4 Ways To Actually Make Money Selling Cars

So you want a career selling cars but you are not sure if you have the skills to make it. Depending on your current situation, being an Automotive Sales Consultant can be very rewarding or it could be a HUGE mistake for you.

I will do my best to simplify it for you by providing some tips from my seventeen years of experience.

The biggest thing to remember is selling cars is not about you. It is about your customer. If you keep the needs and wants of your customers as the priority and do your best to satisfy them, you will do fine.

Step 1: Meet and Greet

The first thing you will need to do is to meet a customer on the lot or in the showroom. Do your best to be there when they pull in as this will keep other sales consultants away from your op (short for opportunity).

Let them get out of the car but acknowledge them by saying “hello”. When they have all stepped out and away from their vehicle, use a nice greeting such as “Good Afternoon and Welcome to ABC Motors my name is Brian (your name) and you are?”

Introduce yourself to EVERYONE and shake their hands, thank them for coming into your store. Truth is they could be at any other dealership but they are at yours giving you a chance to earn their business.

Meeting and Greeting a guest might sound simple enough, but it is much more complex and done poorly more times than you would believe. Within the first thirty seconds of meeting you, your customer is judging you and will form an opinion of you in their minds.

Everything counts from your smile, your clothes, even the way you smell. Everything about you will be scrutinized. If the customer forms an negative opinion of you immediately, the game isn’t over but you will have to work harder to regain trust in order to help them buy.

Step 2: Qualifying

Once everyone has been welcomed to the dealership, it is time to find out what your customers problem or needs are. They have a transportation problem of some kind and it’s the responsibility of the sales consultant to get them to share it with them. Not the customers responsibility to walk in with diarrhea of the mouth and tell you everything willingly.

When you ask a question be prepared to keep quiet and listen with the intent to understand the problem. Many new salespeople think that they have to keep talking to entertain the customer. This is not true. The customer would much rather talk about themselves rather than listen to you.

Questions to get them talking:

  • “What brought you into our showroom (showroom is more relaxing than dealership) today?”
  • “Which vehicle would you like information on?”
  • “Did you hear about our big sale?” Finding out if it was an ad that brought them in is very important. The amount of money a dealership spends on advertising is insanely high. Knowing which ads are working is smart business for a dealership so they can focus on advertising that gets people into the showroom.

It is also important to know what your dealers ads are, which vehicles are in the ads, as well as the price in the ads. You will need to know how the ad is structured as well, is there cash down, or a trade reflected in a price or payment?

This conversation should not last very long but will give you a few minutes to feel your customer out. If there is more than one person in the group, try and discover which one will be the spokes person for the group (the one who will most likely answer your questions), but never ignore anyone in the group because you never know if one of them is co-signing, making the down payment, or what kind of influence each person has over the buyer.

It is also during this conversation that you should try and find out which part of the group is actually looking to buy a vehicle.

If there is only a single person, obviously you should learn as much as you can about them. Get them talking and if they trust you once on a roll, a customer will tell you everything you need to do to help them make a smart and safe buying decision.

Step 3: Choosing a Vehicle

The choice of which vehicle to buy is of course the whole point of the customer coming to your dealership. Regardless of the features or the price there is no such thing as a good deal on the wrong vehicle.

If the customer is financing and wants to be at two hundred dollars a month, putting them in a thirty thousand dollar car could be a huge mistake. It will be easy to get a customer to fall in love with a high priced car but when you get inside, you’ll wonder why they are ready to walk out.

If you have your customers drive a car they cannot afford, it will be much harder to get them to like a less expensive car as much as the high-end car they just saw and drove.

If the customer does not know what they want to spend or they will not tell you, ask more questions because their time is precious and simply educate them on the fact that you aren’t there to sell them anything. As a sales consultant you are there to help them buy the vehicle that best fits their needs. If they continue to stonewall you start showing them the least expensive cars you have until you find something they like.

If they pick out the vehicle, they cannot blame you for the payment being higher then they wanted to pay.

Step 4: Negotiations

You will probably be using the four square system or ePencil to negotiate the vehicle’s price and payment. The four square is a pretty standard system which psychologically makes it easier to make gross profit.

Remember, the sales consultants responsibility is not to sell cars, it is to make a profit on the vehicles sold. Many sales consultants forget this and just want to make a sale but give away everything and complain about their commission check.

The four squares are:

  1. Price: Never be afraid to show them the price. 88% of car buyers were online and already know the price. Trying to avoid it will create distrust between you and the customer. Build value to avoid any movement in the price because it means less profit for you and your dealership.
  2. Payment: Most sales consultants are afraid to show 36 month terms from fear of losing the deal. But if you are REALLY helping your customer 36 mos is the best because they pay less in finance charges, build equity faster, and will have a free and clear title sooner. There are ways to reduce monthly payment without reducing cost or your commissions.
  3. Trade: This is where you can really educate your customer because they ALL believe that what Kelly Blue Book shows is what they should get. Leran how to use the get a quote button on KBB.com to show the guest what KBB would ACTUALLY pay for their vehicle. Most of the time KBB will offer less that your dealership is offering but customers have no clue. Show them!
  4. Cash Down: The customers job is to get as much as they can for as little out of pocket expenses. Educate them how the larger the initial investment it reduces overall cost, monthly payments, and saves on finance charges. Show them how more upfront means less in the long run. Most customers NEVER see it like that but it’s a fact!

Your best two tools in the four square system is the cash down and the initial investment (down payment). Both of these boxes can be recalculated without lowering price at all.

As a sales consultant, your job is to get a commitment from the customer and if it’s the money (which it typically is) isolate it to that by asking “Other than the monthly payment (or initial investment) everything else about the vehicles works fine for you, right?.”

Once you receive a commitment, either you or a manager will address the concern and re-close the deal. When you first start out, when a manager steps in it’s called a T.O.(turn over) will come in. Their responsibility is to help the customer take the next step.

Additional Tips

  • Try to ask questions which elicit a positive response. Some examples: Does the car have the features you like? Could you see yourself driving this car? Who is the first person you will show your new car? Nod your head yes as you ask these questions.
  • Make eye contact when talking to your customer. Do not stare but make sure that eye contact is made.
  • Mirror your customers actions (How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie). If they cross their arms you cross your arms. If they rub their chin you rub your chin. This will get you psychologically closer to your customer.
  • When you are at your desk, do not discuss any numbers if the customer is sitting there with their arms crossed. This is a defensive posture and is not conducive to closing deals.
  • Talk about anything other then the car until the arms become natural. Then go in for the close.

Questions for Me?

If I can answer any questions about selling new/used cars or trucks feel free to post a comment or shoot me an email.

I would be happy to help with any aspect of car sales. Good luck and good selling!

Thank You!
Brian Maxwell


Will this training help people with automotive sales experience? Yes, these sales training modules are jam packed with powerful tools for experienced people at the dealership and the green-pea.

Do you offer sales training programs I can purchase?

Many of the automotive sales training modules are FREE. If you are ready to step up into the $100,000 year club there are sales training programs available to help you launch yourself to the next level.

Are there any training video to sell cars on social media?

Yes, there are several training videos to help sell more cars and boost your sales on Facebook and Youtube.

What is your refund policy?

We offer six months to use the training modules and if you don’t feel they increased your sales a refund will be provided.

Does Mr. Maxwell offer personal sales training?

Yes, Mr. Maxwell does offer personal sales coaching and online sales training programs. Within the modules are more information to decide which works best for you.