A car dealership offers several vital positions to choose from when seeking employment. Each position is key to making sure that this multi-million dollar operation runs smoothly and efficiently. There are different sized dealerships out there so naturally the bigger the dealership, the greater the need for more employees, however there are some core positions that most all auto dealerships have. Lets take a look at those invaluable positions.
Lot attendants are typically the first people to come in contact with the cars after they’re delivered to the dealership from the manufacturer. Not only are they responsible for making sure the cars maintain a nice polished look, they also are responsible for inspecting cars for damage, parking new cars, and comparing the vehicle identification number (VIN) with purchase invoices. Lot attendants conduct administrative duties such as verifying any spare accessories that come with the vehicle and recording missing items or damage to the incoming cars. If you’ve purchased a vehicle online and arranged to have it delivered to your home or office, a lot attendant will usually accompany the sales consultant and provide a ride back to the dealership.
Auto dealerships will typically hire an outside company to handle the preparation of each new or used car that is purchased. They’re responsible for making sure that when you drive the car off of the lot it’s squeaky clean. Detailers are also used to prepare used cars given to the dealership as trade-ins, if the dealership deems that it’s worthy for resale.
The receptionist is usually stationed at a desk in the showroom in order to greet customers when they arrive, and to help assign them to specific salespeople. Receptionists also answer phones and may schedule appointments for salespeople or service. They also serve administrative functions such as filing, faxing and making photocopies.
This department will normally consist of an office manager and several support staff. Many documents need to be filed and verified before the sale of a vehicle can be completed. This department will also include the payroll and bookkeeping staff and cashier. Automotive dealerships need to perform title changes, obtain license plates, registrations, and sales licenses from the Department of Motor Vehicles. They also have a lot of expenses that need to be paid monthly. The administrative staff handles all this and much more.
Automotive Sales Consultant
The majority of auto sales consultants are capable and ethical people, but the profession continues to struggle with a stereotype that is, unfortunately, sometimes true.The main responsibility of an auto sales consultant is to greet the customers as they visit the automotive dealership. They assist the customers by helping them to find a vehicle of their preference, accompanying them on test drives, and explaining the features and benefits of the vehicle. They also work as a liaison between the sales managers and the customer, helping to negotiate a final purchase price for the automobile.
Internet Sales Consultant
The internet sales consultant is similar to the traditional auto sales consultant except that they respond to customer inquiries relative to vehicle, product, and services via the internet. He/She communicates with customers and prospects according to their preferred method of communication. (e.g., Internet, Mobile/Smart Phones, and other electronic media).
You still have to maintain a thorough knowledge of the dealerships’ vehicles, products, and services. He/She is a well-informed adviser who is knowledgeable of vehicle selection, performance, accessories, safety, features and functions, and financing options. You typically will set appointments with customers and take them on test drives upon their arrival, just like the traditional auto sales consultant.
Auto Sales Manager
The Sales Manager holds an important position in selling vehicles and maintaining profitability at the dealership. This includes the new and used car departments. Sales managers manage the auto sales consultants. They provide leadership towards the achievement of maximum profitability and growth in line with the dealerships vision and values set by the GSM. When it comes to deciding how much a dealership wants to sell a car for, he is where most of the power rests.
Customer relations and negotiation skills are also a must for the Sales Manager. They can sometimes be the one that steps in for the auto sales consultant to close a deal with a customer. They must display a high level of ethics and morals when selling vehicles to the public. You hire and oversee sales staff and work with them to meet their goals. You also work with the dealership’s general manager on sales promotions, and advertising plans.
Internet Sales Manager
If the dealership has an internet department then they will also have an Internet Sales Manager that’s solely in charge of the internet department and its internet sales consultants. They will report to the General Sales Manager (GSM).
The duties of the internet sales manager are the sames as the sales manager, but also includes, Ensuring that internet leads are handled timely, answering questions, providing information and ideally setting an appointment for a visit to the store. They manage the follow-up with the internet leads and assist as needed throughout their research phase until they’re ready for a vehicle purchase. They ensure customers are transitioned effectively from phone and internet contact to their in-store experience.
The Finance and Insurance Manager
It’s the task of the Finance and Insurance Manager or (“F&I” manager) to print out the sales or lease contracts and make sure that the buyers’ financing is in order. The F&I manager also presents and arranges dealership financing. They develop strong relationships with lenders both prime and subprime. The F&I manager also typically offers customers a number of additional products and services for purchase such as extended warranties, GAP insurance, paint protection, Lo-Jack or a car alarm system. A strong understanding of federal, state, and local regulations that affect the new-and used-vehicle and finance departments is also critical.
Auto Service Manager
The Service Manager is responsible for operating an efficient and profitable service department through productive staffing, customer retention, and cost controls. Essential duties include hiring, training, motivating, and monitoring the performance of all service department staff.
They also prepare and administer an annual operating budget for the service department; understanding and complying with federal, state, and local regulations that affect service operations. Another priority is understanding and complying with manufacturer warranty and policy procedures. They also monitor technicians’ daily productivity reports; establishing and maintaining good working relationships with customers to encourage repeat and referral business and ensuring that all customers are greeted promptly and given fair estimates on costs for repairs and maintenance. They also handle customer complaints immediately and according to the dealership’s guidelines.
General Sales Manager (GSM)
The automotive dealership General Sales Manager is responsible for profitability in both the new and used vehicle departments and for customer retention. To achieve this, they must effectively manage the sales managers and all other personnel. They will have a strong knowledge of the marketplace, and an in-depth understanding of all sales departments’ financial data as well as strong customer relations skills.
The GSM creates the annual dealership sales forecasts, meets with the sales managers to plan and implement objectives for achieving sales and gross profits. They hire and monitor the performance of the all the sales managers. They typically hold weekly sales meetings and conduct sales training. They also are responsible for coordinating the appropriate supply of new and used vehicles and ordering/acquiring vehicle inventory with the General Manager.
The General Manager (GM)
The dealership’s General Manager is the highest authority at the auto dealership. They are proven leaders with a strong understanding of Fixed Operations. He or she presides over both the sales and service departments, as well as the office personnel. They have the ability to understand profit and losses and manage a large, diverse staff. If you have a problem with your vehicle that hasn’t been resolved by anyone in the normal chain of command, the general manager is your next step.
The GM is also responsible for monthly and yearly projections for the sales/service/parts departments. They create cost-effective advertising programs and merchandising strategies for the dealership. General Mangers also possess strong communication skills to deal with customers, employees and vendors alike, and are required to stay abreast of the federal, state, and local regulations.
The automotive or service technician identifies the mechanical or electrical problem with all vehicles brought in for service. Often this is done by using computerized diagnostic equipment. They follow a checklist to make sure all critical parts are examined. Then they repair and replace broken or worn parts on your vehicle.
Service technicians work on traditional mechanical components, such as engines, transmissions, and drive belts. However, they also must be familiar with a growing number of electronic systems. Braking, transmission, and steering systems, for example, are controlled primarily by computers and electronic components.
Other integrated electronic systems, such as accident-avoidance sensors, Bluetooth, back up sensors and cameras are becoming common as well. In addition, a growing number of technicians are required to work on vehicles that run on alternative fuels, such as ethanol and electricity.
A service advisor works with customers for routine vehicle maintenance and repairs. The service advisor communicates with customers to determine what the issue is with their vehicle so they can provide an overview of the cars problem to the auto technician. They also estimate the cost and labor for the repair, work with the client’s schedule and deal with customer complaints. When the repairs are completed, they explain to clients their automotive problems and the repairs done on their vehicle. Service advisors usually have at least two years of experience in a dealership service department and have Automotive Service Excellence certification.
Parts Counter Person
The parts counter person is usually the person that greets you in the parts department when you’re looking for parts. They have active listing skills as to correctly understand the customer’s needs and provide the solution to those needs. They should also have excellent communication skills, being able to present information to customers clearly and effectively. They must be fully aware of their inventory to provide alternate solutions or approaches to fulfilling the customer’s needs. A good mechanical aptitude or understanding of how things are assembled and how they work is also essential.
A parts manager maintains the dealerships’ inventory while providing a profit from the department. Your duties include purchasing, inventory control, merchandising and staffing. The parts manager hires, trains and monitors staff. You oversee an annual budget and work with collision repair and service departments to ensure accurate inventory. The manager creates competitive price points for high customer satisfaction. You should have at least one year of supervisory experience and experience in the automotive field.