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5 habits of highly effective automotive sales managers

In pretty much any realm of sales, a company’s success is heavily reliant on the sales staff, including sales managers. It is no different in the auto industry, as salespeople have the ability to either gain business or lose sales on the spot. Therefore, it is important to develop and maintain practices that are conducive to all successful sales professionals, which include the following five habits.  

Study and Know the Products 

Sales managers should be fully knowledgeable about all of the products and services available to customers, as this will have them readily prepared for any questions and concerns from dealership visitors or the sales team. This begins with basics like available models and colors of vehicles but also includes knowledge about manufacturing processes, warranty and service options, and any special perks there are to buying from their dealerships compared to others.

Successful sales professionals are also well aware of their competitors’ products, pricing, and processes and can use this to their advantage when trying to finish a sale. Chances are, customers have also done a bit of online research on the competition or visited a competing dealership before walking into another one. Becoming educated on competitors’ products and business practices can give a sales manager proof that his or her dealership is better than another – and this information can intelligently get passed on to the customer. 

Charisma is Key

Charisma is essential for any sales role, but automotive sales managers must be able to be charismatic toward both customers and their sales staff. Charismatic people are confident, excited, engaging, and assertive without being condescending or pushy. Simply making eye contact when speaking to another person is a decent start, along with mastering open body language and self-awareness. Automotive sales managers must genuinely be passionate about the industry and should try to exhibit this passion to others whenever possible. 

 Part of being charismatic is influencing and motivating others, which comes in handy when working with a sales team. Having a “positive” presence in the dealership makes it a more enjoyable and less tense place overall, which is good for staff as well as customers who generally are not thrilled about the car buying process. 

Building a Solid Team

Automotive sales managers can have a lot of individual success, but in order for a dealership to succeed as a whole, they must build solid sales teams. It is well-known that automotive salespeople have one of the highest turnover rates, so finding and retaining good sales staff is critical. Habitually choosing people who are motivated, ambitious, and eager to learn is the first step to meeting and surpassing sales goals. Sales managers should always make sure the people they hire will mesh well with their dealerships’ cultures and can also bring a wide variety of skills and knowledge to their teams. 

Be a Good Listener

While this seems like a cliche, being a good listener is one of the most important traits of successful sales managers. A common complaint of car shoppers is that salespeople are too pushy and quick to judge what they are looking for, so taking a step back and actually making time to hear what customers are looking for is critical. The best automotive sales managers are able to take in what customers’ desires and concerns are along with the emotion behind them. 

If salespeople truly listen and understand what their customers’ needs are, they are then able to find the perfect vehicles for them. Talking too much during the sales process can be a hindrance, so allowing customers to relay their needs is a crucial component of helping them make an ultimate decision. Sales managers must also be good listeners for their teams, as their staff can vent concerns while also providing positive feedback that can lead to improvements and ultimate sales success. 

Create Relationships

Of course, car dealers want to target new customers to bring in new business. However, creating solid relationships with existing customers could lead to them returning and/or referring other customers to the dealer. It is important not to overlook the step of forming some sort of bond with all customers, as it could undoubtedly have long-term benefits. 

The habit of building relationships with everyone who walks in the door should be practiced constantly. Even if some customers decide to purchase a vehicle at another dealership, they will remember the bond a sales manager formed with them for the next time they or people they know are in need of a vehicle. Building relationships with the sales staff is also important, as it leads to more trust and a better dealership environment.


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Kimberly Hurley
Kimberly Hurley
Kimberly Hurley is a contributing writer and investigative journalist for CBT News, with over a decade of experience specializing in automotive, healthcare, and manufacturing. She enjoys working with industry professionals throughout the world to develop engaging, and accurate content.

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