BDC Managers:
What separates the best … from the rest?

What are the key traits of a successful BDC Manager? You could likely come up with a few off the top of your head. Upbeat personality. Motivational moxie. Expert time management. Multitasker. Yup, all good. Yet there’s a set of less obvious and more subtle personality traits – and work habits – that only the best BDC Managers possess. Identifying them can be the difference between prolonged success or painful underperformance.

There’s a great quote that seems to fit here: “People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers.” That’s never more true than in a BDC. So it’s critical that the person you recruit as BDC Manager has the right combination of skills. There are lots of talents that a BDC Manager can possess to be effective. Let’s quickly review the basics.

The Basic Skills for BDC Manager Success

A good BDC Manager must possess the ability to communicate clearly, succinctly and intelligently, both verbally and online. With so many moving parts to manage, insight on how to prioritize tasks is a top priority, for personal to-do lists and those assigned to the team. The industry is in constant flux, so the ability to pinpoint new ideas that can make a positive impact is key. Finally, attitude is everything. If your BDC Manager believes – ­  REALLY believes –  in the dealership’s goals, they will naturally be a great motivator.

If the skill set of your current BDC Manager – or potential candidates – feature a combination of the above traits, the foundation BDC success is in place. Now, let’s look at the more nuanced traits what separate the best BDC Managers from the rest.

There’s a set of subtle, less obvious traits – and work habits – that only the best BDC Manager possesses.

Understand the Role

A wise BDC Manager understands that his/her job isn’t focused on selling cars — but on selling appointments. Sounds logical, right?

“One of the common mistakes we see from dealer management is that they tend to promote top-performing agents into BDC Manager positions, who lack critical leadership skills and the necessary call center background to effectively improve performance,” says Amanda Singleton, Sr. Director of Training & Support for Blueprint BDC Consulting, a leading provider of BDC strategy, training and recruiting owned by Dealer-FX. “The BDC Manager needs to come equipped with foundational communication and coaching skills. They need to possess not only the ability to analyze key performance indicators (KPIs), but tie them back to appointment-setting behaviors that enhance desired levels of performance.”

Beyond appointment-setting, BDC Managers must also understand the need to collaborate with a wide range of dealership personality types – from the GM to the Service Director to the Advisor. The ability to prioritize a variety of objectives to deliver on key metrics is a highly prized skill that’s rarely obvious.

Slow the Churn

BDC agent turnover rate falls somewhere between 30 to 45%. Whew, that’s a whole lot of turnover. What’s more, studies reveal that 79% of people who quit their jobs say ‘lack of appreciation’ was the reason. Skilled BDC leaders motivate their agents intrinsically. What do we mean by that? Rather than just overweight negative reactions to weak performance, they create a better work setting by actively focusing on positive actions. Over time, an environment emerges that naturally inspires the growth of happy, high-performing teams.

Hand-in-hand with positive reinforcement is another not-so-obvious technique. The strategic application of tactics that encourage teamwork and a strong sense of a job well done. Things like contests and rewards to add motivation and a bit of competitive edge. Or even a mentoring program, where experienced agents earn bonuses for showing newcomers the ropes

Lead By Example

Self-confidence is a natural trait of leaders. But sometimes it goes to their heads. Boasting about personal accomplishments is unproductive. It only creates a disconnect between the BDC Manager and the team. If the Manager puts his/her own success over the team’s…Ouch! Agents will sense it right away.

Humility is the sign of a true team player. Smart BDC Managers regularly take calls, answer emails or address high-stress situations. They embrace getting down in the “trenches” with agents. This does not go unnoticed by team members, and builds respects for the BDC Manager.

Adapt or Die

Every work day goes exactly as planned, right? Sure it does (insert sarcastic tone here). In reality, the server crashes or a team member quits on the spot. A 2008 study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit found that the ability to think on one’s feet and adapt to change is one of the top three leadership qualities to master… and one of the key’s to being a truly great leader. This is one of the most underrated qualities of an exceptional BDC Manager.

“You can hire the best BDC Manager in the world, but without strong support and effective processes even the best can fall flat”, says Blueprint’s Singleton. She stresses two things. One, keep up with industry trends with regular training and coaching. Two, hiring a BDC Manager with the ability to motivate others and adapt to change. Sales Managers, Service Managers, and other key stakeholders quickly understand that the BDC holds great value for the dealership.

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