Car Sales Executive
Car Sales Executives sell new and used vehicles. They work for car dealerships where cars are displayed in showrooms or on forecourts. Car Sales Executives serve customers, find new customers and complete the administration related to vehicle sales.
Also known as
- Vehicle Salesperson
- Salesperson, Car
- Vehicle Sales Executive
Video: - Dan: Car Salesperson
As a Car Sales Executive, you will sell new and used cars to individuals (and sometimes to businesses). Cars are displayed on forecourts (outside) and in showrooms (inside).
You work for car dealerships. Some dealerships, usually large ones with several outlets, sell new and used cars. Other dealerships sell only used vehicles. Some Car Sales Executives work for car supermarkets that sell cars from different manufacturers.
You will spend most of your time helping customers and sorting out paperwork. When a customer first visits a dealership, you will greet them and talk to them to find out which type of car they would like.
You also need to ask questions about the customer's circumstances:
- do they have a family?
- do they regularly drive long distances?
- do they do most of their driving in a town or city?
- how much do they want to spend?
- will they need to pay for the car in instalments?
You will then recommend a vehicle to suit the customer's needs.
You'll show the vehicle to the customer and explain its features and advantages. If the customer is still interested, you will usually arrange a test drive. This means taking the customer out in the car and allowing them to drive it.
When the customer decides to buy the car, you will begin to negotiate a deal. Sometimes the customer wants to part-exchange their old car; sometimes they want to borrow money from a finance company; sometimes they will have enough money to buy the car outright and might ask for a discount.
If there is going to be a part-exchange, you will have to appraise the customer's vehicle; this means following a standard procedure to check the general appearance, age and condition of the car. You will then pass your appraisal report to the Sales Manager, who decides on a value for the vehicle.
When a sale is agreed, you will record the details on computer and complete all the administration relating to the sale (finance forms, vehicle registration, tax, insurance and so on). You might also liaise with other departments in the dealership to make sure that the car is ready for delivery at the right time.
It could be several weeks before a new car is ready for a customer, so you will need to stay in touch by telephone to keep the customer informed of progress.
An important task is to find new customers. You might spend a good deal of time on the telephone talking to potential customers. You will usually have sales targets that you must try to reach each month.
You may specialise in selling fleets of vehicles (varying from several to a large number) to businesses.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a Car Sales Executive, you should have:
- an interest in cars
- selling and customer service skills
- a confident, friendly and positive attitude
- negotiating, communication and listening skills
- interpersonal skills
- a flexible approach
- a good telephone manner
- number skills
- a driving licence, for taking customers on test drives and for delivering cars to buyers
- a smart appearance
If you work for a dealership where most cars are displayed outside, you will need to be able to work in all types of weather. You will need a general level of fitness to be out on the forecourt for a long time.
Pay and Opportunities
Most new Car Sales Executives earn between £19,000 and £26,000 a year. Experienced Sales Executives often make up to £30,000 a year. Top sellers at large dealerships can make more than £50,000 a year.
Annual earnings for Car Sales Executives vary quite a bit. The number and value of the vehicles they sell impact income. It also depends on the type of dealership they work for. Those who work for large, busy dealerships, or who sell luxury cars, tend to make the most money.
Some people in this field make a salary, but a lot are paid fully on commission. They usually earn 20 to 25% of the profit from each sale. Some people earn a base salary plus commission. Sales Executives can earn bonuses if they meet or exceed their sales targets. They can also get bonuses when they sell extra products, like extended warranties or body protection.
Hours of work
Car Sales Executives usually work 40 hours a week, and most of them work at the weekends.
This career could include working on a
Where could I work?
Employers are new and used car sales dealerships and car supermarkets.
Opportunities for Car Sales Executives occur in every town and city, and some rural areas, throughout the UK.
Opportunities occur for Car Sales Executives to become self-employed, usually buying and selling used vehicles.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, on recruitment and employers' websites, and on Find a Job (www.gov.uk/jobsearch).
Social media websites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, are a great way to network, find vacancies and get in contact with possible employers. Make sure that your profile presents you in a professional manner that will appeal to potential employers.
Take a look at our General Information Article
Entry Routes and Training
You could enter this career by applying for a trainee post with an employer, or through a work-based training scheme.
Some people enter car sales after first doing other types of work; some people have worked as a Vehicle Technician or in vehicle hire, for example. Others have face-to-face retail sales skills.
You might choose to study full-time at college before entering this career. Relevant vocational qualifications are available from BTEC or City and Guilds.
An Intermediate Level Apprenticeship or Advanced Level Apprenticeship is a great place to start. Take a look at our information article
If you would like some training, BTEC offer a diploma in vehicle sales principles at levels 2 and 3. This course has a range of units, which include:
- knowledge of health, safety and good housekeeping in the automotive environment
- knowledge of support for job roles in the automotive work environment
- skills in meeting and greeting vehicle sales customers
- skills in delivering a vehicle sales static presentation
- skills in handling vehicle sales telephone enquiries
- skills in the handover of the vehicle to the customer
Other courses could be available in your area.
Previous experience within a sales environment will be helpful to get into this career. An interest in the automobile industry will really help you stand out from the crowd.
Car Sales Executives can progress to Team Leader or Manager posts.
After experience as a Car Sales Manager, you might be able to take the postgraduate certificate, diploma or MSc in automotive retail management at Loughborough University Business School.
There are no minimum qualifications needed to become a Car Sales Executive. However, some employers might ask for GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and maths.
Sales qualifications could also help you to stand out from the crowd.
To get onto an Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need five GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, possibly including English and maths.
City and Guilds offer a range of qualifications aimed at providing you with an introduction to the automotive industry, from the first design of a new car, right up to the sales and the customer driving the car out of the showroom.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits. Some employers might set an age limit of 21 for Car Sales Executives, because of insurance requirements for test drives.
Some entrants have developed relevant skills through dealing with the public, or in retail and customer care.
Intermediate Level Apprenticeships and Advanced Level Apprenticeships in Vehicle Sales might be available in your area.
- 2% of people in occupations such as Car Sales Executives are self-employed.
- 67% work part-time.
- 5% have flexible hours.
- 6% of employees work on a temporary basis.
Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far
National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)
Tel: 0800 015 0400
Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 9178000