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Internet Department Structures

We know everyone is looking for the answer. The answer to how do I set up my Internet Department to make the greatest return on investment. Unfortunately it is not that simple, there is not a one size fits all option. Dealerships nationwide make use of 3 options to set up their Internet department. Each of the options presents both pros and cons. There is a fourth option, which will be discussed as well. This option is determined by the makeup of your dealership and your personnel.

No matter what structure is determined for your dealership, you must start with some basics. These will help define which structure is correct for your dealership. They are the following:

  • Assess your dealership's culture
  • Define objectives
  • Create a budget
  • Obtain full support from management

Internet Sales Person

The first option is the Internet Sales Person option. This selection will present the lowest cost opportunity, for the setup and the cost per sale on commissions. Your concerns should be around the number of leads that person can handle. The rule of thumb here is to determine the number of cars that person can sell per month, and then divide that number by .2. That is the maximum number of leads you should be giving that person. In addition, you will have to worry about the effects of turnover, as if they leave, so does your entire Internet Department.


The second option is the BDC/CDD option. The BDC reps job is to sell the appointment, not the vehicle. They encourage the prospect to take the next step in the process. This option will allow for better control over your process. Obviously, the cost per sale will be higher and the BDC rep will have to gently hand off the prospect to the traditional salesperson but it is still a profitable option.

Floor Sales

The third conventional option is the showroom model. This model offers you the lowest turnover and continual follow up with prospects and customers. But you may be concerned with the cost of training and the technology costs, as you will have to supply each salesperson a computer and license to the solution you are currently using. By moving the Internet department to the floor, you are not segregating your prospects by departments; a prospect is a prospect period.

Hybrid Solution

The fourth option is a hybrid option. The definition of a hybrid is something of mixed origin or composition. This option will make use of your employees and the dealership environment. Combining technology, knowledge of the automotive industry, and the psychology of how customers buy cars creates the hybrid option. This will take the talents of all of the employees you have identified and make the most out of them. Be creative and make the most out of your employees and the technology you use.

There is no right or wrong answer here. Just remember that once you choose your Internet Department structure, stick with it, commit to it 100%. With everyone’s eye on the end goal, success will happen.

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