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Tips on How to Be a Successful Car Salesman

Arthur has worked for 16 years in the new and used automobile industry. He's a sales force trainer, sales manager, and closer.

How to be a good car salesman

How to be a good car salesman

Car Sales Tips

So, you want a job selling cars, but you are not sure if you have what it takes. Depending on your circumstances, selling cars can be very rewarding, or it could turn into one of your life's biggest nightmares. I will try to make it easy for you by providing some tips from my 16 years of experience.

The biggest thing to remember is that selling cars is not about you. It is about your customer. If you keep in mind what your customer wants and needs and do your best to satisfy them, you will do fine.

Steps to Become a Successful Car Salesman

  1. Prepare yourself for the meet and greet.
  2. Qualifying: Find out what your customer requires to purchase a car.
  3. When choosing the vehicle, figure out your customer's financial requirements.
  4. When negotiating, use a four square system to negotiate the vehicle's price and payment.

Step 1: Meet and Greet

The first thing you will need to do is to meet a customer on the lot. Try and be there when they pull in as this will keep your competitor salespeople off your op (short for opportunity).

Let them get out of the car by acknowledging the customer with a hello. When they have all exited the vehicle, use a nice greeting such as "Good Afternoon! Welcome to Shady Motors my name is Tom and you are?"

Let everyone introduce themselves and shake their hand, thanking them for coming into your store.

The "Meet and Greet" might sound simple enough, but it is much more complex than you would believe. Within the first thirty seconds of meeting you, your customer will form an opinion of you in their minds.

Everything counts, from your smile to your clothes. Everything about you will be scrutinized. If the customer forms an unfavorable opinion of you immediately, all is not lost but you will have to work harder to close a deal.

Step 2: Qualifying

Once everyone has been welcomed to the dealership, it is time to find out what your customer requires to purchase a car.

When you ask a question, be prepared to keep quiet and listen to the answer. Many new salespeople think that they have to keep talking to entertain the customer. This is not true. The customer would much rather talk about themselves for the most part than listen to you.

Questions to get them talking:

  • "What brought you into our store today?"
  • "Which vehicle did you come to look at?"
  • "Did you see our advertisement?" Finding out if it was an ad that brought them in is very important. The amount of money a dealership spends on advertising is astronomical. Knowing which ads are working is imperative to a dealership so they can focus on advertising that works.

It is also important to know what your dealer's ads are, which vehicles are in the ads, as well as their prices in the ads. You will need to know how the ad is structured as well; is there cash down or a trade reflected in a price or payment?

This conversation should not last very long but will give you a few minutes to feel your customer out. If there is more than one, try and figure out which one will be the mouthpiece (the one who will most likely answer your questions), but never ignore anyone in the group as you never know what kind of influence each person has over the buyer.

It is also during this conversation that you should try and find out which part of the group is actually looking to buy a vehicle.

If there is only a single person, try and get to know as much as you can about them. Get them talking for once on a roll, a customer will lay out everything for you that you need to close a deal with them.

Step 3: Choosing a Vehicle

The choice of which vehicle to buy is of course the whole point of the customer coming to your dealership.

If the customer is financing and wants to be at two hundred dollars a month, putting them in a thirty thousand dollar car will be a mistake. It will be easy to get a customer to fall in love with a high-priced car but when you get inside, you will be disappointed.

If you have your customers drive a car they cannot afford, it will be much harder to get them to like a cheaper car as much as a high-end car.

If the customer does not know what they want to spend or they will not tell you, start showing them the cheapest cars you have until you find something they like.

If they pick out the vehicle, they cannot blame you for the payment being higher than they wanted to pay.

Step 4: Negotiations

You will probably be using the four square system to negotiate the vehicle's price and payment. The four square is a pretty standard system which psychologically makes it easier to make a profit.

Remember, the salesman's job is not to sell cars, it is to make a profit on the cars sold. The four squares are:

  1. Price: This is the last thing you want to discuss as any movement in the price means less profit for your store.
  2. Payment: This is your main negotiating tool. The higher the payment, the more profit margin you can hold.
  3. Trade: This can be a manipulative tool as any lowering of the price will automatically raise the value of the trade without actually giving the customer more for their vehicle.
  4. Cash Down: Another manipulative tool as more cash down will naturally lower the payment.

Your best two tools in the four square system are the cash down and the payment. Both of these boxes can be recalculated without lowering the price at all.

As a salesman, your job is to get a commitment from the customer at any price. You need to get the customer to take mental ownership by telling you, "If the price is right I will buy the car today."

Once you receive a commitment, either you or a manager will come in and close the deal. When you first start out, a manager called a T.O. will come in. His job is to bump the customer. The bump is getting more money from the customer.

  • Try to ask questions which elicit a positive response. Some examples: Do you like the car? Could you see yourself driving this car? Would you buy the car today? Nod your head yes as you ask these questions.
  • Make eye contact when talking to your customer. Do not stare but make sure that eye contact is made.
  • Mirror your customer's actions. If they cross their arms you cross your arms. If they rub their chin you rub your chin. This will get you psychologically closer to your customer.
  • When you are at the desk, do not discuss any numbers if the customer is sitting there with their arms crossed. This is a defensive posture and is not conducive to closing deals.
  • Talk about anything other than the car until the arms become natural. Then go in for the close.

Questions for Me?

If I can answer any questions about selling or buying used cars or trucks feel free to send me a message.

I would be happy to help with any aspect of car sales. Good luck and good selling!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.