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So You Want to Be a Better Car Salesman.

Updated on June 18, 2019
Stephen P Signorelli profile image

Stephen has spent most of his life in sales and has extensive knowledge of the car sales industry.

You want to be a better car salesman?

If you want to be a better car salesman, then you have come to the right place. Understand, the advice I am going to give you will fly in the face of everything you have been trained to think or believe about car sales. This is because your managers, and dealers are stuck in their old ways, unable or unwilling to realize their time has come and gone, and a new way of car sales has become the norm. They continue to cling to their old ways, where the customer was seen as a target, and the goal was to separate them from their money.

So strap yourself in because I am about to lay some truth down upon thee!

These days are over!
These days are over! | Source

The old days are over, face up to it.

The good old days weren't always good and tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems. This lyric from the great Billy Joel song "Keepin the faith" is very fitting for the car salesman. The old days where a customer came in, looked at a car, and you bartered, argued, negotiated, and battled for hours is OVER! The time of manipulating the price of a new car, setting the price point at different levels, and running roughshod over the trade in has RUN OUT!

Unfortunately, the old guard of the industry refuses to change their attitudes and ways. Case in point: I once had a Floor Manager who was 65 and was stuck in the old ways of doing business. He could not and would not adjust to the times. He 100% believed it was the car salesman's job to get the customer into the car HE wanted, to maximize profits, and not into the car the CUSTOMER WANTED. His attitude was to lead the customer where WE wanted them to go, not where THEY wanted to go.

In this age of internet pricing, Kelly Blue Book, Cars dot com, and Carmax, this is a radically outdated way of thinking. Having a one size fits all way of looking at a customer is not only morally wrong, it is a terrible way to do business.

If you want to be a better car salesman, you have to accept the fact that customers embrace technology and have access to information at the same level you do. You cannot (and you should not) browbeat them into something for the sake of making a bigger commission check.

A good car salesman will understand and adapt to the changing landscape of the industry. He/she will evolve, and not go extinct like the vast majority of the old guard who now occupy management positions will be doing very shortly.

Take it easy.

For most people, buying a car is a stressful experience, akin to having a root canal. Many times this is an unplanned or unwanted purchase but is a necessary one due to a vehicle breaking down or some other unforeseen event. So, realize that your customer you just walked up to on the lot may not be having the best day because of it.

My way of approaching a customer was always the same. I approached them, with my little notepad open and my pen out and I greeted them with: "Hello, welcome to Steak N Shake, my name is Steve, how may I take your order?"

Laugh all you want but 90% of the time it got me a smile, a laugh, and 50% of the time the customer would actually play along and place an order. This is an ICE BREAKER and it works. You can use any variation of it, but the point is as humans we usually judge a person within 60 seconds of meeting them. First impressions mean A LOT so make a good one.

Try and make the car buying experience a pleasant, even fun one. Do not get silly or go too overboard, but the more you can make your customer smile, laugh, or put them at ease, the better a chance you will have at selling them the vehicle. Even if you don't, they WILL remember you and THAT is the key to building a network of referrals and future customers.

Remember, whatever your floor manager may believe, it is still THE CUSTOMER'S MONEY and therefore, it is vitally important to them they get the best bang for their buck.

Do you look forward to the experience of buying a car?

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Do Not Lie

If you want to be a better car salesman, this is the most important thing:


I mean, you should not lie anyway regardless of what you do, but in an industry where the stereotype is that all car salesman are liars, you need to be the one who doesn't lie.

Customers can and will find out if you beat them up on the price of the new vehicle. They CAN and WILL go online to compare pricing, so it is pointless, stupid, and immoral to try and deceive them. They also have nearly the same type of research tools you have with regards to appraising their trade in, so do not bother low balling them so much that you look like a crook.

I know, your floor manager is telling you the opposite. They are making generalizations based on their 30+ years of experience, at least that is what they are telling you. But, like I said before, they are stuck in the old ways and the old ways included lying and deception and it DOES NOT WORK ANYMORE!

Be honest, be upfront. Give them the best price first pencil, not 3rd or 4th. Give them the best you can on their trade, do not lowball them by a thousand or so and watch them walk just so you can try and make a little more.

Every customer you treat with honesty is a customer that will tell all their friends that they got an honest deal. And they will send their friends to YOU. Over time, your network of referrals will grow organically, and you will reach the point where you will not have to go work an up on the lot...all because you were HONEST.

Stay in contact but do not be annoying!

If you want to be a better car salesman you will NOT forget about your customer after the sale. You have all their information, so take advantage of it. Send them a card on their birthday. Drop them a line every now and then to ask how the vehicle is. Call every few months and check up on them and see if there is anything they need.

Do NOT be annoying, but do not let them forget you!

Your floor manager will try and tell you to call them constantly because in the old days, that is how it is done. But it is pointless now because with smartphones people can see it is you at the dealership calling and they can just not answer or, even worse, block you. So do NOT be that annoying salesman who is always bothering me when I am trying to watch Ancient Aliens.

In conclusion...

These were just a few tips on how you can be a better car salesman. To summarize:

The old days are over

Take it easy


Stay in contact

Do not be annoying

If you follow just these few tips, you can and will be a better car salesman.

Thank you for reading. Comments are welcome and appreciated. Have a great day!

© 2019 Stephen P Signorelli


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