The business development center, or BDC, is a guaranteed way to get a conversation started. Some believe BDCs are critical for a company to succeed. They’re hated by others. Some still think they’re a good idea in theory, but they’re incredibly hard to pull off. What essentially is an automotive BDC, and what needs to happen to be successful?


Put simply, within an automotive dealership, a BDC is a separate department that has three main roles:

  • Make outbound calls for the purpose of driving in new leads for sales or service.
  • To establish sales appointments
  • Manage inbound calls from fresh leads.

Basically, they function as a call center for an automotive dealership. The reason some experts believe it’s a good strategy to have a BDC is that although automotive salespeople are great at communicating in person communicating over the phone often results in inconsistent messaging. In addition, the job responsibilities are significantly different. Sales professionals sell cars – but this is not the role of the BDC. Professionals who concentrate solely on outbound calls and emails often work from scripts which ensures the dealer’s message to buyers is thorough and planned. Some BDCs perform well and are integral to some dealerships.

virtual bdc


1. Focus on Appointment-Scheduling, Not Selling Cars

Your automotive BDC must know exactly what the objective is: to pull people in through the door. While, ultimately, as a result of the new leads, the concept is to sell more cars, selling is the salespeople’s job. The responsibility of the BDC is to bring in potential leads. Therefore, when these individuals communicate over the phone with potential shoppers, the conversation should concentrate on the goals, needs, and aspirations of that individual. You’re not trying to make a sale. You’re trying to sell a date.

2. Build Your BDC With the Right People

Because the BDC employees are responsible for welcoming fresh leads and warming them up to the idea of doing business with you, giving salespeople such a job does not make much sense. These individuals should, instead, be customer service experts. Getting a lead in the door doesn’t mean trying to sell a certain vehicle to them. It’s about explaining why it is better to do business with your dealership than all the others. Have you got more variety to pick from? Are your options for financing more versatile? Do you specialize in vehicles of a certain type?

You already know they’re probably keen to buy if a potential shopper walks through the doors and engages with a salesperson. If a lead is merely talking to a member of the BDC team, however, the process is just getting started. Communicating and connecting with individuals requires the BDC staff to be excellent communicators. 

When you’re looking for people to staff your BDC, these qualities should be prioritized over a lack of industry expertise and familiarity since that knowledge can always be gained through training. Good communication skills are an absolute must. 

3. To Follow Up with Leads, Have an Outlined Process

The work of the BDC doesn’t finish overnight. It takes time and attention to nurture leads and foster relationships with potential clients. This implies that you need a process after the initial connection to follow up and continue the conversation.

Having the correct automotive lead response tool can make the process easier and more fruitful. Apple Connect, for instance, is designed to identify shoppers and build relationships while they are in the buying stage. Apple Auto Leads Marketing Division works with your dealership for an analysis that is free of charge and without obligations.

Without this process, it doesn’t matter how good your BDC is. The leads are never going to pan out without a follow-up process.