A Car Sales Person’s Guide to Income Levels

A Car Sales Person’s Guide to Income Levels

When you are in commission sales you in various ways have the ability to dictate your income. There are many outside factors that will affect your ability to earn such as; inventory, weather, market trends, good or bad press, gas prices, interest rates, size of your dealer, brand you sell, management/owners and thousands of others.

The most important factor that dictates your overall income; where you fall with your peers, and where you rate at is, Yourself.

An ambitious, hungry sales person with a family to support and a lot of overhead is more likely to earn more and do what it takes to grow. Compared to a person who just wants a job, has to have a job, has low overhead, or someone in the family who is the bread winner will often not have the same hunger and ambition as the strapped sales person.

Ultimately the outside factors are a force, but the ambitious one will overcome and change them. The ambitious sales person destined for success will do what they need to do to survive, grow, move forward and Conquer Success. Where the sales person who looks at it simply as a job will most likely not last long. The unsuccessful sales person will Pick up the habits of the other unsuccessful sales people. They will all huddle together, being underachievers, complain how it can’t be done while watching the Ambitious sales person do it in front of their eyes. They will then try and take away their hard work by down playing the ambitious sales persons success as un-earned and given to them from the management.

Here are the III Levels of a Car Sales Person’s income and where it rates you compared to your peers.

Where do you rate, and how long did it take you to get there? I started at a high Level I, after moving to a new larger dealership, (Same Brand) reached Level II after 5 years of selling and after 11 years of selling was able to reach Level III “Sales Executive”.

Level I Sales Person $0-$99,999 a year “Sales Person”

A level I sales person usually just started in the business.  They are learning, and they have roughly a 1 in 3 chance in sticking in the business over a year. They have an even smaller chance of making any kind of good money or a career out of car sales. They will usually listen and focus to what their manager tells them, do it, and have a couple decent months.

1st Kind of Level I
In that time the rookie will usually have 1 big month where they are one of the top sales people in the dealership. This will ignite the under achievers. They will work together to recruit this new “Spark of Energy” selling all these cars. From here they will deprogram everything good and positive in this rookie and in place put in all the bad habits. This is called the huddle. A group of 10 and under a month sales people standing around waiting to get lucky. They take no pride in themselves or their career, nor do anything to better it. Their goal is to put out the “Spark” and grow the team.

2nd Kind of Level I
This is the salesperson who has been in the business for a couple years and is growing. They joined the huddle for awhile because they were sick of feeling guilty for selling lots of cars. The group took them in if they would turn their positivity into negativity and focus more on fantasy football over marketing themselves and prospecting themselves. After a few pay checks after joining the team they quit the team. They have now been in the business awhile, and are growing to become level II.

3rd Kind of Level I
This is the person who has been in the business for over a year. They are picking up how things work, and watching the best at their dealership close deal after deal. They are so hungry for success and competitive they constantly are thinking, learning, and growing their business. They are smart and understand they may have to move brands or locations to get to the next level. This is the sales person who is destined to the next level… Usually having kids will turn a car sales person into the 3rd kind of Level I.

Level II Sales Person $100,000-$149,999 a year “Sales Professional”

A level II sales person is definitely a successful person. They are one of the top 1% earners in the World. They know what they’re doing, and they go to work to work. They focus on goals, prioritize their day, and have a good grip on the ins and outs of the retail car sales business, self marketing and customer satisfaction. These people are usually at a decent sized dealership, with adequate inventory, good marketing, competent management and a good staff. This usually takes 3-5 years of hard work to get to, and takes a lot of work to maintain.

1st Kind of Level II

This is the rookie phenomenon. This person by nature is very aggressive and ambitious, and is definitely mature. They usually had owned a business or were in a different kind of sales and know about build a clientele, and self marketing. They worked a horrible job, got into car sales and said to themselves “S..T this is easy”, or have a life event like a growing family, large debt due, or an insatiable appetite for money and success. These are like I said a phenom, and very rare I’ve only worked with a very few.

2nd Kind of Level II

These are great sales people the usually have 10 years plus car sales experience. They stick in one spot, with one brand and are great at building and maintaining relationships. If their customers call or email and they miss it, they always respond back in a timely manner with answers and results. They know their product, but better yet they know their customers. They don’t kill themselves chasing ups, but still take them and usually sell them. They know how the dealership works, the politics to stay away from, and what each managers specialty is. They work hard, have a great process, and have become accustomed to the life they live and want to keep it that way.

3rd Kind of Level II

Just like the Sales Person above, they know what they’re doing and how to get the results they desire. This Sales Professional has been offered management, but loves their flexible schedule, leaving when it’s slow, and only having to worry about themselves. The 3rd Kind of level II is destined for Level III “Sales Executive”.

Level III Sales Person $150,000 and Up “Sales Executive”

Well my fellow sales people when you’ve reached the Level III “Sales Executive” you are truly the top of the heap. You are at a level of success where you make more than the average Doctor, Lawyer, and any other big name profession out there. Your day consist of solid processes, hard work, doing whatever it takes with integrity, and getting the results you desire. You know your time is worth money, and never waste a second. Your closing ratio is high, your CSI is tops, your customers love you, and you realize the level of Professionalism and skill you bring to the table and make sure you are paid for it.

The level III Sales Professional does not need sub levels, because you are one of “The Best in the Business”. Your customers never second guess what you tell them, question your knowledge, and rarely even look over the paperwork, because they “Trust You” and you keep their trust. You know the sky’s the limit, and you get what you want on every deal, knowing your worth

Now most of us sales people will start out as Level I and after years of hard work will make it to level II. Many sales people do not want to do all the things it takes to stay level II and may live their career at the top of Level I, which is still a comfortable lifestyle. But their are those few ambitious, hungry, competitive and determined Sales People that when they reach Level II are not satisfied and catapult into Level III.

Car Sales is a fun, demanding, emotional roller coaster. It takes a lot of strategy, and self discipline, but is a hell of a way to make a living. Car Sales is “A tough way to make an easy living” and if you embrace it and put in the time you can give your family a great lifestyle, I know first hand.

Another motivational blog-post written by Noel Walsh. Lead trainer, writer, and principal of NW&A “Conquer What You Chase” Sales Training of Ann Arbor, Mi and St. George, Ut.
“You don’t know what it’s going to be, and that’s a beautiful thing.”

2 thoughts on “A Car Sales Person’s Guide to Income Levels

  1. Noel,
    Fantastic Blog I would have to say I am The third kind of Level 1 and growing. I was at a large dealership for 5 years but wanted more and wanted Ford.

    Nov 4th 2014 I made the move despite many naysayers. to a smaller Ford Store in the Poconos of Pennsylvania. I am making money again and my numbers are increasing by the month.

    I am building my business day by day and have read about some great ideas which instead of thinking about and saying to my self, “that seems like a great idea, no m putting into action.

    I will put this blog on my desk top for my motivation and self tracking. Thanks Noel

    Billy Capo
    Proud Sales Consultant
    Ray Price Ford-Lincoln-Stroud
    301 North Ninth Street, Rt 611
    Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, 18360
    (570) 498-0740

    1. Billy,

      I like following you on Facebook. Keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll Conquer success just fine. I appreciate your kind words, and I’m glad I could be of motivation to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *