There is no question that things are changing about the way we sell cars today, but talk about the car salesman a dying breed is crazy talk. Sure front-end grosses are down, competition is fiercer and some dealerships are even changing their pay plans, but the car salesman is still a vital part of selling cars and they will be for many years to come. The Internet and the abundance of car buying websites available to consumers are changing the car buying process, but it doesn’t mean that the need for car sales professionals is disappearing it simply means that the car salesman, dealers and the auto industry needs to change and adapt accordingly.
The Old School Car Salesmen Have to Go
There are still plenty of car dealerships around that continue to use old school car sales techniques and do very little sales training if any that does little more than give the car business and especially the car salesman a bad name. Don’t get me wrong I really miss some of the ways we sold cars in the past, but we have to change if we are going to continue selling cars in the future.
The competition is too fierce and the automakers are getting more particular about C.S.I., customer complaints and sales volume. It’s way too easy to lose a customer to your competitor if you continue to sell cars as we did in the past. Many of these old school sales veterans have become sales managers and they are having a hard time letting go of their roots. I am not saying that we need to run the old timers out I am just saying that we all need to change and adapt to the car buyer of today before the car salesman becomes a dying breed.
Stop Blaming the Internet for the Demise of the Car Salesman
Sure the Internet has changed the way cars are sold today, but there is much more to consider before you start pointing fingers. The Internet is only the medium, but it does give consumers to ability to easily access websites like TrueCar, Edmunds.com and so many other websites that give car buyers the information that we would rather not divulge. However the information they provide is not pulled out of thin air. It’s actually provided by automakers, dealers, salespeople and others members of the automobile industry.
Websites Like Edmunds.com and TrueCar provide dealer invoice and the prices that people have paid to purchase cars. These types of vendors have access to the thousands of dealers DMS (Dealer Management Systems), which they use to display what other people paid for their car. They do not set the prices or the discounts and they do not publish dealer holdback or dealer programs they only publish consumer programs.
The dealers submit the prices, determine the discounts and allow access to their internal management systems, yet most people blame these websites when most of the information is provided by individual dealerships. So who is really to blame for lower gross profits? The Internet is only the medium, but everybody blames the Internet not the dealers, poorly trained salesmen, poor customer service and old school sales techniques that turn off customers.
Do the Automakers Care About the Car Salesmen and Dealers?
When you talk to people that have been in the business of selling cars for years the question of whether the automakers really care about their dealers, sales staff and dealer gross profits always comes out. Many feel that the auto manufacturers are only concerned with sales volume and market share. Well guess what they are because that’s what the automakers do, they make and sell cars in order to make a profit for the company that pays their salary. They have always done this and they will always do this. It’s the dealer’s responsibility to manage their dealership profitably and it’s the car salesman’s job to sell cars and earn a salary. Everybody has a job to do so stop blaming the automakers and the Internet.
Car Dealerships Can Do Their Part
In order to make a dealership profitable and keep the car salesman from going away forever they have to do their part. The dealership needs to create an environment that provides and excellent customer experience in all departments. If a car salesman doesn’t believe in the dealership, management and their product they won’t be as productive and profitable as they could be. Change starts in the office of the GM and flows downhill. Dealers must make the changes needed to be current which includes thoroughly training their car salesmen, managers and other staff. They should be very particular about who they hire to work with customers and compensate them fairly. Stop counting on Sales Managers to make the sale and teach your sales people to become professionals that sell more cars.
What Can the Car Salesman Do to Preserve the Profession?
Many successful car salesmen know what they need to do to and they do it every single day all over the world as you can see by my latest poll titled “How Much Do Car Salesmen Make”. I examine and analyze thousands of car sales every year plus ones that don’t sell. I am happy and proud to say that I see a respectable numbers of sales that 2K, 3K and 4K grosses on a regular basis and some even bigger ones from time to time. I am not talking about grosses on used cars; I am talking about new cars. Sure I see plenty of “Mini Deals”, but there were “mini deals” 10 years and 15 years ago too!
After analyzing deals, observing sales management and staff and talking to customers after they bought and didn’t buy I have learned some very valuable information that I will detail in future articles. To sum up that info success as a car salesman today boils down to being a professional car salesman that respects their customers provides prompt, courteous and knowledgeable service that provides value to their clients. They sell themselves, the dealership and the car. There are still more customers than you thought that would rather buy their next car from a car salesman that is credible, reliable and available before during and after the sale. You don’t have to ask are car salesmen a dying breed when you provide a valuable service because you can still make respectable commissions and earn a sizable car salesman salary selling cars anywhere for dealers that appreciate professionals that create customers that come back again and again.
Later, Fresh Up on the Lot,