How to Become a Car Salesman

January 23, 2024

Team ACV




How to Become a Car Salesman

ACV facts & figures

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A car salesman shaking hands with customers

If you’re looking to switch careers and wondering how to become a car salesman, look no further. This can be a fruitful career path and a fulfilling job, but it may seem opaque when you think about how to reach that end goal. We’ve compiled a list to help you understand what a car salesman does and what you need to do to get the job. 

What Is the Role of a Car Salesman?

A car salesperson is the main individual a customer interacts with at a dealership. They are in charge of understanding the customer’s needs and wishes, knowing the full inventory of the lot, and helping the customer get acquainted with their options. This means a car salesman needs to have several key skills, including communication and relationship-building, thorough knowledge of every car and its features, and negotiating sales and pricing to close the deal. A car salesman will need to be prepared to talk about every feature of the vehicle, as well as specific vehicles’ faults, mileage, and condition. They will also be in charge of assisting the test drives.1

According to the job website, these are some of the typical responsibilities in any car salesman’s job description: 

  • Stay up to date on the features of every car available
  • Learn more about new information that comes out about every type of vehicle
  • Be able to explain and teach customers about the car features 
  • Understand customer needs and help them find a suitable car
  • Develop relationships and stay in touch with customers to build a loyal client base 
  • Negotiate prices and strike deals
  • Complete inspection reports and financing 
  • Process paperwork associated with sales 
  • Remain updated on all new training through the dealership

What Are the Typical Hours and Pay as a Car Salesman?

Most car salespeople have a 40-hour work week, but the role often requires some weekend and evening work since dealerships get a lot of foot traffic at those times. 

Working in car sales means commissions are part of the salary structure. This incentivizes people to do the best job possible in the role, since they get a percentage of the amount of every car that they sell.2 Many dealerships also offer their full-time employees other benefits, like healthcare and retirement plans.

A Complete List of the Car Salesman Requirements 

If you are looking to pursue this profession, here are the steps you will need to take: 

1. Complete Your Education

Typically, this job requires a high school diploma or equivalent (GED). This will qualify you for most salesperson roles, but a sales manager role may require additional education in the form of a bachelor’s or associate degree in a related field, like finance, business, or management.  

2. Get Work Experience

The best way to advance your career as a car salesman is to get experience in the field. Although most sales roles will require you to have prior experience, you can get any other job to build up the proof that you have the communication, customer service, and relationship-building skills needed to succeed in the industry. You may also be able to get a lower-level position like a lot porter and work your way up.3 Consider a position in retail or hospitality where you can get transferable experience under your belt. 

3. Obtain a Car Salesman License

This requirement varies by state, so confirm whether your state requires car salesmen to have licenses. If so, you will need to complete the full application process through the Department of Motor Vehicles. This could entail a simple application, background check, or even a test. 

4. Train as a Car Salesman

Once you get a job, there will be a training period where you will need to prove you can learn what it takes to help the business thrive. The dealership’s training program will help you learn about their financial goals, the technical skills required to complete the job, and everything they do to market their business and build a customer base. 

Work With ACV Auctions to Grow Your Dealership 

If you own a car dealership, you’re looking for the best salesmen out there and the best vehicle inventory in your area. Working with our online auctioning platform can help you fill your lot with desirable vehicles to keep your customer base expanding. Each of our vehicles is individually inspected by our knowledgeable team so you know exactly what you’re bidding on each time you go to make a purchase. Reach out to our team today to learn more. 


  1. Indeed. 2023. “How to become a car salesman.” Retrieved January 17, 2024. 
  2. Darcars. “How to become a car salesman.” Darcars. Retrieved January 17, 2024. 
  3. College of Automotive Management. 2022. How to become a successful car salesperson with no prior automotive experience.” College of Automotive Management. Retrieved January 17, 2024.