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Is the Auto Sales Profession for Me?

Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
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  • colecole Posts: 67
    I'm actively looking to leave my current career for a couple of reasons, including micro and macro economic ones. I'm in a sales career now and have though many times about selling vehicles. From the pros out there, any advice on figuring out if I'd really enjoy it and be good at it?
  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,302
    Hey you Hostess with the mostes, I think that would be a fantastic new topic to start here if there already isn't one.

    I still don't know where to find all the topics on edmonds.
  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,302
    Cole there are allot of different things to take into account.

    You have already found one great resource and that is this web site. Read through it and you will get a good idea of the very wide perception people have of the folks in our industry. Allot of it has to do with what your selling and how your management staff works.

    Next look at your personal life. Are you married with kids, if so will your wife be able to handle you working every Saturday and late 3 nights a week with some Sundays thrown in the mix to?

    I see you are in OH so you may have Blue Laws which makes this a mute point.

    Next, do you have some money in the bank to carry you for awhile? If you are broke right now then your chances of success are cut in half. It takes awhile to get going and make decent money.

    Can you handle rejection? You get it daily.

    Are you afraid to talk on the phone? If you are not willing to have a stack of prior customers phone numbers handed to you and call them then it may be rough.

    Can you handle boredom, yet stay motivated? There are days when this business is boring as hell.

    There are a bunch more things but this will get us started.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,093
    maybe i'm off my rocker, but I often dream of retiring into auto sales. Its something I've always wanted to do, for some reason, and have even discussed my own lot with the wife. But I know that would be too difficult and require too much money and risk for us to bear.

    Anyway, I figure if I can comfortably retire and sell cars more as enjoyment than necessity, maybe it won't stress me out as it does those folks who depend on it. Maybe I'm just dreaming.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • madmanmoomadmanmoo Posts: 2,039
    Do you enjoy making money?
    Are you self-motivated?
    Can you handle repeated rejections with a good attitude?
    Do you have a stable home life?
    Do you have a problem with long hours?
    How are you at overcoming objections?

    If you are a really nice guy, I don't think this is the business for you. I think you can answer those questions above and know what the best answers would be for a salesman.

    I think if you can be successful in car sales, you can be successful in most any sales. It can be tough to keep your attitude straight. That's why you take your days off and enjoy life outside as much as possible.

    Joel touched on the boredom factor. Sometimes the dealership is so slow you can watch sweat form. It's mind numbing. Can you deal with that? Being able to get along with your fellow salesmen is almost as important as being a salesman.

    I think that's a start. How about some other sales shmo helps out a little too. What'd I miss?

  • kyfdxkyfdx Everywhere, USAPosts: 127,999
    "If you are a really nice guy, I don't think this is the business for you."

    Hmmm... maybe I should try it... :)

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  • graphicguygraphicguy Edmunds Poster EmeritusPosts: 11,538 just brought a grin to my face.

    I'm curious myself. Car nut. While I have little sales experience, I've got tons of sales management experience. I know how the sales career works. Yes, rejection is a big part of it. Good demeanor (at least I think so)!

    My issue is I want to take a crack at it part time. Do dealerships have part time positions? Or, are they all full time gigs?

    While money isn't the issue with me (I'm assuming if you sell, you get compensated), I'd be curious to hear what the real earnings are of a good car sales person.
    2018 Acura TLX 3.5 SH AWD A-SPEC
  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,302
    GG, it will depend on the area that you live in, but we have Sales people that make over $100K a year, those that make $30K a year, those that make me wonder why they even do it and a whole bunch in the middle. If I had to guess our average guy hovers around the $50K mark.

    We have partime sales people. The thing about part time in the car biz is that it works out to about a 40 hour week.

    The only problem I have with PT sales people is that customer service suffers. Allot of times other sales people have to take care of your customer, and no sales person in the world wants to handle some one elses problems.
  • graphicguygraphicguy Edmunds Poster EmeritusPosts: 11,538
    Thanks, Joel. Interesting. I never thought about the "customer service" issue. But, isn't it a "split sale" if more than one sales person is involved?
    2018 Acura TLX 3.5 SH AWD A-SPEC
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,093
    not after the sale. I think that's what joel is referring to. Like a customer coming back to complain about something.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • mackabeemackabee Posts: 4,709
    At one of my competitors which I worked for briefly, there is a couple of part timers. One is a female school teacher who works full time in the summer and part time during the school year. It supplements her income nicely as she has loads of customers from her parent/teacher conferences and also from her church. The other one works as a clothing distributor and is there only on weekends. It does create a bit of friction between the regulars since the part timers only coming on Saturdays when the cream of the customers come in. The reguars have to endure the boredom of during the week and by the time Saturday rolls along they are tired and the part timers are full of energy. The dealership doesn't car since they only pay the part timers for what they sell.
  • mackabeemackabee Posts: 4,709
    You got to be thick skinned and not run home to mama the first time a customer cusses at you or insults your product. You have to be able to think on your feet or they'll eat you alive. You have to fight the other sales people and mark your territory. You have to fight with the sales managers to get your deals done. You have to fight with the finance managers to get your deals approved.
    Then you have the long hours, the customers that don't show when they tell you they're coming and then when they are two hours late they get mad at you because you are assisting someone else. Can you handle rejection? Rememer the girl you liked in Jr. High that wouldn't give you the time of day? :blush: Sales are a lot like courting a girl. Once you get to know them and win them over than they will let you take them on a date. ;) It's not for everyone. Once I even thought it wasn't for me either and some days when there's a lot of down time I start to wonder what I'm doing here. Ah, but that all changes in a minute when the next customer walks in and you're employed again! :blush: There's nothing like an adrenaline rush of selling 3 or 4 cars in one day! You feel like you can do no wrong. When I'm on my game there's nobody else like me. I can close anyone, even an Eskimo. If you feel you can handle the pressure of the last day of the month when you are one unit away from a big bonus or that big grand slam deal you just crushed gets blown out of F$I because the business manager pissed off your customers then by all means come and joins us. This is a great place to work at, you'll make a lot of money as long as you keep doing the basics every single time, every single day. Remember Michael Jordan didn't get to be the greatest ball player by sitting on his laurels. He practiced every day. When someone asks "How does this car compare to the Zorch?" I tell them "Sir, when you're number one. You don't compare yourself to anyone." You have to believe.

    Gets off his soapbox.. :blush:
  • jipsterjipster Louisville, KentuckyPosts: 5,722
    You have to fight the other sales people and mark your territory.

    You mean by spraying or urinating? I saw Jack Nicholson do this in the movie "Wolf". :sick:
  • micosilvermicosilver Posts: 212
    Here is my 2 cents:
    Shop for the right dealership:
    More expensive acrs will pay off the most, so if you can get hired at a highline - I would choose that over an economy brand.
    Try to go with the brand you like, you will have more credibility while selling.
    interview the people you are going to be working with, just like they interview you. you have to like them - you will be spending up to 10 hours a day with them.

    You have to have self-discipline to be successful. Go through the process, find something to do on the towntime, basically you are your own boss.

    You have to NEED to make money or to be sucessful. We all have seen it: some young hotshot sells 20 cars in a month, makes 10 grand, next month he can barely sell 5, because he is not disciplined, and he doesn't need the money that much.

    You have to have the strenth to go through the tough times. I start to get depressed by 12th of every month, because it's slow, not enough cars sold. Somehow I make it every month, but it's hard going a week without selling a car.
  • andeetandeet Posts: 142
    So having competitive drive would be another plus?
  • mackabeemackabee Posts: 4,709
    You bet!
  • andeetandeet Posts: 142
    I am 23 years old. I maybe shy in my private life but I am outgoing with costumers and willing to answer any questions. If its a question I don't have the answer; I usually find it. When I am passionate about my job; I have no major problems picking up the knowledge. Here's a sample, when I first worked with dogs I only knew little about the AKC breeds and training. Now I can give you small breed bio if anyone asked me "What about this breed?" Now I am cardboard box warehouse transfer picker and as I type this post I am watching a program on TV called "Shrink wrapped and boxed up." LOL

    Anyway, I am very competitive. I hate to lose! If I really bored out of my mind at work; If my product order is 25 pages, I will do 10 pages and bust my rear after lunch do the 15 to make it challenging.

    I've thought of doing sales few times. I am not really supermodel attractive but most people think of me as "Cute" and the "Girl Next Door." If I do I would want to sell Scion & Toyota.

    I'm aware some days you're not going to make any money. Maybe I'll give it try down the road when I'm financially in order
  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 13,319
    "...Do you enjoy making money?..."

    One out of six ain't bad. Sign me up! :)

    2019 Kia Soul+, 2015 Mustang GT, 2004 Chevy Van, 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible

  • colecole Posts: 67
    Is there any real chance of getting hired on at a highline dealership as your first foray into auto sales? I'm counting highline as BMW, Merc, Lexus, Infiniti(?), Jaguar(?), Porsche, Land Rover, (we even have a Maserati dealer in town but they're the showroom of a used car dealership). Some of you guys that are in Cincinnati, have I missed a brand?
  • nortsr1nortsr1 Posts: 1,060
    I also believe that added to the lists that have been mentioned...Know your product...inside and out...all the different makes and models that you are trying to sell and know what the competition is offering for comparison.
  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,302
    I guess it is all in you approach to how you want to sell.

    When I was on the floor I never really looked at it as though I had to sell the consumer on my product, I just had to educate them about it and build value in the car. The consumer is obviously interested in it or they would not be here in the first place. I looked at my competition as the other Ford Dealerships not the other brands.

    Granted I sold before the internet was a every day thing and there was not so much information available. Usually when some one came to look at a new model it was the first time they have seen it except on a TV or print add.

    Someone said earlier that you can't be a nice guy. Hey I believe I am one of the nicest people you would ever meet :D

    Product knowledge is king. Be an informed sales person and sell your self along with the car. Be able to point out everything on the car regardless if it is an entry model or the top dog you sell.

    I used to point out every thing I could think of right down to the most smallest detail even if it is standard on all models.

    The reason I did this was in case the consumer shopped me I would hope that there next stop was with a lazy sales person, and he was done with his presentation the consumer would think that my car has more equipment then the competitors

    That $15K entry level car you are showing the young couple is a huge investment from there stand point and they need to be treated the same as the guy looking to pay cash for $60K car.

    It always goes back to one thing to being succesfull though. Can you and your family handle the hours, and can you keep from going ballistic when you are on a 12 day slick spot and every night you kid says "did you sell anything today Daddy?" :D
  • madmanmoomadmanmoo Posts: 2,039
    Very tough for women as well. It can be a bit of a boy's club.

  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,458
    I started off in highline right away. I had zero auto sales experience before I started selling Land Rovers but I had been in the automotive industry for about eight years previously just on the service side.

    They said they didn't want to hire anyone with any bad habits that they would have to break.
  • madmanmoomadmanmoo Posts: 2,039
    Yes, there is a chance of that. It IS much slimmer though. I'm not sure many highline stores would be interested in training a complete greenpea. It certainly can't hurt to ask though.

  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,302
    I know I keep hammering on the hours and I meant to mention this in my last post but my schedule this weekend is a good example.

    Saturday 7:00am-9:00pm
    Sunday 10:00am-6:00pm
    Monday 7:00am-9:00pm

    So I will log 36 hours in the next 3 days.

    I am not whining, I knew the hours when I signed up for the job and after 14 years it is just a way of life now for me and my family. At least I am home in my own bed every night and not like the sales guys on the road that leave Monday morning and get home Friday night.
  • nortsr1nortsr1 Posts: 1,060
    You start selling cars at 7:00 A:M????? I never heard of an automobile dealership that opened that early, except for the "service" dept.
  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,302
    I get to work at 7:00am, it is a habit I got into when I sold. I would work the service lane every morning form 7:00am to 8:30am. Now it gives me about an hour or so to get my thoughts together, see what you knuckle heads wrote the night before, and get my game plan together for the day. Don't have to be here though till around 8:30am for a managers meeting.
  • micosilvermicosilver Posts: 212
    Is there any real chance of getting hired on at a highline dealership as your first foray into auto sales? I'm counting highline as BMW, Merc, Lexus, Infiniti(?), Jaguar(?), Porsche, Land Rover, (we even have a Maserati dealer in town but they're the showroom of a used car dealership). Some of you guys that are in Cincinnati, have I missed a brand?

    My dealership sells Audi, Volvo, VW and Mazda, so it is on the highline side.
    When I applied with them first - they didn't even respond, but then a guy that used to work there reffered me and I got hired right away, without car-selling experience. They actually prefer no experience - no bad habits.
    I also applied at Acura store, and got hired after 5 interviews, but I chose to go with the first dealership.
  • geffengeffen Posts: 278
    Now when you say work the service lane? Are you selling to service customers? Or handing out your card to people that may eventually trade what they have in for a new car?
  • geffengeffen Posts: 278
    From recent posts it appears some car salespeople put in long hours and have to suffer through dead periods of no customers. What happens if you do not make your quota of sales in a given month? Do you just not get paid? or do you eventually get fired?

    Also are there benefits to selling New vs Used?
This discussion has been closed.