How Do Dealerships Match Salespeople with Customers?

Ever wonder how you get matched up with a salesperson at the dealership? It is one of the most asked questions of people in the car business. It really depends on how you first contact the dealership - Did you walk in? Did you call ahead? Did you go online and fill out a form? We look at how different dealerships handle these situations.

Walk-In - The “Fresh Up”

If you chose to hop in your car and drive to the dealership, you are the “fresh up.” This one is pretty easy. There are 2 major ways dealerships pair salespeople with “fresh ups.” They either have a system or they don’t have a system.

Dealerships that have a system have some sort of order they put salespeople in. So, the 1st salesperson talks to the 1st “fresh up” that day, and so on. Dealerships can order salespeople in many ways. Some have a list and they just keep rotating each day, some order the salespeople by seniority, and others by amount of sales in a given time period.

Dealerships that don’t have a system, let the salespeople determine who talks to the next customer. These are the type of dealerships that when you get out of your car, 4 salespeople run-walk to you or one of them is opening your car door. Imagine dropping a steak in the lion’s area of your local zoo - that is more or less how this works.

Call Ahead - The “Phone-Up”

If called the dealership to inquire about pricing or cars they had in inventory, you are a “phone up.” Your phone call will be answered by one of the following individuals - 

Business Development Center (BDC) Representative

BDC representatives are typically people who have call center experience. They aren't like typical salespeople. Generally, they will have less product knowledge than a salesperson, so don't expect them to know everything about the car you are inquiring about. 

When you do visit the dealership, you'll find that you will be turned over to a salesperson so don't get too attached to the BDC representative that you've been talking to on the phone. 

They are trained to "get the customer in." Most dealerships provide BDC representatives limited training but "scripts" to follow during phone calls. They have limits as to what they can talk to you about. For example, most dealerships don't let BDC representatives talk about discounts or "best price." When you ask those types of questions, they will try to get your information, so a salesperson or sales manager can call you back. 

Most dealerships pay these BDC representatives an hourly wage plus small bonuses when a customer they talk to comes to the dealership and maybe another small bonus if you buy a car from the dealership. 


Some dealerships don't have any BDC representatives, so they have their salespeople answer any call that gets forwarded to the sales department. 

Some dealerships allow all salespeople to answer phone calls, while others limit which salespeople can or cannot answer phone calls. Whichever salesperson answers the phone first gets to work with that customer. 

When you do visit the dealership, you'll be working with the same salesperson (unless they are off that day or with another customer). 

Sales Manager

Some dealerships have all of the sales phone calls directed to the sales managers. Since they are the ones that make pricing decisions, it may be easier to get a discount from them. One issue is that most sales managers are fairly busy during the day, so if you scenario has a lot of variables, you may get lost in the shuffle. 

When you do visit the dealership, the sales manager will turn you over to a salesperson. 

Online Forms - The “Internet Lead”

If you went online to the dealer’s website or other car buying websites and filled out forms, you are a “Internet lead.” Dealerships handle these form submissions very similarly to phone calls. Generally, if a BDC representative is answering the phone calls, they are also answering form submissions. 


Hopefully, this gives you some insight into how dealerships match their salespeople with their customers. As you can see, it is completely random which customers end up with a salesperson.

This is one of the most frustrating aspects of working with dealerships. Whether you visit, call or fill out an online form, you don't know what salesperson you're going to be matched with. You could end up with someone that has been working at the dealership for the last 2 hours. You may end up with someone you don't "mesh" with. You may spend a few days talking to and emailing with a BDC representative, only to have to restart fresh with a sales person when you actually visit the dealership.

To bypass working with salespeople, sales managers or BDC representatives all together, feel free to contact us the next time you're buying a car. Visit our Contact Page or email us at