Is it Hard to Sell Cars? Not when you know these top tips


When you look at dealership sales teams, there are always one or two salespeople that stand out. On the other hand, it is not uncommon to see the rest of the sales team may find it a struggle to keep up with their quotas. So is it hard to sell cars? Perhaps there is a trick that a few successful salespeople know? Here’s the inside scoop on what it takes to sell cars.

It is hard to sell cars if you don’t have a set sales strategy and you don’t put in the work. The average new car cost $40,000 and the avenge used car cost over $25,000. These are major investments in people’s lives. Therefore, it will take some persuasion and sales knowhow in order to close.

Sales management is key

Some underperforming or newer car sellers think that the entire sales process happens when the customer steps onto the dealership lot. However, there is a lot of preparation that comes with being a top seller of vehicles. First, the salesperson has to have excellent knowledge of the vehicle that they are selling. Also, the salesperson has to have deep insights into the marketplace.

Finally, the salesperson has to know how to “think on their feet” when they are face to face with the customer. This takes time to master. A new salesperson hoping to sell 20 to 30 units a month will struggle if he doesn’t understand that selling a vehicle is a process.

Social media is becoming more and more important

You will find that some of the most successful car salespeople are extremely active on social media. They will have accounts on sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube where they will talk about the vehicles in their inventory, offer car shopping tips, and engage with the audience.

Some new car salespeople may see this as a waste of time. However, the successful car seller knows that for every 100 people that they engage with online, there is a great chance that at least one of those leads will turn into a sale.

Being able to gauge the marketplace is critical

Car sales lot in winter

Selling the wrong vehicle to the wrong customer in the wrong marketplace will be extremely difficult. For example, trying to sell a Miata to someone in Buffalo during the winter is going to be a lot harder than selling a four-wheel-drive SUV with winter tires.

One of the keys to selling vehicles easier is to have excellent knowledge in the market place going back to the previous example, a car salesperson will have more luck selling vehicles that are more likely to be driven during a particular season.

Also, a salesperson should have a good idea of the economic conditions of the market as well as the buyer. If the economic conditions are not so great and the buyer is talking a lot about the cost of the vehicle, then the salesperson will have more success selling a vehicle that is well within the buyer’s budget.

Knowing about vehicle sales patterns is also important

Tesla model S

Also, some vehicles are going to sell better than others. For instance, a hot seller in almost any environment is the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. These sedans have a reputation for reliability and value. Vehicles like these will be easier to sell and lease.

On the other hand, very niche vehicles such as the Toyota Land Cruiser will be harder to sell because they are extremely expensive and there are comparable vehicles available at a much lower price. A salesperson can put the odds in their favor by offering vehicles that are likely to sell.

One of the best ways that a salesperson can gauge what vehicles are selling is by looking at the monthly sales figures from each auto manufacturer. These sales reports are usually published as PR releases and they will reveal the month over month as well as the year over year sales figures of the vehicle.

Studying the competition is also important

Another key factor in the difficultly of selling vehicles in the competition. This includes both dealership and vehicle competition. When it comes to dealership competition, the salesperson has to be aware of any sales or incentives from a competing dealer. The salesperson has to be able to come up with a value proposition that can prevent the potential customer from walking off the lot.

When it comes to vehicle competition, the salesperson needs to know what vehicles are likely to be cross-shopped against his inventory. For instance, a Jeep dealer has to be ready to explain to a potential customer why a Jeep Wrangler is a better vehicle than the Ford Bronco.

Unexpected events can complicate vehicle sales

There are also “black swans” and unexpected events that can make selling a vehicle more challenging. For instance, many dealerships have to close down their showrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic. That forced salespeople to become creative and offer home test drives and no-contact deliveries.

As of 2021, there is another “black swan” event that is making vehicle sales more challenging – the current vehicle supply shortage. Due to a computer chip shortage, there are a number of manufacturers who are unable to complete the production of their vehicles.

That means that there is less supply for the dealers. That also means that the salesperson has to be able to expertly convince a customer to purchase the vehicle and be willing to wait for a later delivery date.

Becoming a better car seller

Selling vehicles can be a challenge to the new car salesperson who doesn’t have a system in place to cultivate leads and handle objections from potential buyers. Also, “black swan” events can make it hard for inexperienced salespeople to pivot and adjust to market conditions.

However, an experienced salesperson who has a sales management strategy and the ability to adjust to the competition, as well as unexpected events, should have no problem selling vehicles.

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John Cunningham

John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. I've been a mechanic for over twenty years, I use my knowledge and experience to write articles that help fellow gear-heads with all aspects of classic car ownership, from tires to roof aerials and everything in between.

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