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How Do I Become a Car Salesman?

A career in cars sales starts with an employment application at a dealership.
Car salesmen should be knowledgeable about the cars they sell.
Article Details
  • Written By: Ron Marr
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 04 July 2014
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A prevalent stereotype depicts the average car salesman as being an aggressive and manipulative individual bedecked in a bad suit and gaudy jewelry. The fact of the matter, which one can prove by walking into a car dealership and inquiring about a vehicle, is that a car salesman does tend to be aggressive and manipulative. Most people can become a car salesman, but keeping the job is another story entirely.

You will often see advertised positions for car salesmen, which would seem to indicate that the auto business is booming. This is not necessarily the case. Car dealerships hire many salesmen because they often pay solely on commission. Sell cars, and you make money. Fail to reach a minimum sales quota, and you make nothing. In the latter case, you will also likely be fired.

Thus, becoming a car salesman is not really a matter of qualifications, experience, or education. It is more involved with basic personality traits. This is not a profession for the mild or meek. It is not a career for the person who does not thrive within an atmosphere of intense competition. It is not the job you should seek if you dislike rejection, or fear heated diatribes by supervisors and managers when you have a slow week.

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However, if none of these factors cause angst or concern, and if you have the ability to sell anything to anyone, you could become a car salesman. It would be wise to keep in mind, however, that a car salesman is not only trying to sell a vehicle, he is also competing against everyone else with whom he works. It is not a friendly environment, but for those who possess the needed talents, it can be lucrative.

Most car dealerships will ask you to fill out the standard applications for employment. Then, either a sales manager, general manager, or both will interview you. Every aspect of the interview is a test. You might be kept waiting for an interview, simply to see if you will approach the reception desk and forcefully inquire about the delay. Taking such an approach is considered a plus, as it shows a lack of patience.

Traits such as patience, usually considered positives in daily living, are viewed as negatives. During the interview, you may also be asked questions that seem to make no sense. Forget logic, and simply answer immediately and confidently with whatever comes to mind. Sales managers in the car business realize that portraying an air of knowledge and competence is more important than stating facts.

To become a car salesman you must be willing to strive to gain customer confidence and trust, while at the same time convincing the customer that they should spend more than they can afford. You must also be willing to convince them that the trade-in value of their vehicle is as low as possible. This is a business that is all about creating the best deal for the seller, not the buyer, and many salesman view it as a game. It is the basis of the mindset needed to become a car salesman.

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Discuss this Article

anon351166
Post 14

I have been selling cars for a couple of months and I'm not doing too bad. I wonder if my sales will get better when I actually know what I am doing.

anon342868
Post 13

How long before someone usually starts making money in car sales?

anon285393
Post 11

I went through national auto academy too, zeroway! My class was fun. I do have to say that after being on the floor for six months or so, what they teach you is spot on. I sold my first car on my third day! And as far as fees go for the other poster, you're not paying for a job; you're paying for an education to get the job. Trust me, you won't survive one Saturday on the floor without training.

zeroway
Post 10

I took a class through National Auto Academy a little over a year ago to get into this business. It was a smooth transition from the classroom to the sales floor. I've been one of the top three salesmen in my showroom since I started!

This isn't a cutthroat business. You just need the right education before hitting the floor. I've seen many salespeople come and go, but the ones who last are usually the ones who have gone through the academy.

anon268587
Post 8

How common is it to be expected to pay for training expenses up front when you are hired? Seems scammy to me, but it's hard to pass up a job offer when you're on unemployment.

anon186149
Post 7

This was a great article. Thank you for that! I am working on a guide to become a great salesperson.

RSara
Post 6

i recently paid an advance of $300, but later realised i didn't actually like the car. i told the car dealer very soon so he didn't have any loss, i know. the cheater only gave me back $200.

Anyway, this car dealer has just lost a potential customer (me!) and probably many more.

i still haven't bought a car and I am hoping to. i will shop around more and be careful next time before committing. this car dealer does have good cars and if he had been nicer to me, i would have definitely considered getting a car from him.

also i have a lot of girlfriends who will want to buy cars. i will advice all not to visit this car dealer. Thumbs down! The customer is king and too bad he lost me and hopefully many more! for a few dollars you will lose millions.

anon126747
Post 5

I just started as a car salesman, and I have no intention of trying to oversell or rip off any person. It does not make good business sense, especially if you want referrals and repeat business. Just like any profession, there are honest people and dishonest people.

anon100958
Post 3

I don't think that people are fair to car salesman. Not everyone is out to rip you off. We are also god fearing people that have families to care for. Everyone deserves to make a profit if you provide a service.

Have you ever asked for a discount when you buy a TV or major appliance? Just like everything in life and in business you are going to run into people that are greedy and out for themselves. Please remember this the next time you go car shopping.

GiraffeEars
Post 2

@ Babalaas- I have to agree with your assertion that being a car salesman is not all about cheating a consumer. I think the ratio of good and bad car salespeople roaming dealer lots across the country is about 50/50.

I also think that the internet is helping improve this ratio in favor of good salespeople and sales managers. Search engines and a few websites allow consumers to post reviews of any car dealership out there. The internet is also increasingly becoming the starting point for people shopping for cars. Bad dealerships are losing money when people leave bad reviews.

Sales will always be cutthroat and competitive, but sales can still be ethical.

Babalaas
Post 1

While the article described one type of car salesperson, the description is more fitting of a salesperson in a large dealership located in a competitive market. There are just as many dealerships that make a living by hiring good car salesman that do not manipulate the consumer. Smaller dealerships and dealerships in rural areas tend to focus more on customer service and honesty.

These dealerships have fewer competitors so there is not as much need to cut and slash prices. The customer base is also smaller, so they must rely on return customers. These dealerships do not have the luxury of consumer amnesia that dealerships located in urban areas enjoy.

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