Car Salesman Salary, Job Description & Responsibilities

Also known as a car representative, a car salesman is a retail man or woman who sells brand-new or used cars and can be either employed by brand new car dealerships or new car dealerships.

car salesman salary

Car Salesman Job Responsibilities

  • Selling vehicles only after thoroughly understanding and exhibiting capabilities, features and characteristics
  • Securing sales and qualifying buyers for purchase
  • Sealing the deal and closing sales

Car Salesman Job Duties

  • Having comprehensive knowledge and understanding of different automobiles, their features and characteristics, such as engine size, mileage, gas usability, and colors, quick comparing and contrasting of different competitive models and examining cars.
  • Expanding customer base and strengthening the loyalty of existing customers through suggesting trade-ins, greeting drop-ins, answering questions, accepting and acting upon feedback, recommending promotions and sales campaigns.
  • Selling extra features. Once you have you found a potential customer, you may also want to sell those additional features like cooled and heated seats, navigation, extended warranty program, and blind spot detection. Finalizing the sale of these supplementary features will be a lot easier if you find out in advance what your customers need and want.
  • Discussing in detail the budgets and pricing. Ask their customers what their budget allows and then offer them your best deal while at the same time making sure you make the most of the sale too. Offer a flexible payment period for your customer by inquiring whether they would like a lower monthly payment and extended loan period, or vice versa.

Some customers will not be interested in installments and will only talk about a lump sum. In such a case, try to lower the total price and if that doesn’t seem possible, offer them extra features like a year’s worth of road tax at zero additional cost or other added features that you think will make the deal seem more lucrative, both for the business and the customer.

  • Qualifying buyers for the purchase after thoroughly understanding their interests and requirements, building rapport, and finally matching the interests and requirements to different car models.
  • Discussing the price with the manager. Seal the deal by quoting to your manager the price of the car the customer is interested in at a lower level. For instance, if the customer has agreed upon paying $300 per month, quote this price to your manager as $250. This will give you more credibility and the achievement of a pleased customer who may in return refer the business to his or her friends that will result in a higher Customer Satisfaction Index.
  • Sealing the car deals after negotiating the price, overcoming objections, completing purchase or sales contracts, explaining the process of provisions, offering and explaining financing options, warranties and services, collecting payments, and delivering cars. Once the pricing has been sorted out and a definite number been given from the manager, the sale is completed after signing the paperwork, arranging a collection date, and staying in contact with the customer even in the future to prevent any issues.
  • Providing comprehensive sales management information through the completion of reports.
  • Continuously upgrades the job related knowledge through participating in various educational opportunities like workshops, referring to professional publications.
  • Improving dealership image by accepting ownership for achieving new and different requests, searching for new opportunities to add extra value to job achievements.
  • Establishing and maintaining a follow-up system with customers to encourage increased business referrals.
  • Carefully reviewing sales data and statistics to plan more effectively for the future with the aim of boosting sales and enhancing brand image.
  • Performing a walk-around with old and new customers and demonstrating features of vehicles that they are interested in.
  • Arranging a test drive. Test drives are critical for a car sale since most customers need the assurance whether are investing in the right car. When taking the customer to a test drive, inquire which aspects and features of the vehicle do they especially like and how they are different from their previous car.

Tell them to be honest if they don’t like any features, functionality or feel of the car and then use those points to find another suitable car for them. Politely ask if the customer is prepared to seal the deal with the car and give them space to ponder over their decision. If their answer is no, try recommending other cars you think would be a better fit.

Car Salesman Requirements- Tasks, Skills, Knowledge and Responsibilities

  • A current and valid driver’s license
  • A minimum of one year experience in the car selling industry
  • Documentation and financial skills
  • Possessing basic knowledge and understanding of car depreciation, federal, state and local law governing the automobile guide, equity and values.
  • Neat and smart personality. A positive attitude towards customers.
  • Achieving the minimum set quotas as per the dealership standards.
  • Telephone, communication and listening skills. Must be able to communicate and explain technical jargons to a layman easily.
  • Must possess qualities, such as excellent negotiation and persuasive skills, both in terms of new and used cars.
  • Must be confident, polite and aware of the general matters taking place in the world.
  • Job knowledge
  • Customer focus. Efficiently answering customers’ queries and solving concerns.

Car Salesman Salary

On average, a car salesperson can earn up to $80,000 annually. Some dealerships may choose the commission system per car sale coupled with weekly salaries in times of no sales. Whatever the case, as of 2013, average annual sales recorded of car salesmen was $79,000 (according to Simply Hired)

However, the factors that will impact the salary from individual to individual include the level of experience in the industry, level of education, extra skills related to the job, the region in which the business is operating in, prior job-related achievements, and other financial rewards, like commissions and bonuses.

What Are The Educational Requirements for Becoming A Car Salesman?

Becoming a car salesman doesn’t necessarily call for a college degree. A high school degree will be required while most of the training will be conducted on the job. Mentioned below are the different educational requirements for different career level pertaining to car salesmanship.

Non-Management Careers

A car salesman who isn’t interested in pursuing a managerial position generally will not need a college education, even though some dealers may prefer their employees to hold a bachelor’s or an associate’s degree. Marketing and business courses are helpful, and will most likely reduce the time spent on induction training and workshops. Depending on the size of the dealership, these training sessions typically include customer service and sales techniques.

Management Track Careers

People aiming for management positions at a dealership will most probably require a college degree, and this is usually specified by the employer. They will inform candidates if they need a bachelor’s or an associate’s degree. Holding a bachelor’s degree in business administration or marketing could be more appealing and valuable to potential customers.

Most of the time, candidates will not be required to have a degree in a particular discipline. Dealerships may offer various ways to dive into managerial positions, some of which are recruiting salesmen as management trainees or promoting experienced salesmen.

Management Degrees and Auto Sales

Car salesmen interested in advancing their managerial positions will have a choice of completing two or four-year degrees in automotive management which are slightly different from majoring in business administration. Getting a degree in automotive management gives an individual the knowledge and skills for managing a dealership.

Courses focusing on auto service, auto parts, vehicle warranties, finance and advertising are pretty common. Sales degrees involving the study of technology and auto sales are also available, and are more common at technical schools and junior colleges.


The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) supports various kinds of automotive training. With six different career programs in dealership, NADA’s academy is a popular and effective way of getting your degree. Examples of courses include department management, operations, consumer sales and fleet sales.

The General Dealership Management Academy of NADA pays close attention to preparing experts for general manager roles and involves classes in decision making proficiency and financial analysis. Its Special Ops Program offers an in-depth focused training for service, parts and sales managers.

Skills Needed To Become a Good Car Salesman

Contrary to popular belief, being a car salesman is not restricted to just selling a product to the customer, but involves other factors, such as authenticity, personality, appearance and the ability to persuade. Since they are the first people to meet the customers and thereby play a key role in making either a long-lasting positive or negative impression, car salesmen can be seen as one of the major determinants of the business’s growth and well being. The following set of skills and qualities play a great role in establishing the effectiveness of an individual as a car salesman

Making an Impact on the Customers

As discussed, in instances like these, the first impression really is the last impression. To leave a positive impact on the customer, deal with them efficiently and friendly at the same time. Make them feel welcomed and valued by greeting them (shake hands if necessary) and create small talk. In most instances, this may be awkward, yet it is still the best way to build rapport and help them feel at ease.

Now the trick here is to not directly jump into the conversation of cars. Instead, talk about themselves, about their job, family, and interests. Find something of mutual interest to build a relationship. However, gauge if the customer is getting irritated or is not chatty. Trying to pursue a conversation with someone who doesn’t return the interest can just be as unfavorable.

Don’t Pretend

Be authentic. Most customers can detect when the salesman is being fake, and that just gives a bad impression. So, instead of focusing on getting your job done, really care about the interests and needs of your customers. Be patient and guide them through their decision rather than forcing them.

Ask Good Questions

Instead of asking broad or simple ‘yes’ or ’no’ ’questions which will most likely result in your lost chance of selling a car, try questions like ‘Are you looking for a SUV or sedan today?’ Don’t be pushy and follow them around the showroom, making it plain annoying.

Don’t Be Gullible

Most of the times, customers bring in a white lie about how they cannot afford or how cheaper a deal down the street is being offered. Overcome these statements and objections with an understanding approach, nevertheless staying persistent.

Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

Know what goes on in the showroom. Learn more about the cars on hand, any promotions and special deals being offered, cars suitable for people with bad credit, and any other features that will be beneficial to the customers.

Be Aware Of Competitors’ Products

Do your research and learn how your customers would benefit by buying from your dealership and then convey to them the reasons. Not only does this leave a good impression on your customers but also makes sure no one tries to fool you with incorrect information in the hopes of sealing a deal. Although this will require a lot of studying, at the end of the day it will be worth it since you will know exactly what gives your product the edge and avoid the chances of making something up and lying to the customers.

Following Up With Potential Customers

After properly learning about the customer and affirming their interest in purchasing from you, write down all the information in order to easily reach them in the future. Remember not to overdo the calls and emails since it will only annoy people who were not interested in buying in the first place.

Also See: Sales Associate Job Description, Duties and Salary

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