Why Would Anyone Want to Be a Car Salesperson?

Imagine working in a store where every customer that walks in the door hates you automatically before even meeting you and your job is to sell them on the second biggest purchase they will ever make in their lifetime. If you can picture that, then you have only scratched the tip of the iceberg on what it’s like to be a car salesperson.

Couple that animosity from the customers with the added pressure to sell more cars from the managers – on top of worrying about being able to pay your rent – and you might get an even better idea. But with all of this stress and negative energy, why would anyone in their right minds want to be a car salesperson?

What you get out of it is what you put into it

I was a car salesperson for over four years selling everything from new and used commuter cars at a Honda dealer to highline luxury cars at an Audi dealer, and to be honest, the experience was pretty similar at every dealership.

While being hated and dealing with stress highlights some of the worst parts about being a car salesperson, there are positive benefits to the job. Money is definitely a driving factor, but there are intangible motivations as well, such as learning the value of hard work. Just like any other sales job, you get out of a car sales job exactly what you put into it.

That means if you’re willing to work hard and sell lots of cars, then you will be rewarded handsomely. And on the other hand, if you want to be lazy and have a terrible attitude, then you probably won’t sell much. Fortunately, I was pretty hardworking and sold a good amount of cars during my time.

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(GERMANY OUT) DEU, Deutschland, Berlin: A turkish couple at AUDI.- Ali Haydar Berkpinar, a turkish salesman handing over the key. (Photo by Yavuz Arslan/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

The pay can be good when it’s good, but really bad when it’s bad

If you are willing to put in the work and get better at selling, then there is a possibility of a decent payout. While car salespeople don’t get paid as much as they used to, it’s still possible to make a good amount of money considering the amount of work is required. The pay really depends on each dealership’s respective pay plans, but the name of the game is always the same: sell more cars, make more money.

However, if you don’t sell a lot of cars, then you might make only a little more than minimum wage. I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum; I have earned as much money as a doctor in one year and felt like a Rockstar, but I have also earned less the average fast-food employee during some months and felt nearly homeless. It’s a see-saw financially and emotionally, but somehow, the ebb and flow of success keeps you wanting more.

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A dealership is like a box of chocolates

When working at a car dealership, weekdays can be very slow and weekends can be very busy. But whether the dealership is busy or not, no two days are exactly alike and you never know what you’re going to get. Customers can either be really nice and patient or rude and arrogant (as well as everything in between) and you have to adapt accordingly and try to sell them a car in the process.

However, if you’re willing to go with the flow, then you’ll be treated to a life experience that you might never forget. Like the time that I went on a test drive with the lead singer of Primus. He was a really cool guy and the best steering wheel drummer I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, he didn’t buy a car from me, but I’m glad I got to meet him. Meeting cool people isn’t exactly the driving factor behind getting a job in car sales, but it’s definitely a perk.

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Salesperson showing vehicle to potential customer in dealership | Shutterstock

The car sales experience is more than money that you can make

If you ever find yourself contemplating a job in car sales, just know that the whole experience is about much more than the money that you can make. Sure, that is the main driving factor, but remember that the day-to-day experience can be filled with fun, fear, stress, but also success, and ultimately, it’s what you make of it. If you do find success and stick with it for long enough, you’ll likely make more money than a doctor and possibly make a lot of great connections with customers and co-workers that you wouldn’t otherwise.