Have you ever thought about what it’s like to be a car salesperson? Let us give you a peek behind the curtains and take you through a day in the life of a car salesperson to see what it takes to excel in this in-demand career track.
Car salespeople operate under normal business hours, usually between 8 am and 6 pm, depending on the dealership. Dealerships want to remain active when most customers are active, so it is rare to see a dealership open much later than 6 pm.
Throughout the week, car salespeople will work on average of about 40 hours per week with the opportunity for overtime. Most of this time is spent indoors at the office, but car sales people do need to show cars to customers on the lot and may take the vehicles for short test drives if necessary.
A People Profession
Whether you’re a used car salesperson or you work directly with a specific manufacturer, car salespeople speak with a lot of people on a daily basis. As such, their profession requires excellent people skills and the “gift of the gab.” From the moment a car salesperson sits down on the office chair to the second he or she switches off the showroom lights, it’s nonstop talking, explaining and reassuring.
Of course, car salespeople have to know a lot about the cars they’re selling. Customers ask every question under the sun, and their decision to buy or not to buy can be based on how well their salesperson communicates the benefits of the car. To prepare for the onslaught of questions, car salespeople need to be well versed in their cars.
Part of the art of selling also comes from knowing in an instant what the customer needs and wants - two very different things. A great car salesperson is able to listen to what the customer is asking for and reinterpret their needs and wants in a vehicle. It may seem easy, but on the whole, it takes a keen eye and listening skills to be able to process and deliver exactly what the customer is looking for at such a rapid speed.
Car salespeople guide customers through the whole sales process; they don’t hand them off to another person to complete the sale. That means that car salespeople also have to have an understanding of each customer’s financial situation and what they can really afford. It will be up to the car salesperson to negotiate a sale that is profitable for the dealership without scaring away the customer. Car salespeople also have to walk customers through the loan application process, which can be confusing and intimidating for some customers. With reassurance and helpful advice, car salespeople can successfully convince even the most sceptical buyers to take the plunge and buy a car.
Skills Used Daily
On any given day, car salespeople use a number of different skills to close sales and ensure customer satisfaction.
To make those sales, all car salespeople need to have basic financial knowledge. With each sale, they will start the loan application process, and they must know how to calculate monthly payments and do basic percentage math if they’re giving any types of discounts.
Of course, strong communication and people skills are a must, but so is time management - something few people remember about the car selling industry. Car salespeople need to keep careful track of their time throughout the day as they help customers. They have to learn to balance their time with customers and ensure that everyone gets equal time and attention.
Salary and Benefits
One of the biggest perks of being a car salesperson is that it is possible to impact how much a person makes based on how hard he or she works. For most car salespeople, the yearly salary is about $38,000 per year, according to PayScale.
Though all car salespeople are paid a salary, they are also paid based on how much they sell, called commission. If a car salesperson sells a large number of cars per month, then they get a cut of the money made from each sale. The percentage given to the salesperson will vary from dealership to dealership, but more sales do certainly equal more money.
Additionally, if a sales team continues to meet its goals, then there’s a good chance that a bonus may be in order as well. For the car salesperson willing to put in the work, the payout can be well worth it.
How to Get Started
As the old adage says, you have to walk before you can run. The same can be said about becoming a car salesperson. You can’t just waltz into a dealership and ask for a job. They’ll want to see your qualifications and credentials, and if you don’t have either, they won’t be too eager to hire you.
To get the job, you’ll need a Certificate III in Automotive Sales from the Kangan Institute. This course arms students with the necessary skills in retail, service and repair needed to excel in this industry.
As you work towards your certification, you’ll also do some apprenticeship work for a dealership to help you get started in the industry. As an apprentice, you’ll learn how to understand automotive components, access information managing databases and build strong, positive customer relationship skills that will come in handy once you’re in control of the salesroom floor.
Once you earn your certificate, you’ll be ready to step out on that sales floor brimming with confidence. Get involved in this profession and see where it might take you.
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