How To Be a Good Car Salesman

How To Be a Good Car Salesman

In this article, I’m going to answer the query “how to be a good salesman” by looking at the statistics of my store and figuring out what sets the top salespeople apart.

I have taken a deep dive, inspired by watching the salespeople at my dealership and combining my personal experiences. 

I believe in the car sales career. This article will take you from zero to hero with my nine keys for success!

How To Be a Good Car Salesman involves taking a look at the numbers!

There are 14 new car salespeople at our store, and last month they sold between 3 and 16.5 cars. Based on our pay plan, if you sell more 6 or fewer cars, you will make about $250 per car after all bonuses (plus $1000 for showing up). If you sell 14 or more cars, that average is about $400 per car after all bonuses (plus $1000 for showing up). That means that we have salespeople that made ~$1750 last month and we had one salesperson that made ~$7600.

What accounts for the $6k~ of monthly income disparity? What makes one salesperson better than another?


Car Sales Career | The Mega-Post

Car Sales Career | The Mega-Post

Hi there. If we haven’t met, my name is Mr. Car Sales Story. I’m the sales-career writer who started selling Audis right after graduating from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

I accomplished everything that followed with the help of two friends from college that started selling cars with me. We quickly found out that with the right attitude, we could make substantial incomes selling cars. I’ve started this blog to share what it took to get to $200k+ per year selling cars. If you are curious about what I think of the car sales career, I have a nice write up on if car sales a good career.

I’m writing this post to use as a permanent “Hello!”

I’ve written almost 50 articles so far, and I plan to keep going!

“I hear Mr. Car Sales Story writes great stuff about car sales, BDC, managing internet leads, and closing deals, but what can he teach me right now?”


Car Sales Career – The Mega-Post

We’ll start with a rant, which links to a bunch of other stuff. You can right-click any of those links and open them in a new tab for later. If you get through every link, you’ll be well-equipped to dominate your new career.

For seven-plus years, I’ve been preaching a different brand of car sales from what you’ve heard in the media. The standard line is that the car sales career is about head to head negotiation, a total grind of a job that pits buyers versus sellers. You work your butt off all day every day, make a living, and slowly gain a few extra pounds from all the pizza.

Mr. Car Sales Story’s advice? Almost all of that is nonsense: Your current idea of car sales is slow, inefficient, and holding you back. You could be making tens of thousands of dollars more while working less.

What happens when you can make more and work less? You stick with car sales instead of giving up after six months to a year like so many people before you. You get a jump start on making healthy living and quickly line your path to financial freedom.

And the effects are surprising: if you can work this advice into your career early on, you could have an incredibly lucrative (and relatively short) working life, leveraging a network of contacts to sell millions of dollars in cars every year.

So remember my freaky numbers at the start ($200k+)? There was not really any magic – my friends and I just worked hard and failed fast, learning the whole way along.

Car Sales Career Step 1: Getting the Job

The first step is this: create a killer car salesman resume and win the interview.

your car sales career starts with a great interview

you have to impress the boss

…Let’s say you have no experience, never had a job. Guess what? It’s still possible to get a job at a car dealership, just generally not starting in sales. If you read this blog and want to get into this type of career, I recommend just getting a foot in the door any means necessary. Many successful six-figure salespeople started as porters (moving cars). It helps if you know someone at a dealership from high school or a mutual friend…

Car Sales Career Step 2: Working Hard and Selling Cars

Time to master the basics: how to sell more cars at a dealership. It’s key to remember that you are the responsible party in all this. The fact that you are on this site means that you have taken some responsibility for your continued success!

your car sales career centers around hard work

the car sales career is hard, but not that hard

…First things first. You need to be able to read the hand you have. The idea of being able to “tell a buyer” is not some voodoo magic that you need to go to school for…

Always come back to the basics.

After you’ve got the basics down, rev your engines, and start using enthusiasm to sell more cars. It’s important to remember the golden rule of car salespeople buy from people they like. If you can get your customers to fall in love with you, you will find that overcoming objections will be a walk in the park.

Having the combination of routine, curated expectations, and a strong mindfulness practice is the key to being mentally prepared for difficult conversations. If you are prepared, you will be able to maintain a “safe space” while having crucial conversations with customers.

Car Sales Career Step 3: Mastering Your Pipeline

Ah, the most crucial difference between a great salesperson and a superstar: using proper follow-up.

your car sales career needs strong follow up, without it you will need this picture of the bible

what you need if you don’t have good follow-up

Build templates that solidify your processes. The follow-up email after phone call sales template is an underutilized tool to spur sales.

Use them to:

  • Protect against memory failure from customer’s “fight or flight reflex”
  • Revisit strong rapport building from the call
  • Allow for easy continuation of the conversation

Car Sales Career Step 4: Transitioning To Internet Sales

First things first: you need to learn the market. Determining the market is what allows you to work your internet leads efficiently. Once you have a handle on the market, you need to up your game to compete in the competitive internet sales playing field.

this picture of code in my article about the car sales career is here to poke fun at the term "internet sales"

“internet sales” sounds more technical than it is

You need to learn that people online have a hard time trusting others.

I learned a valuable lesson though, which is pretty simple: The Internet, combined with stress, makes trusting others difficult.

Why should I expect my customers, who are shopping online, trying not to get taken advantage of, to trust me off the bat. I didn’t trust doctors that were trying to help me!

So that’s the thing. Most of us have some form of this internet over confidence. We disregard people who know in favor for popular opinion and anecdote. We read sources and then figure ourselves experts.

After you’ve learned the market and upped your game, you need to start focusing on your efficiency. Key to this? Working within your CRM and mastering your templates and analytics.

Car Sales Career Step 5: Managing a BDC

Calm down; this is where it gets complicated. You are now managing employees that are probably hourly plus bonus. They think differently, work more standard hours, and need to be hired and trained with grace.

this photo of a stock traders office in my article about the car sales career is to make fun of how boring call centers look

no chance your BDC looks this cool

Start by building a healthy and happy team. You want to pick the right people for this position, keeping in mind the unique challenges that a BDC faces. It can be stressful at first- try visiting my list of automotive BDC tips and finding help there.

If you have set up a strong team, the next step is to optimize their BDC workflow.

Here is my break down of the first 7 days of email/phone/text cadence that is optimal for your BDC dealership workflow…

Finally, finish up your work by making sure that the Automotive BDC templates are on point!

Transitioning From The Car Sales Career

I get it. Life at the dealer can be overwhelming. It can also be fantastic. It tends to fluctuate season to season, day-to-day. If it’s been a few months and you want a change, try watching my interview with my friend who left car sales for technology sales for another option.

BDC Dealership Workflow (Includes Free Templates!)

BDC Dealership Workflow (Includes Free Templates!)

What is the optimal BDC dealership workflow? How can you optimize your time working in the BDC at the dealership to set the most appointments and sell the most cars?

This article is for the BDC rep that wants to improve. If you are a BDC manager looking to improve, check out my article Automotive BDC Tips and Tricks. If you are instead looking for a guide for how to sell extended warranties through the BDC, check out this article.

There is a method to the madness. I understand how many types of customers you need to serve. Many times the workers in the BDC dealership are handling not only inbound web leads but also incoming phone calls, routine sales floor follow-up, and more.

What can an overworked BDC rep do?

We all make mistakes, but with proper training, you can avoid them!

To improve, you are going to need to take your job seriously and ask yourself what you can do better.

In this article, I’ll break down the optimal BDC dealership workflow that I’ve honed over the last year. Following this will save you time and keep your follow-up on a good schedule.

BDC Dealership Workflow Optimization

I’m going to do my best to give you a fully decked out follow-up plan.

Here is my break down of the first seven days of email/phone/text cadence that is optimal for your BDC dealership workflow:

Day 1:
2 Emails (1st is autoresponder, 2nd is personalized)
3 Phone Calls (1 Voicemail max)
1 Text Message Opt-In

Day 2:
1 Email
2 Phone Calls (1 Voicemail)
1 Text Message Opt-In

Day 3:
1 Email
1 Phone Call

Day 4-7:
1 Email/day
1 Phone Call/day

Day 8 (Take-Away Day:
1 Email
1 VM

At that point, you’ve done your due diligence. After eight days of no response, the lead can be automated to receive a check-in email every three days.

Now that the macro-level overview is out of the way, we can answer the “why” for this article after explaining the “why,” we can delve into more detail and example templates.

Why This Article

This article is inspired by “Sarah,” who wrote in with this note:

… I started out in sales but now I’m in BDC. The info you had is helpful. 🙂 Especially email templates. I was writing them completely different and I can see how the layout you posted is probably more effective. It’s simple! I have been looking everywhere on the internet for help doing my job better because I don’t exactly know how to do this job…besides making tons of phone calls.

When I asked her what her most desired post would be about, this is what she sent over:

…A BDC follow up schedule would be awesome! How many times to call and/or email the first day, second day, and so on.

I loved this idea, and the fact I got some fan mail was a real treat. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

Day 1 Plan: Lead Received

As soon the store receives the lead, your CRM system should send out an automated first response. The first response should be personalized to the dealership’s unique qualities and set their expectations of the follow-up cadence. When a customer receives this, they know that there is someone at the helm and that they have a good chance of being taken care of (efficiently!).

First Response Automated Email Example:

Here is a decent example from Fuccillo Volkswagen:

Dear Steve,
My name is Veronica Hall and I will be your Customer Relations Agent here at Fuccillo Volkswagen of Schenectady. First, I’d like to thank you for considering us for your next vehicle! I will do everything possible to make your shopping experience fast, informative and hassle-free!

I see that you’re interested in the Atlas, awesome choice!

The online prices are firm. If you are looking to negotiate that requires your presence in our showroom. We are open Monday-Saturday 9am-9pm and Sunday 11am-8pm. What time works best for you to come in?

Veronica Hall

Not great, but this will get the job done. The good part of this first response was that:

  1. It was immediate
  2. It set the expectations of who would be reaching out
  3. Reinforced the pricing expectations
  4. Gave pertinent information (the hours of the business)

BDC Dealership First Response Voicemail Example

As soon as the first responder (Veronica Hall in this example) is available, she should try to make phone contact. This phone contact will generally end up being a voicemail. Here is the actual voicemail that she left me (transcribed by Google Voice):

Good afternoon, this message is for Steve. My name is Veronica calling from Fucillo Volkswagen. I am reaching out in regards to your inquiry on a 2018 Outlets. If you could please give me a call back at your earliest convenience. My number is 518-374-9161, and my extension is 22070. I will also send you a text update. If or reply. Yes, we can start communicating that way. Thank you and have a great day.

I love this voicemail, as I think it is efficient and to the point. She explains who she is, why she is reaching out, and how to call back. She also sets the stage for the text opt-in! Great stuff all around.

First Response Voicemail Template

Good time of day, this message is for name. My name is BDC REP calling from dealer name. I am reaching out in regards to your interest in the make model. We have a special on this car ending tomorrow and I’d love to chat about it. My number is phone number. I also sent a text opt-in if you prefer that – just reply by typing back “yes”. Looking forward to sharing with you some information later today. Again, my name is name from dealer name.

The only thing different from the real world example from “Fucillo Volkswagen” is that I like to incentivize your call to action.

First Response Text: Texting Schedule Explained

All first-response texts are going to look the same since you must get the customer to do an opt-in before starting the conversation.

Fuccillo Volkswagen of Schenectady is confirming request to send a message, reply YES to allow. Reply HELP for help. Msg & data rates may apply. Reply STOP 2 cancel

In this specific case, it’s not the content that matters (since it’s standardized), but the timing. You get three shots at getting an opt-in from a customer. Below is the schedule I use:

1st Opt-In Request: Send the first opt-in text to coincide with first outbound call and email after receiving the lead. In the first response email and phone call, make sure to mention the incoming text message and encourage the customer to “opt-in.”

2nd Opt-In Request: Send the second opt-in text on day two, after leaving your first voicemail of the day. Mention the text opt-in while leaving your voicemail.

3rd Opt-In Request: I discourage sending the third request from the BDC dealership. I encourage the third and final opt-in only when the customer is in store.

BDC Dealership Side Note: The Final Text Opt-In Strategy

Once you have exhausted the first two tries at getting the text opt-in, do not send another unsolicited request. Instead, wait for communication with the customer via phone and email (and the eventual appointment). Here is an example:

DATE: 4/16/19 @ 4:30PM
NOTES: Customer coming in for Q5 (#23451) test drive. Please have them do Text Opt-In upon arrival at the store.

This strategy ensures that in all but the most challenging cases, the store will get a text opt-in. When the salesperson asks the customer to opt-in to the text, they will have greater success.

Day 2: BDC Dealership Follow-Up Plan

On the second day, the BDC dealership apparatus should be continuing to attempt contact with the customer.

Day Two Email Response Template

Below is an email template that I’ve seen before that can be quite effective when sent to customers. The title of this email is “Time for a Quote,” which I think is decent.

We understand the reasons people shop online. Pricing is often one of the main reasons. We understand that competitive pricing, combined with strong inventory and stellar customer service is key.

In order to get you the best price we need two keys pieces of information from you:

1. Share with us your best approximation of the car you are looking for. The more detail the better!

2. Share with us how soon you can reasonably make a purchase. Pricing estimates are more accurate (and aggressive) the sooner you are buying because we know what incentives we can offer and what sales goals YOU can help us achieve!

Please also peruse our Yelp reviews- they will help you feel confident in my salesmanship (remember that people are much more likely to write a negative review than a positive one!):


The email is short enough and explains what information you need from the customer.

Day Two Voicemail Example

Similar set up to day one, with a few tweaks. Shorter and more direct.

Hi customer name! This is BDC rep name calling from dealer. My number is phone number. Just sent you quick email about pricing here at the dealer. Let’s get you in, give me a call back at phone number.


Day Two Text Example

Gotcha! The text opt-in is going to be the same.

Day 3: BDC Dealership Follow-Up Plan

And so it continues!

Day Three Email Response Template

On Day 3, send this email template (or one of your creation!). The subject line could be something catchy like “RE: thinking about you.” I love fun subject lines.

Hi Yi,

My name is BDC Rep Name, and I was hoping to get in touch today.

Let’s make an appointment to work on moving forward with the vehicle you are interested in. I have some time available at 515pm.

When would you be able to come in today? If not today- let’s plan for sometime this week. What time works best for you?


This email is even shorter, but the subject line and suggested time might catch a bite from the customer. That’s what you need!

Day Three Voicemail Example

At this point, you assume they have listened to at least one of your voicemails and read one of your emails. As such, the voicemail can be short and sweet:

Hi customer name, BDC rep name from dealer name. Just wanted to see if you had some time to chat regarding the car. Call me at number

Day 4-7: BDC Dealership Follow-Up Plan

The first crucial 72 hours have passed and no response? Time to let up a little. You will still call and email every day, but no voicemails.

Here are some of my favorites:

Subject Line: “RE: I shouldn’t have?”

Hi Customer Name,

I hope I haven’t been a bother. I’m dedicated to taking great care of you and I want you to know that I am here to assist. I hope I haven’t been reaching out too often!

Call me at 408-709-6455 to discuss your new car interest. I’ve got some interesting hook/special running through the end of the week.


The catchy subject line, hook/special that expires, and short. That’s the key. Here is another:

Subject Line: “consequences.”

Hi Customer Name,

I hope that my follow-up isn’t causing you to avoid calling in! I’m trying my best to assist you. Let me know the best way to chat.

Call me at 408-709-6455 to discuss your new car interest. I’ve got some interesting hook/special running through the end of the week.


Subject Line: “HR”

Hi Customer Name,

I recently got called into HR because I spend too much time on the computer at work. I had to explain that it was just because I’ve been trying to get in touch with my hard to reach customers!

Call me at 408-709-6455 to discuss your new car interest. I’ve got some interesting hook/special running through the end of the week.


This kind of stuff is gimmick-ey, I agree, but it can work. By the time your customer sees these emails, they have ignored 5+ other attempts. These set you apart.

Day 8: Time To Take Away

There comes a time when you need to show value by showing scarcity. Your attention is not infinite; the customer needs to know you will be discontinuing active follow-up. By telling them that you will be “taking away” attention, you provide a different message.

at your bdc dealership you need people to think the ship is sailing

this ship has sailed (almost!)

Subject Line: “reaching the end of the line.”

Dear Customer Name,

It’s been 8 days since you’ve put in a lead and I still haven’t heard from you. I’ll be removing you from active follow-up today if I don’t hear from you- which is a bummer because we have some specials/finance program/etc coming this week that I would have loved to tell you about.

If you want to hear more- shoot me a line.


Easy and clean.

Review: BDC Dealership Workflow Optimization

So there you have it! A fully optimized 8-day plan to handle unresponsive web leads. I believe this cadence is optimal. It totals 12 phone calls, nine emails, and two text messages.

Let me know your thoughts below in the comments!