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  #1  
Old 08-21-2006, 07:20 PM
diggleblop diggleblop is offline
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What does an average car salesman make year?

Commision included, what does a car salesman who hits their mark every month make a year? I hear all these stories about some making $100,000 + a year and was wondering if I should get into car sales. Is that true for the most part? If so, I would think everyone would be selling cars.

I know you can bank it in most sales, I used to sell computers and made a small fortune, but cars?
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  #2  
Old 08-21-2006, 07:39 PM
FormerMarineGuy FormerMarineGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diggleblop
Commision included, what does a car salesman who hits their mark every month make a year? I hear all these stories about some making $100,000 + a year and was wondering if I should get into car sales. Is that true for the most part? If so, I would think everyone would be selling cars.
I know you can bank it in most sales, I used to sell computers and made a small fortune, but cars?
As stated before, car salesman here.

First of all, you can't believe half of the advertisements in papers saying 100k+ income a year. They hire 30 people a month hoping just one or two stick. The 'average' Toyota salesman might make 40-50k a year with the guys who stick it out with good clientelle making 125k+ year.

When you get to the high end stores, it is not uncommon to have the average salary being 70k plus a year with some guys making 200k+ a year. I have been in the business for about two to three years and I make 150k+ a year, not including bonuses from the factore of another 25k a year possibly.

Hope this helps, and I would be more than happy to answer more specific questions.
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  #3  
Old 08-21-2006, 07:40 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diggleblop
Commision included, what does a car salesman who hits their mark every month make a year? I hear all these stories about some making $100,000 + a year and was wondering if I should get into car sales. Is that true for the most part? If so, I would think everyone would be selling cars.

I know you can bank it in most sales, I used to sell computers and made a small fortune, but cars?
My friend -- or rather, my friend's husband -- easily clears $100,000 a year. Of course, he's also a world-class schmoozer and lives up to probably every bad car salesman stereotype you can think of. That, and he works at a high-end dealership.

According to this article, in 2000 the average salary for a new-car salesperson was a little over $50,000.
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  #4  
Old 08-21-2006, 07:44 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Originally Posted by FormerMarineGuy
As stated before, car salesman here.

First of all, you can't believe half of the advertisements in papers saying 100k+ income a year. They hire 30 people a month hoping just one or two stick. The 'average' Toyota salesman might make 40-50k a year with the guys who stick it out with good clientelle making 125k+ year.

When you get to the high end stores, it is not uncommon to have the average salary being 70k plus a year with some guys making 200k+ a year. I have been in the business for about two to three years and I make 150k+ a year, not including bonuses from the factore of another 25k a year possibly.

Hope this helps, and I would be more than happy to answer more specific questions.
To add to this...how many hours a week did you work?

A friend of mine was taking home about seven to eight hundered dollars a week. Adding the tax back in, I'm guessing that's somewhere between 50 and 60k per year. But she worked like mad. She put in between 60 and 70 hours per week, mostly made up of 12 hour days. Plus she had to come in on her off days to 'deliver' cars so that she wouldn't have to split the commision.
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  #5  
Old 08-21-2006, 08:01 PM
Rick Rick is offline
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Originally Posted by FormerMarineGuy
As stated before, car salesman here.

First of all, you can't believe half of the advertisements in papers saying 100k+ income a year. They hire 30 people a month hoping just one or two stick. The 'average' Toyota salesman might make 40-50k a year with the guys who stick it out with good clientelle making 125k+ year.

When you get to the high end stores, it is not uncommon to have the average salary being 70k plus a year with some guys making 200k+ a year. I have been in the business for about two to three years and I make 150k+ a year, not including bonuses from the factore of another 25k a year possibly.

Hope this helps, and I would be more than happy to answer more specific questions.
One of the guys that worked for us (factory guy) left and went to another high line European make as a car salesman. He is making 175Kish every year. Makes me wonder why I am still at the factory.
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  #6  
Old 08-21-2006, 08:03 PM
FormerMarineGuy FormerMarineGuy is offline
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Originally Posted by Joey P
To add to this...how many hours a week did you work?
ME? I work about 80 hours a week. I am definitely what you call a workaholic. But I am also new at this dealership and have no set client list. There are guys here who work 40-50 hours a week and make what I am making.

Keep in mind, I am very good at what I do, and have NEVER lied to a customer. But it helps that I am in the luxury car business, and I present myself well. The problem in this business is that there is quick money, so you have a lot of people with addictions (gambling, drinking, drugs) and come and go from dealership to dealership. So there might be people who have been in this business for 30 years and worked at 40 different places throughout the country.

On the other hand, there are people here who have worked in the same place their whole life, making ALOT of money. All you need is a good appearance and the gift of gab.
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  #7  
Old 08-22-2006, 01:22 AM
diggleblop diggleblop is offline
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FormerMarineGuy, thanks man, very good info. See, the Ford place here is constantly hiring, so at first I'm skeptical of places that can't keep help, but been thinking about trying it out. I've pretty much done every other job you can think of.
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  #8  
Old 08-22-2006, 02:34 AM
Frylock Frylock is online now
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Originally Posted by FormerMarineGuy
As stated before, car salesman here.
Hey, have you done an "Ask The Car Salesman" thread, by any chance?

It would be an interesting read. I recently bought a car and wonder to myself at least once a day whether I got a good deal. I'm pretty sure I did based on research at various internet sources, but... you never know...

Anyway, reading about car salesmanship from the salesman's honest point of view may provide insight into this kind of thing.

-FrL-
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  #9  
Old 08-22-2006, 08:16 AM
zagloba zagloba is offline
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FMG, if you wouldn't mind, what makes do you sell?
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  #10  
Old 08-22-2006, 08:26 AM
susan susan is offline
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My relative was a car salesman and as far as I know made less than the lowest amount named thus far, plus worked crazy long hours.
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  #11  
Old 08-22-2006, 08:45 AM
FormerMarineGuy FormerMarineGuy is offline
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diggleblop FormerMarineGuy, thanks man, very good info. See, the Ford place here is constantly hiring, so at first I'm skeptical of places that can't keep help, but been thinking about trying it out. I've pretty much done every other job you can think of.
If you have any kind of sales experience / true business experience, I would suggest going to a high end store, if possible. You have a better class of salespeople usually and better customers, usually. Definitely be skeptical of places that have a high turnaround, which is most of them.

Also, you have family run dealerships and stockholder dealerships. They both have their faults and benefits. At a family run dealership, you usually have a better relationship with the bosses, but the rules are not in stone as much (easier to fire, etc.). With a stockholder company (Autonation, etc.) you have a set version of rules and the pay plan 'might' not be as good, but the rules are in stone, and they have to follow them to the 't'.


Quote:
Frylock Hey, have you done an "Ask The Car Salesman" thread, by any chance?
I have no idea what this is, so the answer is no. I would be more than happy to do it if I get the right directions.

Quote:
zagloba FMG, if you wouldn't mind, what makes do you sell?
I don't mind at all. I sell Mercedes. I was actually in the Marines for ten years (hence FMG) and got out and started selling Lincolns. I was recruited to come here by the big boss, and here I am, pretty succesful. I work regular sales and do the internet sales also. I could be a manager, but the money is not as good.
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  #12  
Old 08-22-2006, 09:04 AM
Stan Shmenge Stan Shmenge is offline
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What is average? In dealerships there is what is called a "Board". On that board are the sales that each salesperson has made in the month. In an average dealership, there will be two or three salesmen that have maybe 9 or 12 cars on the board. And maybe 10 other salesmen that have 0-6 on the board each month. Yeah, the guy that is consistantly making 7, 8, or 11 sale a month is going to be doing well, but the other guys, not so much. There is only so much in the markup, and the dealer needs to make a lot of money too. It isn't cheap to maintain all the things that make up a dealership that the factory requires.

Not to mention, the dealership you get to work at depends on your experience. You won't be hired at a Lexus dealer (where concievably you could make a six figure income) until you have worked and accumulated a track record as a proven salesperson at lesser dealerships.

That being said, are you a sociopathic druggie? If not, you probably don't want to be in the car sales biz.

So, do you mean average at a Lexus dealer or a Hyundai dealer?

Like many other things, compensation is related to experience.
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  #13  
Old 08-22-2006, 09:06 AM
Stan Shmenge Stan Shmenge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shoshana
My relative was a car salesman and as far as I know made less than the lowest amount named thus far, plus worked crazy long hours.
This is the normal experience. The only people getting rich are the dealers.

And another thing, expect to be eternally screwed with in this business. The dealer will promise you spiffs to motivate you and come payday they dissapear. When you lie with dogs, expect to get fleas.
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  #14  
Old 08-22-2006, 09:09 AM
Stan Shmenge Stan Shmenge is offline
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Originally Posted by FormerMarineGuy
I have no idea what this is, so the answer is no. I would be more than happy to do it if I get the right directions.
Very simple. Start a thread in GQ called "Ask The Car Salesman".
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  #15  
Old 08-22-2006, 09:35 AM
Stan Shmenge Stan Shmenge is offline
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True story. My friend worked for a "zoomin" japanese dealership back in the '90s. The GSM would run a contest every month, most sales in a month would get a $1000 spiff. My friend would almost always win and they would make a big deal of it to the other salesepeople. "Be like James, make an extra grand!" Except that he would never see the money. Month after month. The excuse? "James, you would win it every month so what's the point? We aren't going to pay you an extra thou a month? Are you kidding? You make enough money already. That money is if some other salesman wins. Be a team player."

Enjoy your viper pit.
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  #16  
Old 08-22-2006, 09:46 AM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Wanderer
Very simple. Start a thread in GQ called "Ask The Car Salesman".
Not trying to junior mod, so please don't consider this an order or definitive statement. But I don't think GQ is considered the place for most "Ask the..." type threads. I believe IMHO is preferred, but I'd e-mail a moderator just to be sure.

- Tamerlane
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  #17  
Old 08-22-2006, 09:47 AM
Stan Shmenge Stan Shmenge is offline
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Originally Posted by Tamerlane
Not trying to junior mod, so please don't consider this an order or definitive statement. But I don't think GQ is considered the place for most "Ask the..." type threads. I believe IMHO is preferred, but I'd e-mail a moderator just to be sure.

- Tamerlane
Of course you are right. Yah, IMHO!
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  #18  
Old 08-22-2006, 09:48 AM
FormerMarineGuy FormerMarineGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Wanderer
What is average? In dealerships there is what is called a "Board". On that board are the sales that each salesperson has made in the month. In an average dealership, there will be two or three salesmen that have maybe 9 or 12 cars on the board. And maybe 10 other salesmen that have 0-6 on the board each month. Yeah, the guy that is consistantly making 7, 8, or 11 sale a month is going to be doing well, but the other guys, not so much. There is only so much in the markup, and the dealer needs to make a lot of money too. It isn't cheap to maintain all the things that make up a dealership that the factory requires.

Not to mention, the dealership you get to work at depends on your experience. You won't be hired at a Lexus dealer (where concievably you could make a six figure income) until you have worked and accumulated a track record as a proven salesperson at lesser dealerships.


So, do you mean average at a Lexus dealer or a Hyundai dealer?

Like many other things, compensation is related to experience.
Where I work, there are guys who are selling 7 cars making over 10k a month. There are guys who have sold 20 cars who have made the same amount of money. A lot of it comes down to how much 'gross' a sales consultant can hold. The guys in the internet department definitely make less gross (over invoice) per car, than the guys on the floor, which is why the INTERNET is the best way to buy a car.

As far as experience, that is not always true (although it does make a difference). My first month in the business I was 'salesperson of the month' and was the highest paid there. I personally think that a lot of it comes down to just plain people skills. You could have the best product in the world, but if the client does not feel comfortable with you, you WILL lose the sale. I have seen it over and over again. When I was in the recruiting field, my old recruiting instructor used to always say you have to be a chameleon, that is, have to ability to adapt to every person in a different way. I am not saying you have to lie (always will backfire to an intelligent person), but find common ground: "Where are you from?", "Oh, Colombia, my last customer was from Colombia, what part of Colombia are you from?", "Is that near the beach?", "Do you miss it?", and so on and so on.

I am at the point now that by time I shake a hand, I have noticed the bumper stickers on the car they pulled up in (Democrat or Republican), the types of shoes they have (might be dressed like a bum but have $400 sandals), and if their nails are professionally done (very important if he is a guy, usually means he is a businessman).

As far as the dealerships making money, they WILL always make money, no matter what. If they pay the salesperson on a percentage above invoice, they still have what is called holdback, and sometimes added bonuses from the factories on top of that, plus an extra 10% if their average survey scores are above the national average (big money).

A lot of people also forget that dealerships make more money in service and parts than in the sales department.
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  #19  
Old 08-22-2006, 06:40 PM
Stan Shmenge Stan Shmenge is offline
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As far as the dealerships making money, they WILL always make money, no matter what.
Yeah, that's why no car dealers ever go bankrupt.
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  #20  
Old 08-22-2006, 06:47 PM
Frylock Frylock is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Wanderer
Yeah, that's why no car dealers ever go bankrupt.
I think he meant they will not accept an offer which causes them to lose money on an individual car.

I don't know if that's true or not, but anyway, I think its what he meant.

-FrL-
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  #21  
Old 08-22-2006, 06:48 PM
FormerMarineGuy FormerMarineGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frylock
I think he meant they will not accept an offer which causes them to lose money on an individual car.
I don't know if that's true or not, but anyway, I think its what he meant.
-FrL-
Exactly, somehow, some way, they are making money. If they ever say "We are losing money on this deal", they are lying.
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  #22  
Old 08-22-2006, 07:08 PM
Frylock Frylock is online now
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Originally Posted by FormerMarineGuy
Exactly, somehow, some way, they are making money. If they ever say "We are losing money on this deal", they are lying.
When I bought a car recently, I offered one amount, and when they said they'd be losing money on that deal and refused it, I got up and left--and they let me leave.

I actually ended up coming back later, and bought the car for $250 more than I had offered before. Now they said they were still losing money on the deal, but they'd take it.

I have assumed that they didn't actually lose money on the deal we ended up making, but that they really would have on my initial offer--even though the difference between the two offers was so small. I figured they wouldn't actually let me leave the store unless it really was true they'd be losing money.

Does that sound like a fair set of assumptions and inferences to you?

I have since wondered if it wasn't just that they felt sure they could sell the car to a different buyer for more money than I initially offered.

-FrL-

BTW, the car was a 2006 Hyundai Accent (automatic, w/ A/C, no power options). My initial "walk out" was over a $13,650 offer I made. I ended up buying the car later that day for $13,900 instead.
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  #23  
Old 08-22-2006, 07:30 PM
Snickers Snickers is offline
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My brother-in-law used to work for Ford as a salesman. He wasn't the talker that FMG seems to be, and wasn't comfortable with the whole pushing and pushing back (read: he's not that good of a salesman). I have no idea what kind of money he made, but he did work crazy busy hours. And he too would come in on his day off to deliver a car.

Since he's not really cut out for sales, he washed out after a year or so. He hated the hours and the motivation pressure without the promise fulfillment from the management, which you've already heard about. If you are cut out for sales, however, it might be a good decision.

Just thought I'd present the other side of the coin.

(And please, I mean no disrespect to those who *are* cut out for sales. "Pushing and pushing back" isn't the best choice of wording, I know, but I couldn't think of a better way to describe selling someone on an idea that might not their own. If you are good at it, good for you. My brother-in-law just wasn't. But he's doing quite well for himself now at his current job, compliance in advertising. Different stokes, and all.)
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  #24  
Old 08-22-2006, 09:11 PM
FormerMarineGuy FormerMarineGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frylock
When I bought a car recently, I offered one amount, and when they said they'd be losing money on that deal and refused it, I got up and left--and they let me leave.
I actually ended up coming back later, and bought the car for $250 more than I had offered before. Now they said they were still losing money on the deal, but they'd take it.
Does that sound like a fair set of assumptions and inferences to you?
I have since wondered if it wasn't just that they felt sure they could sell the car to a different buyer for more money than I initially offered.
Perhaps they were losing money on the first deal, so they let you walk, but I still doubt it. Perhaps they really did not need a sale that day (they had enough to please the boss). Or when you went back later on (probably a better or closer reason), they got some extra money from the factory (sometimes called stairstep) because they hit a certain amount of sales for the month. Meaning, they had an extra 1000 profit per car after they hit a percentage of the goal for the month. This happens a lot with certain models of cars (Ford Motor Company is big with this).

Sometimes it IS better to buy a car at the end of the month.
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  #25  
Old 08-22-2006, 09:57 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is online now
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I sold RVs for three months and grossed about $20K. Not bad for a beginner. Those who had been at the dealership for several years, with lots of return customers, were making about $80-$100K a year. At some large RV dealerships in Florida or AZ or CA, salespeople can clear $150-200K a year selling the high-end buses.

You have to have energy, be persistent, have an easy manner with people and be seen as trustworthy, or it will be an uphill battle.
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  #26  
Old 08-22-2006, 11:00 PM
Frylock Frylock is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FormerMarineGuy
Perhaps they were losing money on the first deal, so they let you walk, but I still doubt it. Perhaps they really did not need a sale that day (they had enough to please the boss). Or when you went back later on (probably a better or closer reason), they got some extra money from the factory (sometimes called stairstep) because they hit a certain amount of sales for the month. Meaning, they had an extra 1000 profit per car after they hit a percentage of the goal for the month. This happens a lot with certain models of cars (Ford Motor Company is big with this).

Sometimes it IS better to buy a car at the end of the month.
I should clarify: I went back later the very same day, just a couple of hours, after calling them up and asking if they'd take the slightly higher offer.

I was kind of suprised just $250 made the difference between letting me walk and approving the deal.

-FrL-
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  #27  
Old 08-23-2006, 08:10 AM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
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My brother sells cars, one of the traditional brands. He sold 21 cars last month, which I think is the most he ever sold (one was a high end sports model). He made 15K for the month. I'd guess "average" for him to be closer to 15 cars/trucks. He is probably one of their best salesfolks, although he's not exactly the "salesman" type, although he probably is a good fit with the people who buy his products. He has been doing this for a couple of years and is just now getting a lot of second timers and referrals, so it looks like he's in a fairly good position. Also, fwiw, he is also a Camp Lejeune graduate.
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  #28  
Old 02-07-2014, 01:08 AM
Zhanette Zhanette is offline
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Can you help me with some information?

[QUOTE=FormerMarineGuy;7702733]As stated before, car salesman here.

Hello, my name is Zhanna and I'm 26, female. I have read your answer and I wanted to ask you to help me please with some information about this career... What kind of classes should I take prior to applying to be a car sales person. I really want to be successful and I know I can do it! But I just want to be prepared enough for the competition in selling... Thank you in advance.
Hope to hear from you!
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  #29  
Old 02-07-2014, 01:35 AM
astro astro is online now
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At the far other end of the "car sales people a make a lot of money" spectrum (and some do) when I moved to this area (Eastern Shore of MD) almost 28 years ago I picked up a floor sales job at a Honda dealership. I had a very good track record in sales as a Radio Shack manager up to that point (won tons of regional sales awards etc) and thought it would be a natural fit. I was a young, naive idiot. As part of the backstory of why car sales when I was a Radio Shack manager in Northern Virginia a car sales customer told me how he was making 6 figures and encouraged me to get into car sales. It sounded like a good idea.

You were paid minimum wage and $50-$200 for each car sold. The owner reasoned the cars sold themselves and the sales people were effectively a pair of shoes. You were forbidden to talk price or deal. We were forbidden to have payment calculators. You were to gain their trust, show the car and turn them over to the finance officer. It was (to me) an absurd scenario.

The salespeople at the Toyota dealership next door had a different pay plan and made much more. I sold a bunch of cars and I made less than $ 18,000 that year. I had made more than that as a productive Radio Shack trainee on commission. There was almost no way to make money unless you had almost insane production levels that were unobtainable in that demographic. No salesperson in that dealership made any real money. Needless to say turnover was ferocious. That's when I decided to get into real estate.

If you are going to make money in car sales be sure the real world demographic potential of the area supports your plan. In a low volume area or with an abusive commission pay structure you are going to be on the short end of the stick.

Last edited by astro; 02-07-2014 at 01:38 AM..
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  #30  
Old 02-07-2014, 01:41 AM
astro astro is online now
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Sorry did not see the Zombiness until too late.
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  #31  
Old 02-07-2014, 12:26 PM
skdo23 skdo23 is offline
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[QUOTE=Zhanette;17083168]
Quote:
Originally Posted by FormerMarineGuy View Post
As stated before, car salesman here.

Hello, my name is Zhanna and I'm 26, female. I have read your answer and I wanted to ask you to help me please with some information about this career... What kind of classes should I take prior to applying to be a car sales person. I really want to be successful and I know I can do it! But I just want to be prepared enough for the competition in selling... Thank you in advance.
Hope to hear from you!
Actually, FormerMarineGuy has not been active on the SDMB since April, 2007 but if you manage to track him down then you might have a very lucrative future as a zombie hunter.
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  #32  
Old 02-07-2014, 12:48 PM
bump bump is online now
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Your best salesmen (and highest earners) are going to be selling late model, high-end used cars, since the profit margin (and commission) on used cars is higher than new cars, and highest on high-end late model cars.

So your used Mercedes / BMW / Lexus salesman is probably the best salesman out there and making the most money.
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  #33  
Old 02-07-2014, 01:02 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is online now
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Originally Posted by bump View Post
Your best salesmen (and highest earners) are going to be selling late model, high-end used cars, since the profit margin (and commission) on used cars is higher than new cars, and highest on high-end late model cars.
Yeah, but there are no factory incentives on used car sales.
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  #34  
Old 02-07-2014, 01:26 PM
HoneyBadgerDC HoneyBadgerDC is offline
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I have 2 brothers who are presently sellling cars and my father and one other brothers did sell for many years. Everyone in my family has always been top salesmen in their stores and have made the $150,000 to $200,000 . My oldest brother who is close to 70 now has been hurting the past 5 years or so and is down around $50,000. They tell me the average in a decent store is somewhere between $60,000 and $80,000. This is So cal.
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