How To Sell More Cars? Play The Numbers Game

by Scott Klein on May 13, 2011

“Become A Better Closer?”

As a sales trainer for a dealer group in Metro Atlanta, salespeople constantly ask me how to sell more cars. My answer isn’t the obvious of what many trainers might say which is learning to be a better closer. Sure being a better closer will help you sell more cars, but not the kind of numbers that will really affect your paycheck, and here’s why:

Let’s say for a 30 day period, a salesperson is able to get in front of 50 customers for the month. And let’s say their closing percentage is 20% which is about average for this industry. That represents 10 sales which is also about the average of what car salespeople sell in a month. At a $250-$300 average commission, that represents a $2,500-$3,000 paycheck at the end of the month.

The very best salespeople in this industry will have a closing ratio of 30-40%, but they are the exception to the rule. If you could raise your closing ratio by 10% that would add another 5 units to your monthly totals which is a significant increase, but at the same time not easy to achieve.

With that being the case, the best way to sell more cars is to see more people. Let’s say that a salesperson could get in front of 70 people for the month instead of 50. Without closing a higher percentage of opportunities, the salesperson would increase their output from 10 to 14 units.

“How To See More People”

So the question now is, “How does a salesperson see more people?” Quite frankly there are several ways, but maybe a better question is, “How can a salesperson see more people with the least amount of effort?” Let’s face it, salespeople work on commission. With that being the case, they could spend more time at the dealership to see more people i.e. they could work more hours. But that would take a considerable amount of effort, and more time away from home.

“Work Smarter, Not Harder”

The better answer is to work smarter not harder by working more hours. So what is working smarter? Working smarter in the realm of seeing more people would be to cultivate a database of prospects that will at some point be in the market to purchase a vehicle. This is where the “Numbers game” comes into play. Most salespeople only have a handful of prospects that they might be working with. In fact, for most salespeople only work the people that walk in the door each month.

What if a salesperson could cultivate a data base of 500 people that would eventually be in the market to purchase a new or used vehicle? Over a 12 month period that means that the salesperson would need to find about 42 people to plug into their database so that they could follow up with. That equates to about 2 new prospects a day.

“Where Can A Salesperson Find Two Prospects Per Day?”

There’s a word in the world of sales that makes salespeople cringe. It’s the “P” word and it’s called “Prospecting.” For many salespeople prospecting is what ends their sales career. Knocking on doors and “Cold Calling” is tough work, and a plethora of rejection. Most people don’t have skin that is thick enough to endure the constant bombardment of never ending “No’s” or “I’m not interested in your offer.”

When it comes to finding a good quality prospect for a car salesperson to find, they don’t have to look very far to find the best possible future prospect. They don’t have to knock on doors and they don’t have to cold call either. In fact, they don’t even have to leave the dealership, and they can do it while they are on their regular shift so they don’t have to work any additional hours.

“A Car Salesperson’s Gold Mind”

The best possible prospect for a car salesperson is someone that already likes and trusts the dealership. It’s someone that has done and or is doing business with the car dealership meaning that they have spent or are spending money with the dealership. Any idea who that person might be?

The service department in a car dealership is a “Gold Mind” for a car salesperson. Most the customers taking their car in for service bought the vehicle from the dealership. The ones that didn’t are having their vehicle serviced there probably because they like the service. That being the case, chances are those people are excellent prospects for future sales.

“Two A Day”

Being that each car dealership gets several service customers per day, a salesperson can easily find two service prospects per day. How you ask? They just need to go down there and start up a conversation while they have their vehicle in service. They aren’t looking to make a sale, although they will fall into a sale every now and then by hanging out in the service department. They just need to engage the service customer and offer them their own personal service which is something like, “If you have any questions, or if I can be of any service here’s my card. Feel free to call me. By the way, if we have a fire sale or some outrageous service special, how can I contact you?” Now keep in mind, this is after spending a few minutes building some rapport with the service customer.

“Let’s Do The Math”

If a salesperson hustles and works 24 days per month that would equate to 48 service prospects per month or 576 for the year. But let’s round it down to 500 due to vacations, sick time and maybe a little bad luck. Going into the second year, how many of those 500 prospects will come in to see about buying a new or used vehicle? Let’s say the salesperson could get 50 of those prospects to come in to see about buying a new or used vehicle.

Like in any selling situation, the closing ratio won’t be 100%, but it will be much higher than 20%. Let’s say for those prospects its 50% which equates to 25 sales. That’s two additional sales per month which means if the salesperson is doing average numbers of 10 sales per month, then now they’d have 12 deals per month.

“Year Three And Beyond”

If the salesperson consistently prospected the service department for 500 prospects for the following year, the number of potential customers the salesperson could expect to see will rise substantially due to the fact that more people will be in the market. If 240 of the 1500 service prospects (8%) came into look at a new or used vehicle, and the salesperson closed 50% that would be an additional 120 sales per year or 10 additional sales per month. That’s not to mention any additional referrals.


In order to sell more vehicles, one needs to have more opportunities; it’s a matter of “Numbers.” The more numbers that can be put in your “Database” or “Sales Funnel” the more people you can get in the door. The more people you can get in the door, the more selling opportunities you’ll have. The more selling opportunities you have the more vehicles you’ll sell. It’s a mathematical equation that works every time you play the game.

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