Hiring the crème de la crème of car salespeople is more critical in auto sales than most other industries; this is due to the direct impact that a staffs performance has on sales and therefore, dealership profits.

Weak hiring processes and not asking impactful car sales interview questions are part of the reason why car dealerships often have a high staff turnover or lose money when employees don’t have the skills to finalise deals.

The way you conduct car salesman interviews and the pivotal questions to ask will depend on the culture of your dealership and the way you run the ship. For example, if you are a high-turnover, big-ticket, money-focused dealership, your candidate’s answers should reflect this and also be money-focused. In contrast, if customer experience and building a relationship with your clients is of high importance, your candidate’s answers should be customer-centric with excellent service experience.

If you are new to car sales recruitment or wondering why you haven’t been hiring the perfect candidates, read through these interview tips and questions, and combine them with your regular questions during your next car sales interview.

How do you deal with rejection?

Working in car sales, or any salesperson, in general, must have a thick skin if they want to be successful. Potential candidates must be able to accept the many no’s, and find a way to brush it off and get straight back into the game without dwelling on the rejection.

When you ask a candidate this question for a senior or trainee car sales jobs, you should listen out for optimism in their answer. Their example could be related to sales or a general life circumstance, but they should explain how they ignored the rejection and carried on with the task in hand despite the odds stacked against them and repeatedly put themselves out there.

Why do you want to sell cars?

This might seem like an obvious question for car sales recruitment, but it is a question that is often overlooked. It is especially crucial if your potential candidate has a different sales history and has never specialised in car sales before. This will help you determine their sales style and focus; are they looking to make as much money as possible? Do they like consistent face-to-face interaction with their customer and building rapport?

How do you work against the odds to ensure you reach your monthly sales goals?

It is essential for car salespeople to acknowledge some months will be much tougher to reach and exceed their sales goals than other months. A car salesman will be able to tell you how they get themselves out of a slump and overcome any dips in their sales trajectory, the greatest car salesman will be able to provide you with examples.

Their answers should include solutions such as remaining focused, increased motivation levels and creating an outreach plan to target many business opportunities and ensure the following month would compensate for a few slow weeks.

What is a unique trait or technique of yours that makes you a great salesperson?

For high-ticket items such as cars, it is almost sure that your customer will be shopping around to get the best deal. However, in car sales, it is not just about the product. The salesperson dealing with the prospect is just as influential as the car itself and its price tag. When interviewing car salespeople, you should try to discover the unique quirks that will make them stand out from a car salesman at the car dealership down the road. You want them to have their unique selling point, whether this is in the form of a bold personality trait or a selling technique that is almost unheard. Now is your chance to uncover this uniqueness of a potential car sales candidate.

What is your biggest motivator?

Similar to many sales jobs, the nature of selling cars means the individual must be motivated. There will be rejection, months where it seems impossible to reach targets, and long hours to ensure they are accessible to your working customers… all in the name of money!

There is no set answer for this question, and it could be sales-specific or something more generalised. However, the best car sales candidates will be able to describe a scenario where they have used every inch of motivation and desire to succeed to help them achieve their goals – whatever they might be!

What is a weakness of yours on the job, and how do you address this?

You could also phrase this by asking the car salesperson what a mistake they made during a sales pitch and what they learned from it was. The key here isn’t the mistake; it could be something minor, or it could be something significant. We all make mistakes; it’s a part of life. However, the real truth lies with how they rectified this mistake or what they came to learn from it.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

This will help you determine what values a prospect holds, and what they believe to be good advice and how this will benefit your dealership, other employees and ultimately, your customers. Again, their answer could be centred around earning money, managing finances or the treatment of others. There isn’t a set right or wrong, but it will help bridge the common traits between the car salesperson and the culture of your business.