CREDIT APPLICATION
The credit app is my favorite electronic lead for a BDC by far. Get those customers in the door, introduce them to a financial advisor, establish a line of credit and show them the cars that meet their needs and the bank’s conditions. You can even take delivery the same day.
5. TRADE EVALUATION
The “What’s My Trade Worth?” button comes in right behind the credit app for capturing cus- tomers who are in “transaction mode.” You must call those customers immediately. Your website just told them their car is not worth what they owe. They need to know it’s not a problem. Be ready with a firm cash offer, the perfect replacement vehicle and a proposal in writing.
Your BDC works with leads of all kinds, but these five calls to action will produce a close rate anywhere from 15 to 30 percent. Do everything you can to get your BDC structured, trained and ready to rev up the sales with a BDC-optimized website.