Car salespeople usually work for automotive dealers. These dealers may specialize in a specific brand of cars or even a particular model. They can work for dealerships that sell brand new or used cars, which may be negotiable. Just as any salesperson, a car salesman is one of many types of sales professionals. Read on to learn more about how to become a car salesman.
What does a car sales agent do?
The primary role of a car salesperson is to assist potential customers in selecting the right car for purchase or lease. In doing so, they evaluate and explain the features of the car, its make, model, mileage, and other qualities. They also accompany customers on test drives.
Here are some of the more specific duties of a car salesperson:
- Learn all about the features, characteristics, and abilities of all available cars within the dealership.
- Keep updated about the latest models available in the shop, as well as upcoming models.
- Attend training and seminars required by the car dealership.
- Inform and educate customers about the features of the cars that they are interested in.
- Match customers with vehicles that meet their needs and wants.
- Respond to inquiries made either in person or through call.
- Keep contact information of potential and existing customers and keep in touch through regular communication and updates.
- If allowed within the dealership, negotiate for the price of a chosen car.
- Complete sales management reports.
- Process all paperwork after a vehicle is sold or leased.
How much does a car salesperson make?
According to data from Indeed, the average basic salary of a car salesperson in the United States is $57,830. This can vary greatly depending on the dealership and the commissions they receive every time they close a sale.
On average, the commission amounts to about 20 to 25% of the dealership’s earnings, so if a salesperson sells a $40,000 car and makes $30,000 from it, the salesperson’s commission will be about $6,000 to $7,500. Consequently, the more expensive the cars, the higher the net commission is, so salespersons who work for high-end dealerships tend to earn a lot more.
On top of salary and commission, car salesmen also enjoy employment benefits. The most commonly offered benefits are employee discounts, 401(k), paid time off, flexible work schedules, health insurance, and life insurance.
What does it take to become a good car salesman?
Excellent customer service
You can exhibit good customer service skills by having good communication, interpersonal skills, active listening, and having a pleasing personality. Basically, you have to be an effective communicator and a people person so that your customers feel more comfortable opening up to you and verbalizing their needs.
Unlike traditional retail sales jobs, car dealerships allow some room for negotiation, and the prices of cars are not too fixed. You need good negotiation skills if you want to secure a good deal that is favorable not just to the customer but also to the dealership.
You need at least a rudimentary knowledge of finance since the job involves money and numbers. This holds true whether your customer makes an outright purchase or a lease on a car.
Extensive knowledge of the available cars and the features of each is important for a car salesman. Knowing each car by heart will better allow you to make the perfect match for each customer’s needs. You will also be able to close better deals if you know just what car a certain customer will appreciate the most.
Once your career kicks off, you will likely be handling multiple clients at a time. Juggling sales work with paperwork could be a challenge if you don’t have the right organizational skills. Make sure that you know which tasks to prioritize and that your work schedules are arranged optimally.
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How to become a car salesman
Becoming a car salesman is a straightforward career path. Below are the steps you need to undertake in order to pursue this job.
Step 1: Complete the minimum educational requirements.
The minimum required educational attainment for a car salesman is a high school diploma or a GED, which is a high school equivalency diploma. You don’t really need a special university degree unless you want to advance to a sales manager position which will then require you to achieve at least a bachelor’s degree in business or finance.
Step 2: Obtain some work experience.
Almost all car dealerships will require you to have some work experience before taking you in as a car salesman. So if you’re fresh out of high school, don’t apply to a dealership just yet. The good news is that you can gain experience from just about any customer-service-related job. You can try out cashier jobs, becoming a server, or fast food crew. What is important is that these jobs give you enough practice in facing customers and communicating with them effectively with a pleasant attitude.
Step 3: Licensing
Some states may require their salespeople to get licensed. You‘re lucky if your state does not have this requirement as you can proceed to the next step. Some states will simply require you to submit an application and pay a fee, while others will require you to take and pass an exam. Check your state to see if and how they regulate car salespeople and make sure to comply accordingly.
Step 4: Training
Once you finally bag a car sales job, your dealer will likely have you undergo several training to teach you all about the business and the specific types of cars (e.g. Japanese Mini Trucks, Tesla, etc) they sell. Every once in a while, when a new brand or model becomes available in the dealership, car salesmen may need to undergo specialized training to keep themselves updated about the new car. These trainings are important for salespeople to properly educate their customers about the features and benefits as well as the true capabilities of a specific car that they’re eyeing.
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