What Does a Good Car Salesperson Look Like?

Car salespeople have a bad reputation for being pushy, rude, and sometimes downright mean in order to make a sale. Unfortunately, this stigma has carried through to this day and some car shoppers are still scared to step foot in a dealership.

But for every bad car salesperson, there are plenty of good ones. Here are a few traits to look for in a car salesperson, which will help make your car shopping experience more pleasant.

Meet and greet

Ideally, a good car salesperson will immediately greet you upon entering the showroom floor. Salespeople are taught that a warm smile and a handshake go a long way and since the car sales process can be long, first impressions are everything. This doesn’t mean that you should walk out if no one greets you within the first two minutes, especially on a busy weekend, but just know that if you’re met with a proper meet-and-greet, then you’re probably in good hands.

A Kia salesperson sells a car to a baby boomer
A Kia salesperson sells a car to a baby boomer | Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Needs Assessment

After greeting you, a good car salesperson will listen to all of your needs and ask questions in order to get an idea of what you’re looking for. Remember, the salesperson is not a mind reader, so feel free to tell them exactly what type of car you need for your lifestyle and ask them any questions you might have, no matter how simple they may seem.

Vehicle walkaround

This step is often overlooked by most salespeople as it’s easier to just find a car and go right to the test drive. Ideally, after finding the car(s) that would work best for you, a good car salesperson will do a proper walkaround on it. For new cars, they should be well-versed in their product and be able to present the features so you can get familiar with the car before driving it.

Please do note, that if you’re shopping for a pre-owned car, the salesperson might not know everything, or anything, about the car. Just be sure to ask them whatever questions you have, as a good salesperson will make sure to address them later when they can look up the information.  

Test drive

Here’s the fun part: Driving the car. Make sure you get a good feel for the car, but also feel free to ask the salesperson questions during the process. A good salesperson will answer them and then typically remain quiet so that you can focus your attention on driving.

That’s not saying that a salesperson that converses with you the whole time is a bad one, if you feel like talking, then by all means do. Just know that a good salesperson will keep the conversation light and might even ask questions that help guide you in finding the right car.

Pricing discussion

Buying New Vehicle
(Photo by Jim R. Bounds/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Here’s what some consumers might consider the “seventh ring of hell” in the car sales process: Going over the numbers. After the test drive, it’s customary for the salesperson to show you different pricing options whether you’re buying a car that day or not.

Don’t be surprised with they ask if you would like to buy the car today, after all, you’re in a store that sells cars.

Delivering the car

After the pricing numbers are agreed to, the next step is to meet with the finance manager who will go over all of the legal paperwork and have you sign the contract. During this time, it’s the sales person’s job to get the car ready for you by getting it detailed and fueled up. Ideally, this process will be done with expediency and the car will be ready when you come out of the finance office

This might not always be the case, though, so be prepared to possibly wait a little longer, however, a good salesperson will keep you informed along the way.

After the sale

After purchasing your car and driving it for a couple of days, a good salesperson will call you to ask if you have any follow up questions or issues.

It’s all about service

Selling cars is all about customer service. A good salesperson will know how to treat every customer with respect will be a good listener throughout the process. If you are unhappy with how you are treated, feel free to let management know and ask to work with a different salesperson if needed.