How to Become a Car Salesman

To become a car salesman, you need talent, motivation, customer relations and sales skills. You will also need business and management skills as your career progresses.

Training and education

There are no formal qualifications requirements for car salespeople. The industry sets its own standards, and those standards are rising continually. The usual  basic education level is a high school diploma, with some background in sales. Automotive technology training, including on-board systems, is becoming a much more common basic requirement for employment.

Sales training starts on the job, after some classroom instruction in the case of large dealerships. This is basic sales work, but it takes a while to develop a good personal sales style and to learn sales techniques. The auto industry is one of the more demanding areas in sales. It's generally a high value retail market. It contains every practical element of retail sales work, and is excellent training for any sales career.

It's a sometimes tough training environment, even with the support and on the job guidance provided by employers. Trainees are expected to learn well, and achieve progress quickly. An auto sales business is based on turnover values, and sales performance is evaluated on results. Those who do well, however, can achieve a lot, even at this early stage. Good sales mean good money and promotional opportunities.

Training and career advancement

There are various career options in becoming a car salesman: Organizational and independent.  

Promotional positions are extremely important in this industry for organizational careers. They're an essential step forward and upwards. Salespeople who make the grade in sales performance can advance to supervisory, area or operational management, in some cases quite rapidly. These sales role types are the experience levels which become huge assets in later career development. They represent instant job mobility in many cases, if you're successful in these roles.

The promotional roles also come with added professional responsibilities. This is the stage of career development in which business training becomes an essential. The next stage in becoming a car sales professional is a real management role. The usual training requirements are Bachelor of Business Management or Administration, with a Masters degree a definite minimum requirement for major organizations.

Independent careers, allows some more freedom, but it's a "do it yourself" career. The business training, in this career path, is essential. Car dealerships are high capital businesses, and it's your capital on the line. You need to be an expert before you open your doors for business.

Many independent dealerships are extremely successful businesses. They demonstrate how to become a successful car salesman with their entire operation, including very good business models. Whatever form of car sales you're doing, they're very useful studies in good business practice.

Auto dealerships and licensing

You need formal licensing as an auto dealer to conduct business in the US. (Salespeople employed by licensed dealers are not categorized as dealers.) Specific requirements vary depending on your type of dealership, used, new, wholesale, etc., which state you obtain your license. You'll also require a range of commercial licenses depending on the nature of your dealership, whether you operate as an auto broker, and in terms of work conducted like repairs, etc.