The lure of a challenging and well-paying opportunity -- along with a new car -- may have piqued your interest in an auto sales career. But before you get revved up about those big commissions and new wheels, consider whether your personality is a good fit for the business. You'll also want to take some time to research the many brands out there to find one you'd be truly passionate about representing.
With the right mix of motivation and enthusiasm for your product, you'll be on the road to a successful new career. These guidelines will help you stay on course.
Know Your Personality
What kinds of people do best in auto sales? Ken Bratz, owner of Leadership Resources and Consulting in Palestine, Texas, says “top performers have a utilitarian trait, which is a value that separates the good from the great.”
Mike Sadler, pre-owned sales manager for Beaman Toyota in Nashville, says that “before venturing off in our game, a salesperson has to be very disciplined, self-motivated, team-oriented, driven by self-achievement and have an ownership mentality.”
Some dealers now use personality tests to help them hire the best people and devise training programs for them. Bratz points out that such tests also help salespeople focus on what drives their best efforts.
Pick the Dealership
Seek a manufacturer and dealership that fit your personality -- those you can represent with professionalism and honesty. Do your own research, and then apply for a job if you feel you would be proud to represent the dealership and brand. At the interview, be sure to ask your own questions:
- How often does management train its staff?
- How does the dealership measure performance in its salespeople?
- What traits does a salesperson need to have to be a top performer at the dealership?
Also ask a sales manager at the dealership if he would allow you to sit in on a sales meeting or watch a salesperson in action. This will help you know what to expect on the job.
Learn to Believe in Your Product
Once you've picked a dealer and brand, you need to learn everything you can about the product you're selling. If you aren't interested in learning about your product, why should your potential customer care about it? By learning about the autos you're selling, you're not only building your knowledge and showing your resourcefulness, but also conveying your passion for the brand.
One thing you can do to keep learning about the brand you are selling is to take a brochure from the dealership home every night. Read it from cover to cover. Include this knowledge in your presentation to customers, but remember to sell the information, not just repeat it. Customize the information to fit your individual selling style and personality. Remember, the very first sell you make to a customer is you; you need to allow the customer to trust you.
You Are What You Do
“You must look at auto sales as a career and not just a job,” says Eric Carr, general sales manager for Gary Force Toyota in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Invest in yourself, and be loyal to your team as you learn your trade.
Learn more about sales careers.