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On the Job: What Is It Like Being a Car Salesman?

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what is it like being a car salesman salary requirements job description

Are you interested in becoming a car salesman? Maybe you should consider it

Car salesmen typically get a bad rap in media and pop culture, yet most car dealerships aren’t starving for applicants. Why are many people drawn to being car salesmen, and what does the job involve? Here’s a general overview of what it’s like being a car salesman.

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Requirements for being a car salesman

car salesman used car paperworkOne of the main draws of becoming a car salesman is the lack of requirements when it comes to education and prior experience. A career as a car salesman doesn’t usually require a degree, unless that particular dealership expects it. If you have a high school diploma, people skills, and a drive to succeed, that’s typically enough for the managers to hire you. You’ll be trained on the job, receiving guidance on sales techniques and the auto industry. If you have a degree, that’s great, but it probably won’t benefit you on a daily basis.

The financial benefits of selling cars

The annual salary of a car salesman differs vastly from person to person due to factors such as tenure, the price/prestige of the vehicles being sold, the amount paid in commission per sale, and the number of vehicles a person sells. According to estimates by Jason Lancaster of, the average car salesman makes about $40,000 a year, which includes about $250-$300 commission per vehicle sale. If a person sells a lot of cars, far exceeding their quota, they could make $60,000 or more, and the dealership might even increase that person’s commission rate. That’s not bad for a job that doesn’t require a degree or physical labor.

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An average day at a dealership

The job generally requires 40-50 hours of work a week, often involving nights and weekends, and the average quota requires employees to sell between around 8-12 cars. Thus, most of an average day involves either following up on leads or working with walk-in prospects that will hopefully lead to signed deals.

The stress of the environment depends a lot on how the managers treat you and the environment fostered in the dealership. If managers are supportive and encouraging, it can be an exciting place to work, but if managers are critical and coworkers are ruthless, it can be a challenging job. It takes fortitude to maintain a smile and courteousness after spending hours on test drives with a potential customer who ends up not buying a car. You must be positive and resolute to be successful as a salesman.

If you’re interested in getting experience in a sales position but aren’t sure what you want to do exactly, being a car salesmen is a good place to start. You might end up loving it, but even if it’s a rough experience that only lasts a year, you’ll still walk away with valuable sales experience and a better understanding of your strengths.

Sources: Auto Cheat Sheet, Huffington Post

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