Car Dealership Staff and Who Does What

As I mentioned earlier the entire car dealership staff is a team and each player has a role to play.  This section will provide you with the players of the game and also provide you with some insight in to the why and also what they do as a part of this well-oiled selling machine.

Car Salesman or Saleswoman:

The car salesman at most car dealerships gets paid 100% commissions, but there are exceptions. Some car dealers pay their sales staff a very small base salary with the balance being commission. Although as I mentioned most car salesman get paid commission only which means they could spend and entire day or even a week at the dealership and not make a single dollar. The car salesman that doesn’t sell a minimum numbers of cars each month may find themselves unemployed in short order.

The overall idea is for the salesman to be ambitious, motivated and eager to sell cars. A salesperson that consistently sells a respectable number of cars makes more money and is also eligible for a variety of bonuses and spiffs. The salesman commission is based on the percent of profit the dealership makes on each sale. Therefore the car salesperson has some level of control when it comes to their earning potential. The more they get to pay the more they will put in their pocket at the end of the day. So you can see their motivation for selling you a car and getting you to pay as much profit as possible is in their own best interest.

Sales Manager:

The Sales Manager at the car dealership is also known as the floor manager. In other words they make sure all customers are being taken care of and oversee what is gong on with customer and salesperson negotiations. They are poised to jump into a deal if need be at anytime. Should the salesman fail to close the sale after a period of time the car salesman will return to the office and the Sales Manager or Floor Manager will take over and do their best to close the sale. The sales manager will often have authority to lower the price even lower than the salespersons last offer in order to make a sale. The Sales Manager an important staff member may also be called the closer. The sales manager gets paid on a commission basis, but their pay is based on the overall sales and profit of the sales team. Their pay plan also reflects their ability to get you to pay more for your next vehicle.

Used Car Manager:

The used car manager is the person at the dealership that will evaluate your trade-in. Sometimes a sales manager might determine the market value, but the used car manager is responsible for not only evaluating trade-ins, but also for managing the used car inventory, pricing and profitability of the department. The used car manager is also compensated on a commission basis, which is determined, by the volume and profit. Which means every vehicle he sets a value on must include a profit margin and enough money for marketing and reconditioning. The used car manager will give the value to the desk sales manager and they decide on the amount they will actually provide to the car salesperson and eventually you the customer. You can see that a good used car manager is a critical member of the car dealer staff.

Desk Manager:

The Desk Sales Manager is a busy person when there are customers at the dealership because he is working directly with every car salesman that has a customer, interacting with the Used Car Manager and also setting up the F&I Manager. Depending on the size of the dealership the desk manager may also be the floor manager and at larger dealerships there may multiple desk managers when there is significant customer traffic in the showroom and on lot.

The Desk Sales Manager is going to be the person that will deicide on the numbers the salesman presents to the customers including the trade value and the monthly payments or lease payments. Their job is to start the customer off with higher than actual numbers in order to determine the customers level of knowledge and what type of discount and trade in value to accept in order make a sale. All this determined by the information that the car salesman provides the desk manager based on the customers reaction to the original numbers presented to the customer. They are ultimately going to decide what price they will accept, what trade-in value they will accept, the interest used and the monthly payment. If their is a separate floor manager they will also interact with the desk manager to determined how low they will go if the floor sales manager needs to step in or take over the deal. The Desk Sales Manager is calling all the shots when it comes to accepting or rejecting what type of deal the dealership will eventually accept.

The desk manager is also compensated on a commission basis, which is determined, by volume and the gross profit of the sales department. The more profit that they can work into every sale eventually becomes part of their pay. They are motivated by profit and now you can see why. The Sales or Floor Manager and the Desk Manager can also be interchangeable depending on the size and management structure of the car dealership staff.

Finance or F&I Manager:

The F&I Manager also known, as the Business Manager is the person that does your paperwork when you buy a car. The F&I Manager is typically brought up from the car dealership staff on salesmen when they are very good at what they do on a consistent basis. They know how to sell and they are responsible for selling you a whole host of goods and services after you have already you have made your car deal. They are paid a percent of profit on all the goods and services they sell you starting from the Interest Rate, the extended warranty, wheel and tire coverage, insurance, service contracts and vehicle protection packages. There are times when they could sell you a list of products and make very little profit and other times they could sell you one product and make thousands of dollars on your vehicle purchase.

General Sales Manager:

The General Sales Manager is responsible for everything that goes on in the sales department. From inventory, to pricing objectives, sales goals, sales staff, Sales Managers, F&I Managers and profitability. Once again depending on the size of the car dealership staff and volume this person may be doing multiple jobs, but usually only at very small dealerships. The General Sales Manager is getting paid commission based on profitably of sales and the F&I department. It all matters to the General Sales Manger because that is how he lines his pocket.

General Manager:

The General Manager is the person a customer will rarely meet or see unless of course it’s a very small dealership. They are responsible for absolutely everything from sales, parts, service, staff and money. They are compensated differently that the others I have covered so far. The sales staff in is paid commission based on the gross profit, but the General Manager is paid based on the net profit of the dealership. That means they get their cut after all the bills, wages, insurance, taxes and any obligations are paid in full. It is demanding job, but that is why a well-run dealership pays the General Manager a very substantial annual salary or commission if you will.

As you can see through every step of the car buying process profit is #1 priority and you can see why. Everyone on the car dealership staff is paid based on their own profitably which makes it so very important for you to be prepared the next time you purchase a new or used vehicle. Buy a car blindly and you will pay dearly just because you didn’t take the time to prepare by following the instructions in this car-buying guide.

Leave a Comment