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Key things to consider when putting together a pay plan

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When you put together the compensation plans for your BDC team, did you structure it in a way that makes it self-motivational for your reps?

A well-trained, experienced BDC rep is a great thing to have, and it can be hard to replace them quickly. Lose too many in a short period of time and you’ll hamstring your BDC’s performance, and frustrate your salespeople and managers. You want your BDC to function like a well-oiled machine, staffed with professionals who know the dealership, know the inventory, and (most importantly), know the scripts.

Building a pay plan that appropriately rewards achievement is one of the easiest ways to make sure your BDC team stays intact. Here are some key things to consider when you’re putting your plan together.

Include an hourly wage, but don’t go overboard – Straight commission rarely works for BDC Reps. They don’t have the income upside of a floor salesperson, and the skill set you want them to have is typically going to be found in those candidates with experience that is more customer service oriented, as opposed to strictly sales oriented. Having said that, you don’t want them to be so comfortable with their hourly rate that they don’t strive to achieve results that will pay them more. In general, we like to see BDC Reps have a realistic opportunity to double their base compensation; when they achieve good (not great, not incredible) results.

Think hard before you compensate on sales – A BDC Rep should be completely focused on making appointments, verifying appointments, and getting people to visit the dealership. Once a prospect visits the dealership, it becomes the job of the sales team to sell and deliver them. Having your BDC Reps tied to that process dilutes their focus, and can also lead to some “unholy” alliances where favorite salespeople are given preferential treatment by BDC Reps when they set up the appointments. Some people worry that this will lead to lower quality appointments, but is there really such a thing as a “bad” walk-in prospect?

Make bonuses based on levels, not units – Setting up bonus levels based on realistically obtainable levels of performance keeps BDC reps focused on the big picture, and not too wrapped up in each and every interaction. It also makes them feel like a larger part of the total dealership process. Ideally, try to put together bonuses based on short periods of time – for example: 25 shows in a week pays $200, 35 shows in a week pays $400, or even shorter periods (5 shows a day pays $50, 7 pays $100). You might be surprised at how much this will fire-up a BDC Rep, who is on one show away from a nice bonus.

Include team bonuses – Having team bonuses helps to insure that the BDC team jumps in to cover each other whenever needed, and also helps build team spirit. Again, try to make them level based, on short time frames and see what a difference it makes in how well your team works together.

Have a training pay schedule – Don’t hire new BDC Reps, even if they’ve worked at another dealership, and let them take phone calls right away. You don’t want them learning by practicing on your potential sales. Start every rep on a “training pay” basis, and have a training schedule that lays out the scripts they need to be proficient with and the dates they should have this accomplished by. The BDC team leader should verify their progress, and check off each level as they achieve it.

Hiring the right people for a BDC is important, but keeping the right people is critical. Having a fair pay plan that rewards accomplishments appropriately can go long way toward achieving that very desirable result.