I took a job with Heritage Auto Group. They are the tenth largest group in the US, with sixty-five dealerships. They dominate the mid-Atlantic region, and they are big enough to understand and implement some best practices. Example: I went through a week of sales training, which no other dealership I interviewed at offers. The small ones just throw you out there, sink or swim.
If I sell the cars at the rate that I should, I'll make about the same money I was making as a SQL Server database analyst, and that's amazing to me. Also, I won't be sitting in a cubicle wrangling data with no human interaction all day long, which I hate. So far, I've sold one car in two days at work, statistically invalid. I need to do a little better than that, three cars a week, but I'm just starting.
Here's what I've learned so far:
My colleagues, the other sales people, are universally nice folks. They are helpful, smart, have good senses of humor, and are good listeners, all qualities that I think make good sales people. People buy from people they like, and these are likable people.
The sales people don't lie to the customers, or mislead them.
Only two of the sales people wear glasses, even though some are older than me. Odd.
The sales managers (the guys who set and negotiate price, among other things) are smart too. They are also hard-hearted men.
Most people are not "car people". They just want to get from place to place in a vehicle they really don't care much about. Car buying for them is a chore.
People don't like car salesmen, but our mission is to get them to like us. If the customer doesn't come to like you, no sale. There is no real product differentiation between Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota, etc. and preferences for one brand over another are essentially fetishes. The customer buys the sales person, then the car.