Automobile Sales Workers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Because thorough knowledge of automobiles—from how they work to how they drive and how they are manufactured—is essential for a successful sales worker, automotive maintenance classes in high school are an excellent place to begin. Classes in English, speech, drama, and psychology will help you to achieve the excellent speaking skills you will need to make a sale and gain customer confidence and respect. Classes in business and mathematics will teach you to manage and prioritize your workload, prepare goals, and work confidently with customer financing packages. As computers become increasingly prevalent in every aspect of the industry, you should take as many computer classes as you can. Speaking a second language will give you an advantage, especially in major cities with large minority populations.

Postsecondary Training

Those who seek management-level positions will have a distinct advantage if they possess a college degree, preferably in business or marketing, but other degrees, whether they be in English, economics, or psychology, are no less important, so long as applicants have good management skills and can sell cars. Some schools offer degrees in automotive marketing and automotive aftermarket management that prepare students to take high-level management positions. Even with a two- or four-year degree in hand, many dealerships may not begin new hires directly as managers, but first start them out as sales workers.

Northwood University, in cooperation with the National Automobile Dealers Association, offers the undergraduate Automotive Management and Marketing program. Students seeking entry-level positions will gain a significant advantage by earning this degree. Completion of this academic program assures employers that workers have the basic skills they require. The program is available at Northwood University's Midland, Michigan campus and through Northwood's online courses.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Most states require automobile sales workers to be licensed. Contact your state's department of licensing for more information about requirements in your state.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

To obtain experience in sales, try to land a sales job at big-box store or other employer that involves a lot of interaction with customers.

In today's competitive job market you will need a high school diploma to land a job that offers growth possibilities, a good salary, and challenges; this includes jobs in the automobile sales industry. Employers prefer to hire entry-level employees who have had some previous experience in automotive services or in retail sales. They look for candidates who have good verbal, business, mathematics, electronics, and computer skills. A number of automotive sales and services courses and degrees are offered today at community colleges, vocational schools, independent organizations, and manufacturers. Sales workers should possess a valid driver's license and have a good driving record.

Sales workers must be enthusiastic, well-organized self-starters who thrive in a competitive environment. They must show excitement and authority about each type of car they sell and convince customers, without being too pushy (though some pressure on the customer usually helps make the sale), that the car they're interested in is the "right" car, at the fairest price. Sales workers must be able to read a customer's personality and know when to be outgoing and when to pull back and be more reserved. A neat, professional appearance is also very important for sales workers.