Automotive Sales Person

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Come in, sit down, and make yourself comfortable. Over the next two days, we're going to cover the basic steps in selling a car. You'll learn about greeting potential buyers, will be required to role play, and will understand the basics of the paper work required to complete a sale. Joe, director of training for the Motor Dealers' Association of Alberta, gives a speech similar to this dozens of times a year as he begins sales courses for dealerships across the province.

Despite what some people believe, selling cars is never easy. And not everyone's cut out for the job. "It's hard work, like anything else," Joe said. "You've got to be prepared to find your own customers, and most sales people work Saturdays. You've got to understand the product, what options are available, the inventory, and you have to know about the industry."

The people who come into the industry having done some other kind of work thinking 'I'll go back if I don't like it,' a high percentage of the time they fail.

(Those selling recreational vehicles (Rvs) face similar demands, but deal with a different clientele. Those wanting an RV require their needs for comfort and relaxation to be met. And in terms of inventory, sales people must also know about fridges, stoves, propane and other accessories found in an RV that aren't available in an automobile.)

Knowing the product is the easy part, although many customers today are fully versed on options and models available for all types of vehicles. Whenever dealing with the public, especially when they may be parting with money, that's where the job gets hard. While there's no magic solution to dealing with people -- everyone's different -- some things do help. "It's all in the attitude," Joe said. "The people who come into the industry having done some other kind of work thinking 'I'll go back if I don't like it,' a high percentage of the time they fail. To give it two months doesn't give it justice. And that's fairly prevalent."

Those who do find success often stay in the position because of the freedom sales offers. While hours are spent each week on the phone tracking new potential customers or following up with current clients, and completing paper work, each sales person is, in a way, his/her own little company. The dealership provides the autos, the office, the support, the sales person has to find people willing to purchase the product.

A lot of people not well educated fall behind because they can't keep up with the paperwork, or read the brochures. But, there's always exceptions.

Getting someone to say "I'll take it" never comes without people rejecting the offers. And today's auto sales people still have to confront the stereotype they're only there to sell a vehicle at an unreasonable price. "The top people don't take (rejection) personally," Joe said. "It's a hard thing to get used to, but the top people in any industry understand that and move on. They don't dwell on it. Today you might be selling this person a car, and tomorrow you might be coaching their son's baseball team. Today they might not like you, but tomorrow they'll like the role you play."

When someone says they'll take the vehicle, the salesperson often -- although this varies from dealership to dealership -- gives the customer and explanation about leasing possibilities, and will complete the paperwork for the deal. (The paperwork then, goes to the business manager who will talk to the customer about various types of insurance or extended warranties.) While Joe admits the job as salesperson is not complicated, those with at least a Grade 12 education are often more successful. "It makes it tougher without it, I've found," he said. "A lot of people not well educated fall behind because they can't keep up with the paperwork, or read the brochures. But, there's always exceptions."

The average sales course Joe offers runs two days. Some dealerships, however, have their sales people take training as long as one week, or as short as a half day. Further training from auto manufacturers is also available through many dealerships. Professional to dressy casual attire is the common dress code for sales people throughout the province.