How to Sell Cars – 9 Quick Tips to Help You Sell More Cars Without Spending More Time at the Dealership

how to sell cars - 9 Quick Tips to Help You Sell More Cars Without Spending More Time at the Dealership

How to Sell Cars

9 Quick Tips to Help You Sell More Cars Without Spending More Time at the Dealership

Selling cars isn’t hard, but it does take work.

However, this doesn’t mean killing yourself spending fourteen hours, seven days a week at the dealership. You can be successful selling cars without spending an extra minute in the store. The key is how you spend your time, not how much time you spend.

So, You Want to be Successful at Selling Cars?

The great news is we’ve got nine quick tips to share with you that separate the top sellers from the bottom dwellers! Moreover, properly following these nine quick tips will have you at the top of the leaderboard in no time. The nine (in no particular order):

  • Trust the Process
  • Stay in Control
  • Use the CRM
  • Assume the Sale
  • There is Only One Goal
  • Become Their SPOC
  • Ask
  • Work Your Moneymakers
  • Attitude Matters

Trust the Process

The road-to-the-sale may feel antiquated to some salespeople, but it serves an important purpose. Used properly, your road-to-the-sale helps you build value in the vehicle, the dealership, and you. This increased value leads to higher close rates and higher grossing deals; and this means more money in your pocket without having to get in front of any more Ups than you’re seeing today.

Trust the process your managers have laid out. If they don’t enforce a strict road-to-the-sale, create your own. As we explain in Ridiculously Simple Car Selling, top sellers don’t freelance their sales process with each Up. Quite the contrary – top sellers are known for sticking to a strict sales process every time regardless of which rabbit hole a prospect tries to take them down. They do this because they know that process outsells everything else. It always has, and it always will.

Stay in Control

If you expect to hold to your road-to-the-sale and close more deals, you need to stay in control of your buyers. When we examine what went wrong with a sale not made to an otherwise qualified buyer, we nearly always discover the salesperson lost or never had control of the sale. In most of these instances, it’s the latter; the salesperson never took control of the sale. (Think about it: It’s hard to stay in control if you never had control in the first place.)

The easiest time to grab control of the sale is during your first interaction with a prospect. And the easiest way to do this is to establish control with the first words that come out of your mouth:

Fresh Up: Welcome to ABC Motors, my name is Alejandro. Which vehicle did you come to test drive today? (This is the first part of the Assumptive Selling Meet & Greet we explore in the “Fresh Ups” chapter of Ridiculously Simple Car Selling.)

Phone Up (asking about availability): I saw that vehicle this morning, though at the price we have it listed for, it likely won’t make it to the weekend. Now, we have two priority test drives open on that vehicle this afternoon. We have a 12:15 and a 12:45. Which of these works better for you? (This is called the Appointment-First Approach. Something we explain in the “Phone Ups” chapter of Ridiculously Simple Car Selling.)

Internet Lead (once you reach them by phone): Hi Barbara, this is Mike from ABC Motors, and I’m just calling to schedule your priority test drive on the 2021 Nissan Altima. Now, we have two priority test drives open on that vehicle this afternoon. We have a 12:15 and a 12:45. Which of these works better for you? (This is another use of the Appointment-First Approach that we discuss in the “Internet Leads” chapter of Ridiculously Simple Car Selling.)

Use the CRM

Your dealership’s customer relationship management (CRM) software can be your greatest asset – learn everything you can about it! No CRM will sell you a car, but used properly, your CRM can and will help you sell more vehicles with less effort. However, you must learn not just how to use it, but how to use it effectively.

When we work with mediocre sellers – especially those who’ve been in the game for years – we see common themes when it comes to their store’s CRM. Some think it’s just a way for the sales manager to micromanage them. While others think it’s a waste of time, that it makes it harder to do their jobs, that it “sucks,” and that it’s costing them deals. They’re all wrong!

Your dealership’s CRM is not some spy tool your manager uses to catch you doing something wrong. Moreover, when used properly, the CRM doesn’t make it harder to do your job. Proper use of the CRM makes selling cars easier because it will make you more efficient.

The biggest hurdle to selling more cars or even setting more appointments for most salespeople is organization. Properly using the CRM keeps you organized, and it will bubble your easiest opportunities to the top of your task list.

Assume the Sale

Everyone is a buyer. Say it out loud and repeat it until you believe it. Everyone is a buyer.

No offense, but most consumers don’t like talking to salespeople. If you have an Up in front of you or on the phone, this is great news! It means they are a buyer who wants to buy today!

Everyone is a buyer. Everyone.

The most successful automotive salespeople we’ve ever met assume everyone is a buyer until they prove they are not. Conversely, average salespeople believe everyone is a tire-kicker until they prove they really want to buy. Do you see the difference?

If you believed someone wasn’t a buyer, why would you try? Why would you bother to take them through all the steps of your road-to-the-sale? Why would you want to waste your time on non-buyers? You wouldn’t, so you don’t. In the end, you prove yourself correct.

Do what top sellers do: assume the sale. Assume you have a qualified buyer who wants to buy today from you until they prove otherwise.

There is Only One Goal

As shocking as it may sound, if you’re an automotive sales professional, your goal is not to sell the vehicle. Your goal – your only goal – is the next step in the road-to-the-sale.

Salespeople who routinely rest at the bottom of the leaderboard each month often believe their goal is to sell the vehicle. They are so focused on that goal that they vomit information on prospects too early in the process. For example, when these sellers catch a Phone Up and the prospect asks about payments, they’re quick to show off their financial prowess and spew payments, terms, and interest rates to those who’ve never even test driven the vehicle!

Payments are never discussed before the Write-Up for a reason; and it’s not only because payments are irrelevant if they hate the vehicle. When you spout payments to someone over the phone, you’re either going to drive them to your competition or drive them out of the market. Your only goal is the next step in the road-to-the-sale, and in the case of a Phone Up, this means setting an appointment that shows.

Become Their SPOC

Salespeople who enjoy the most repeat and referral business become the SPOC (the single-point-of-contact) for their customers. If you want to develop a book of business filled with customers who consider you first when they need their next vehicle, you need these customers to rely on you. You need to become their go-to source for solving any automotive-related issue. You should be the first person they think of when they have a question.

If not, they’re simply going to go online the next time they catch New Car Fever, view thousands of choices available in your market, select some vehicles they want to see and drive, and eventually buy from someone else.

Highly successful automotive sales professionals employ a SPOC approach with their customer base. They’re known for providing great customer service before, during, and (especially) after the sale by making sure the customer knows if they ever need any assistance with their purchase, they just need to call one number.

Tell them during delivery you’re their single point of contact at your dealership. If they need anything with their new vehicle, you’re the one who will help them. (And then help them.)


The key to getting more referral business is simple: Ask for the referral.

If the customer enjoyed buying from you, if they trust you, and if they felt like they got a fair deal, why wouldn’t they want their friends and family to buy from you?

You might be thinking, “But won’t my truly satisfied customers send buyers my way automatically?”

If only. The fact is that few people want to proactively tell others what to do – even when it would benefit the other person. Therefore, don’t expect your satisfied customers to ask you for additional business cards so they can share them with their friends and family. It just doesn’t happen like that in the real world.

Work Your Moneymakers

Bottom dwellers are famous for spending hours wasting time in the dealership. They’ll surf the web, hang out in the vaping circle, or play games on their phones. Of course, these same salespeople are quick to complain about the dealership’s lack of good inventory, the high retail prices, or the store’s marketing.

Success in sales is so closely tied to activity, that we find it odd when we hear salespeople complaining about their lack of opportunities all while their heads are buried in their smartphones. There is no secret formula for selling success; it’s ridiculously simple. Those that are the most successful are the ones generating the most sales-focused activity. In other words: you must do something to sell something!

We call those sales-focused activities Moneymakers; and top salespeople are on top for a reason. When they’re not in front of an Up, they’re completing the activities that will put them in front of an Up. The key for you is to identify your Moneymakers, create a list, and then pick something from your Moneymakers list whenever you’re not in front of an Up. Doing so will make your workdays go by quickly while also helping you sell more vehicles.

Attitude Matters

No offense, but if you’ve been selling cars for more than a few months and you’re not sitting at or near the top of the leaderboard in your dealership, get a mirror. It’s not salesmanship, talent, or luck that’s keeping you from being a top seller in your organization. It’s you. More specifically, it’s your combination of attitude and activity.

The two key ingredients that separate the top sellers from the bottom dwellers are attitude and activity. This should come as great news to you! Attitude and activity can be developed in anyone, while talent and luck cannot.

Probably the easiest way to explain the effects of attitude is to start with a bad example. Therefore, meet Five-Car Freddie. The attitude of the typical Five-Car Freddie is anchored in the idea that selling cars is okay for now, but he’s got bigger dreams. Dreams he never acts upon, but dreams, nonetheless. “Why spend all day killing myself when I’m not going to be selling cars forever?” he thinks.

Freddie believes he could sell more if the dealership would just spend a little more on advertising. He sees the billboards for the other dealers, he hears their commercials, and he wonders why his dealer can’t just pony up more dough for ads.

Most of the Fresh Ups Freddie sees are just tire-kickers or another get-me-done without a cosigner. The phone calls are all low-balling price-shoppers, and the Internet Leads are garbage. And don’t get Freddie started on the store’s inventory. In his mind, it’s never been worse. Plus, “The prices are too dang high! No one’s gonna pay $40,000 for that truck!” he tells his fellow complainers.

Now meet 30-Car Theo. The attitude of the typical 30-Car Theo is anchored in the idea that he is responsible for his own success. He is driven by a personal desire to succeed, and he doesn’t allow himself to be distracted by the Five-Car Freddies spending their days complaining.

Plus, he loves what he does, and he wants everyone to know it. 30-Car Theo arrives at work excited and ready-to-go regardless of the day of the week. This is why you’ll occasionally see 30-Car Theo sell three vehicles on a Tuesday – he brings his winner’s attitude to the lot every single day.

30-Car Theo likes selling cars, he likes the car business, and he especially likes his customers – and this shows in everything he does. Customers, you see, feed off his positive attitude and they enjoy buying from 30-Car Theo.

The store’s advertising is not his concern. Nor is the inventory or the pricing. He’s successfully sold from better inventory and from worse inventory. So long as there are vehicles to sell, he can make great money.

Everyone Theo encounters is a qualified buyer who wants to buy today. If someone steps on the lot, they’re a buyer. If the phone is ringing, it’s someone looking for his help to buy their next vehicle. If an Internet Lead lands in his inbox, it’s from someone who will be purchasing from him today.

Selling cars isn’t hard, but it does take work. Of course, incorporating these nine quick tips into your daily routine makes the work easier as the deals go more smoothly, the customers become friendlier, and your paycheck grows.

If you’d like to learn more about how ridiculously simple car selling can be, we recommend you check out Ridiculously Simple Car Selling. This short, 140-page book is loaded with everything you need to be successful selling cars today and long into the future. Plus, each chapter ends with key learnings and chapter exercises to make the lessons you’re learning become everyday habits.

Good Selling!

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