Careers in Sales and Leasing
Automotive sales and leasing is a key part of the automotive industry and a great way of breaking in if you’ve dreamed of making your mark in the world of automotive trades careers. Sales and leasing professionals, along with automotive mechanics, are generally the primary points of contact the average person has with all things to do with cars and trucks.
New or used, vehicle sales and leasing takes place through licensed franchise or independent dealerships. These businesses are responsible for helping customers find a good match among the products they have available, but also, because of the high cost of a car or truck, this means having specialized financing assistance to help buyers navigate acquiring a car loan.
Some dealerships are also the main spot for maintenance, offering warranties and access to officially approved parts through their in-house garages. This means that as you advance in your career to management, you may be called upon to help all the different departments at a dealership work together as a team, from parts and warehousing to the sales floor. It can be helpful to get your car sales skills from a place that also offers trades training, for a head start on understanding the jobs of your co-workers.
Since automotive sales and leasing typically has commission worked into its pay structure, good sales professionals can expect to be well compensated. However, if you’re looking to enter into this career path and you want to do well, there’s a few things to consider.
The Changing Car Buyer
Canadian car buyers have changed a lot in recent decades. Some things remain a constant – Canadians still like small fuel-efficient cars and hard working, heavy duty trucks, however, reflecting the changing demographics in employment and purchasing power, women are now both the leading car buyers and the leading spenders in annual automotive sales.
Another factor that’s changed is the role of the internet in helping consumers make choices. While in the past, the biggest influence on purchases outside the car lot was friends and family, these days an increasingly connected customer is turning to online reviews to help them discover and compare not just the features of the cars they are thinking of buying, but also to give them a better understanding of price.
The biggest trend in modern car sales training is the rise of consultative sales. This means that rather than pushing to make a deal, vehicle sales professionals make it their first job to learn about potential customers and how to help pick the best match for them. Time and time again, surveys of car buyers after purchase have uncovered that the single best thing people appreciate is a sales professional who is an expert in cars, but more focused on assistance than getting contracts signed.
This strategy pays big dividends down the road. As a major purchase, and a necessary part of many people’s lives, vehicle buying is subject to heavy brand loyalty. You’ve probably heard people describe themselves as a “Ford family” or a “Toyota person” and this self identification is really useful to dealerships, as one good experience now can encourage a lifetime of sales.