I hear from listeners all the time who are thinking about a career in auto sales. For the past three years or so, my advice has been to find another profession. I was seriously considering going back to encouraging people to jump in earlier this year, and was waiting for first quarter 2011 sales results to come in when the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. The results of that tragedy made me hold off on saying it was a good time to get in.
As we start the last and final quarter of 2011, I am now comfortable telling people looking for a career change to consider selling cars. Things are now stable and on the morning I am writing this, September sales results are rolling in, and we continue to see growth in the industry, and this is without the added inventory en route from Honda and Toyota.
For me however, increased sales results are just a piece of the equation. This is a rare ground- floor opportunity for some people who are going to get in as business is getting better, not spiraling down. There is a real transition in the auto industry as we move to more fuel-efficient cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs. I rarely hear from anyone who is not interested in fuel economy and safety first and foremost and in that order.
Equally as important is the cleaning out process that has happened over the past three years. There are fewer cars companies today doing business in the United States, and that needed to happen. For the first time in a long time, the majority of companies selling cars in the U.S. are on solid footing financially and have the available cash to sink into future products. In this business, product is king and the wants and needs of people are changing more rapidly than ever before.
My number one reason for thinking the time is right to get in the car business is the dealerships. There were a lot of lessons learned since 2008. The weak dealerships who were just barely hanging on are gone, and for the most part, only the strongest survived. During the lean times of the past few years, dealers that didn’t already know how important people are, have figured it out. All dealerships sell the same cars, they are all made of brick and mortar and glass….the difference in success and failure is people.
The car business isn’t for everybody. It is not an easy life, and those who try to make it on 40 hours per week will probably fail. You have to be there for your customers when it is convenient for them, not you. That means evenings, holidays, weekends. You have to be self-motivated and put your customer’s needs above your desire to make a commission. You have to be honest and you have to be sincere, so much so that people will recommend you to their friends and family.
If you truly enjoy meeting people and making friends, a good dealership can teach you the rest.
Most dealerships today have good training programs. Many dealerships today will give you a guaranteed salary for a period of time until you get up and running. The key to success in auto sales is hooking up with a good dealership, with great customer satisfaction ratings, and a good location. There are a ton of them out there these days.
The auto industry was good to me for a lot of years. Good enough in fact, that I recommended selling cars to my only son, and he has enjoyed tremendous success in the business.
I do not know of any other business where you can make a six-figure income with no investment except time. Again, it is not for everyone, but if you have what it takes, I can’t think of a better time to jump in.