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Car Sales Associate Duties and Responsibilities

A car sales associate is responsible for driving sales and meeting company targets as well as providing excellent customer service. Their duties typically include:

Meeting Sales Targets Car sales associates usually have monthly or quarterly targets to meet. In order to do this, they carry out a range of tasks that includes seeking out customers who might need help, promoting different deals, explaining financing options and warranties, and taking customers on test drives in order to eventually close the sale.

Build Customer Relationships Customer service is an important aspect of being a car sales associate. It involves establishing strong relationships with customers to close sales and building trust in the company brand to drive more sales in the future, from both new and repeat buyers.

Follow Up on Inquiries or Sales Whether a sale has been made or not, car sales associates follow up with customers to see how they are getting on with their purchase or to see if a different sale can be made by ascertaining what it is the customer is looking for that they didn't find previously.

Collaborate with Team Members Good interpersonal skills are important in a job like this, as teams will need to work together to achieve shared company targets. Sales associates need to be polite and willing to go the extra mile to help both colleagues and customers.

Market Merchandise Driving sales is linked to promoting and marketing the merchandise effectively. A car sales associate will spend their day highlighting offers to customers, explaining the characteristics of different vehicles, and pushing different offers or deals in order to meet sales targets.


Car Sales Associate Skills and Qualifications

Car sales associates should have excellent knowledge of the features of various car models and manufacturers, as well as the ability to explain the different options to potential customers. Car sales associates need a driver's license and a good driving record, as well as the following abilities:
  • Interpersonal skills - from greeting customers and explaining finance options to highlighting the benefits of one car over another and answering customer questions, excellent communication skills are a must for car sales associates
  • Customer service skills - car sales associates deal with customers of all different backgrounds and personality types on a daily basis, so a polite disposition and thorough understanding of excellent customer service are vital
  • Math and English proficiency - a basic aptitude for math and English is essential for car sales associates, as they complete purchase records for customers after making a sale and occasionally produce sales reports
  • Basic computer knowledge - while most of this role involves speaking with team members and customers directly, there are times when reports need to be created or financing options need to be explained, so basic computer and typing skills are often required
  • Flexibility - car sales associates must be flexible with hours, as they're sometimes required to work late or put in overtime on weekends, particularly during peak periods

Car Sales Associate Education and Training

There is no formal qualification required to become a car sales associate other than a high school diploma, although companies often prefer applicants to have some sales experience. Those with a bachelor's degree in a subject such as business or marketing may find more positions available to them. There are opportunities for job advancement; this can usually be achieved through on-the-job training as opposed to further education.

Car Sales Associate Salary and Outlook

The median annual salary for sales associates is just over $40,500. Sales associates in the 10th percentile earn around $21,000 annually, while those earning the highest salaries can make over $72,000 a year. Companies typically don't offer health benefits with this role, but there is often a commission system in place where employees can earn a percentage of the sales they make. Location plays a big part in the earning potential for this role, with larger cities typically offering higher salaries on average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the growth rate for this sector is expected to grow by 2 percent through 2026, which is slower than average for all occupations.

Car Sales Associate Helpful Resources

The sales industry is all about keeping on top of trends and finding ways to speak to your target market. We've compiled a list of some of the best resources to help you achieve success in this career:

Automotive Retail Sales Professionals - this LinkedIn group has over 2,000 members from all corners of the automotive sales and retail industry. Here, you can share your passion for the car business and network with likeminded people

Exactly How to Sell: The Sales Guide for Non-Sales Professionals - designed to teach you the best methods of attracting and keeping more customers, this book offers actionable techniques for increasing sales. It explores how to create buyer intent, manage your customer base, and help customers overcome their indecision

Keep It Simple Selling - written by former top sales professional Damien Boudreaux, this manual is a training guide to making more sales and provides simple tricks and tips that can be transformed into income-generating opportunities

Driving Sales - the Driving Sales blog takes a deep dive into the world of sales and marketing, with tips, tricks, and techniques you can apply to your day-to-day responsibilities

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