Business development seems to have many perceptions of its functionality. From my experience, Business development is more than a department. It is a mindset translated into a team’s actions or process. The foundation of business development is based on product knowledge, communication skills, fundamental understanding of human instincts and how to not sound fake by adjusting body language, words and voice tonality to individual personality types. Commonality equals rapport.
The first competitive edge is gained by having a cross-trained, appointment-minded and sales-minded team of individuals working together to establish a well-documented playbook. Some representatives have them, but raw talent and experience are limited if they hamper the process flow. Often sports players depend on natural talent and old habits. When the game complexity increases, they find themselves sidelined with a career cut short not by injury, but a subtle closed mindedness that prevented a full commitment to their team’s play book.
Advanced communication, influence, tactful persuasion and differentiation skills will separate your dealership from common perceptions customers have of car dealers. They will have similar, positive experiences and share with others through the power of the spoken and written (e.g. social networking) word.
Customer buying habits have changed and their concerns have intensified. Rather than finding online assistance helpful, customers react negatively to canned, slick, scripted responses. To counter that, develop or enhance your ability to make rapport based appointments that show and sell. A skilled BDC will make your dealership stand apart from your competition.
Self barometers work. If you found a conversation dull, scripted or demanding, how would you feel or react? We don’t need more scripts; they don’t work. What we do need is to clearly identify why we must master communication skills, know exactly how each type of customer reacts and be the “breath of fresh air” they have been waiting for.
A BDC should make people feel comfortable and excited about walking into the dealership. To do that, it is imperative that a business development representative (BDR) communicate sincerely in a non-confrontational, leading manner. Dependence on scripts or rebuttals will set you up for failure by confirming expectations. Rebuttal means argument and that is exactly for what they are prepared. Human instinct will drive a confronted person into “fight or flight” mode. Often the flight mode takes the path of least resistance to set an appointment with no intention of showing up.
Consider the breakdown of how communication is transmitted:
- 63% is body language.
- 30% is voice tonality.
- 7% are the actual words used.
A common misconception is that the 63% attributed to body language is eliminated when talking on the phone. It is not. For example, try to sound like you are smiling while frowning. Body language and tonality are indispensable. A “type A” personality uses an intense, fast-paced tone. By slowing down hand gestures, tone follows suit. Developing the skill of discerning the type of customer we’re speaking with empowers us to speak with common tone and wording. Commonality equals rapport, which sells an appointment that actually shows and creates a customer for life.
If you train on just scripts or quick word tracks, you’re putting your money (and possibly your ROI) on the slim 7% of communication. I emphasize training people on the “why,” not just on the “what” and “how.” Training BDRs to use impact wording and put emphasis on certain words can make a world of difference in people’s perception. The “why” is skillfully utilizing tonality and body language – communication’s remaining 93%.
Scripts focus on what is said, often sounding robotic and impersonal. Even if someone has a script memorized, it doesn’t create sincerity. While the best way to sound sincere is to be genuinely sincere, watching where and how you enunciate your words will create sincerity in your voice.
Hearing scripts feeds the customer’s fear of car-buying where the salesperson pushes what they want the customer to buy, focusing only on profit. A skillful BDR doesn’t need scripts to align and identify that, price is important. They validate the customer’s “target budget range” and build rapport through assumptive questions as, “Aside from price, what would be your next most important factor – safety or performance?” This process establishes points of commonality between the representative and the customer to further discuss and notate.
Changing the dialogue word order can positively influence a customer’s actions. For example, “If for any reason my manager is running late, I’ll give you a courtesy call. Will you do the same for me?” That may get a “yes,” but not program a subconscious commitment to actually call.
However, by saying, “I’ll give you the courtesy of a call.” you give the caller something, namely, “courtesy.” Then, based on reciprocity, you ask, “If for any reason you were running late, what would you do?” When faced with being late, a person who is given the opportunity to take ownership of their response versus simply answering “yes” will more likely call. A customer that does call will generally show and buy.
When skills are the foundation of a team, customers attribute keeping their appointments to their advocate, a compliment to the skill-level of a BDR and smooth transition among departments, always having a go to person. They show up with a positive experience behind them, looking forward to another. That is, to be treated equally as well in the sales and service process and driving away in their new vehicle.