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Automobile Sales Process

by Ron Kurtus (updated 23 December 2022)

Automobile dealerships are in the business of selling used and new cars. Often individuals will sell their own used car, using a process similar to that of the dealers.

The process involved in selling cars is that the dealership advertises automobiles they have available and provide a location for prospective customers to see the cars. The salesperson then qualifies the prospect to see what type of automobile is desired. He shows or demonstrates the car.

Then the salesperson tries to convince the prospect to buy the car, often through negotiation. If the decision is positive, the prospect becomes the customer who purchases the vehicle.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Get prospect into showroom

The very first thing in the automobile sales process is to get the prospective customer into the showroom. For individuals selling their own cars, it means to get the person to come over to your house to look at your car.


Advertising is a way to let people know what is available for sale and where you are located.


The manufacturer of new automobiles places ads in the various media outlets to tout their brand and models of cars. A dealership will then have commercials on television and radio to let people know where they can get these cars. They also place ads in the newspapers on both new and used cars to bring in prospects.


Individuals selling their own cars will usually place an ad in the newspaper and might put up signs in local stores of a car for sale. Websites such as Craigslist are often used to post ads for used cars.


Some car salesmen will call up people or send out mailers to attract people to see them for a new or used car. This is called prospecting.


When a prospective buyer comes into the showroom, the salesperson will approach and qualify the person as to what sort of car he or she is seeking. Sometimes people aren't really planning on buying a car at this time but are just browsing around. Others may be looking for something in a specific price range or with certain features.

If the person is a prospective buyer, the salesperson will find a car of interest and give a demonstration of its features and benefits to the buyer. This often involves a test ride in the car. As part of this demonstration process, a professional salesperson will try to befriend the prospect and be likeable, thus enhancing the chances for a sale.

Likewise, an individual selling his or her car will show the car, answer questions and allow the prospect to take it for a test ride. If the prospect does not care to go for a test ride and says, "I'll get back to you," that is an indication he is not interested. Almost no one buys a car without first taking it for a ride.

Negotiating the sale

After the prospect has tested a car of interest, the salesperson will go through a process of convincing the person to make a decision and buy the car right now. Often people will say they want to look around some more, so that is a major hurdle that must be overcome.

If the demonstration was positive and if the salesperson is likeable and seemingly trustworthy, the chances of the sale are increased. The salesperson can then start a negotiation process to convince the person to buy through appealing to the benefits and value of the purchase. Often this concerns establishing an appealing price for the car.

A common expression in trying the convince the prospect to buy is: "If you could get this car for $XXX, would you buy it?" If the answer is "Yes", then they are close to a deal. Further negotiations will hopefully result in the customer agreeing to buy the car.


The process of selling a new or used automobile consists of advertising, to let potential customers know what is available and where to go to see it. The salesperson then qualifies the prospect to see what type of automobile is desired and demonstrates the car. He tries to convince the prospect to buy the car, often through negotiation. The person will either agree to buy the car or go elsewhere.

Get the prospect to like you

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