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Top 100 lessons: Texas Marine’s Business Development Center

By Jonathan Sweet

We're deep into Top 100 evaluations at Boating Industry, and as always, there are some great ideas here from these top dealers.

We'll share plenty more of these in the December issue of Boating Industry, but I was impressed by one I saw this week in Texas Marine's application.

The three-location dealership was facing a problem many growing dealers do: how do you manage the incoming calls, emails, inquiries, etc., and get more people in the door to the showrooms?

Texas Marine decided to borrow an idea that is growing in popularity in the auto industry: the business development center.

The BDC acts as a dedicated and fully staffed department to handle incoming calls, handle incoming leads, create business through making outgoing calls and send emails to centralize and coordinate communication between customers and employees, as well as between dealership departments, according to Texas Marine.

The dealership team spent more than a year researching the idea and creating the BDC before it went live in 2014. They worked with an outside vendor to design and customize the right fit for the dealership. That customization is very important, as any dealer looking to create a BDC needs to make sure it is the right fit for them.

The BDC is located at Texas Marine's Beaumont, Texas, corporate office and receives all the sales calls and leads for all three locations. It is staffed by team members hired and trained specifically for the center

"BDC reps focus on getting the callers into the dealership, rather than focusing on selling details like many sales people tend to do," says Texas Marine president Mike Hebert. "The result is a large increase in the number of people walking into the dealership, where we know we have a greater chance of making a sale."

The center has generated higher sales, additional brokerage business and higher service department revenue, Hebert says.

 

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