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The Car Business

A hard way to make an easy living.

It all depends on you.

An attitude of accountability to yourself is the foundation of a successful career in sales, and at the beginning you’ll be putting in long hours, dealing with loads of rejection, and showing cars in all kinds of weather conditions.

How many 60-hour weeks are you willing to work to build your client base? Can you handle the weather, rejection, and the stress of not knowing how big or small your next paycheck will be? How determined are you to be successful?

Early in my career, a successful six-figure salesman told me, “It’s a hard way to make an easy living,” and he couldn’t have been more right.

Turnover in our industry is higher than 100%. That means the average salesman fails out in less than a year.

But if you can stick it out, prioritize volume over gross, and grow your book of business by providing excellent customer service and staying in touch with everyone, you can end up making more money than most of the doctors and lawyers you know… without ever accruing a cent of college debt.

Scared? Excited? A bit of both? Good.

In addition to yourself, it depends on your team.

Good leadership and mentorship can make or break your car sales career. In the beginning, finding the right fit of people is way more valuable than the brand you sell. I’m not saying that the brand is not important; you need to love your product to sell with integrity. But, when it’s a toss-up between a handful of stores, lean towards leadership. During your interviews, ask about training, process, upward mobility, and how much the dealership values customer satisfaction.

If you want any personal guidance, schedule a call with me here.

Then once you land a job, be prepared to work. This is not a business for the faint of heart. It’s competitive, results-driven, and will test your internal fortitude every day.

That being said: When you eventually get your bearings right, learn the ropes, and make a decision to be successful, there are many tips and tricks to advancing.

On this website and during personal consultations, I will share with you everything I know.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of getting into the car business.

A Career in Car Sales: Pros & Cons


  • Low cost of entry. Dress well, walk into a few dealerships and introduce yourself, and someone’s bound to offer you work. At most, you’ll have to pass a background check and drug test and have a decently clean driving record. Some states require professional licensing, but that’s pretty easy to do and your dealership will guide you through the process once you’re hired.
  • Meet lots of new people. If you’re a people person and generally a fun to be around, selling cars is a great career choice. You’ll meet new faces every day and have the opportunity to deliver them one helluva memorable experience. Remember, people buy from people they like.
  • Let your competitive nature shine. Athletes, overachievers, former military and law enforcement, and anyone else who’s competitive by nature will thrive in the car business. Great stores foster healthy competition amongst their sales team and generally create a fun, highly accountable, results-centric atmosphere.
  • Drive some really cool cars. If you’re an automotive aficionado like myself, you’ll absolutely love the perks of being able to be around and drive nicer cars. Depending on the lot you work at it may not be every day, but I promise the opportunities will eventually present themselves.
  • The Benjamins. Last, but certainly not least, is the earning potential. In my early days a manager once told me, “This is the only business where you can make six figures with a fourth grade education and a pen.” Listen, work hard, study your product, treat people right, and learn everything you can about the business; you’ll be providing yourself and your family a financially comfortable life.


Before listing out the cons, there is one very important disclaimer: Every single one of these “cons” can be overcome with process and training. It is up to you to learn how to do so. If you find yourself struggling with anything on this list, reach out to me and let’s work through it.

  • The hours. Like any commission-based position, the car business will never care how many hours you’ve worked. It cares about the results you’ve produced. You get paid to sell cars. Worked 80 hours last week but didn’t move any metal? Let’s hope you have some money set aside.
  • The monotony. After the initial honeymoon phase, sales can be a total drag for a lot of people. If you don’t come to work with a daily plan every day, you’ll end up wasting a lot of time, not making your sales, and failing out for poor performance. Setting daily productivity goals is key.
  • The accountability. This one’s a double-edged sword, because while most of us don’t like to be micro-managed, we’ll also fail to produce our best results unless we’re prodded. In many dealerships, there is little day-to-day oversight. You are expected to hit a monthly number; that’s it. If you find leadership who offers training, personal guidance, morale boosters, and camaraderie, stick around.
  • The rejection. You’re going to hear, “No.” A lot. You’re going to get hung up on. You’ll deal with rude customers and bad managers. In fact, you may face more rejection in this industry than anything you’ve ever done before. And then after all of it, unless you figure out how to separate yourself, you’ll deal with the stigma of being a car salesman.

Think you can handle it?

Awesome! If done with dedication, class, and professionalism, a career in the car business can be extremely rewarding for you and your family, friends, and community.

Here’s my best advice to get the job:

  • Before suiting up, drive around to your local dealerships to park and watch the salespeople. Do they look like people you’d get along with? Are they working, or standing around and goofing off? Ask yourself if this looks like the type of environment that’ll help you grow.
  • Does the dealership have cars? Good, profitable dealerships who have good reputations with their community and their parent manufacturer will be well-stocked with cars. Typically, these are the stores you’ll want to work at when you’re brand new, because their processes will be tight, their customers are happy, and leadership probably knows what they’re doing.
  • Suit up, show up, and introduce yourself to a manager. Here’s what to wear to make a great first impression.
    • White long-sleeve dress shirt and tie. Black, blue, or tan slacks. Make sure everything is neatly pressed.
    • Matching shoes and belt. Style points if your jewelry matches your belt buckle.
    • Take out earrings, facial piercings, and any other unorthodox form of personal expressions. Good dealerships are usually pretty conservative when it comes to dress.
    • Bring a pen and make sure it works. I cannot emphasize this one enough.
    • Aside from the pen, the above list is obviously for men. Ladies, wear something professional, put yourself together, and don’t be a slob. You’ll be fine.

If they ask if you know anyone in the business, tell them you know JV. 😉