Car Salesman Qualifying Questions

by kirby
(lansing michigan)

Question: What are some key car salesman qualifying questions to ask a potential car buyer? I'm looking for questions to see if they can buy, or any selling tips in general. I am new to car sales and I am doing good; however, I want more. :)

Answer: Hi Kirby,

Well, I'll start this off with a selling tip. Not following this tip has cost thousands of salespeople thousands of dollars in lost revenue from the beginning of car sales to now...Me included!

Dumb salesman usually sell more and make more per deal!

What do I mean by dumb? First, I want to say that I'm not knocking anyone's intelligence, but when a salesman tries to do more than sell, it very rarely works to their advantage.

"I don't know, but I'll find out" is a very powerful phrase that will not only save you money, but make you money.

Be very careful to not over educate your customers or else you will see your sales go down.

This is especially true when car salesmen take it upon themselves to decide whether a customer will or will not get approved, how much down payment they'll need, what their finance rate will be, etc. Let the sales manager and/or finance manager do their jobs.

If you think I'm kidding simply ask an experienced sales manager at your dealership or even the best salesman at your dealership about smart vs. dumb salespeople.

Don't get me wrong, you can know it all and still succeed, but it's how you use what you know when you interact with a customer.

Now that I've shared that with you, I'll go ahead and get you some good car salesman qualifying questions, but remember if your sales start to suffer it can almost always come back to knowing too much and over educating the customer.

Car Salesman Qualifying Questions

A lot can be learned about a customers ability to buy from a customers trade in.

Did you buy this one new or used?
A customer that was able to finance a new vehicle has the potential to have above average credit.

Did you finance this vehicle?
Is it currently financed or do you owe anything on it?

Where is it financed (or was it financed)?
The lender they financed with will tell an experienced sales manager a lot about potential credit.

What are your monthly payments?
No matter what the answer, you can say "Wow! How did you get your payments so low?"

  • The customer will usually tell you I put 10 grand down. I had a free and clear trade in when I bought it. I've got 0% financing, or something else along those lines.
  • They laugh at the question and say "What do you mean low? I'm paying 20% interest on a 48 month loan." This will let you know their credit is not the best.

Overall, things you can think to ask about a current or past auto loan will tell you quite a bit about their overall credit. Be careful to not come across as prying or being to forward.

If they don't have a trade in, you can ask them questions about their plans for this vehicle.

Were you planning to pay cash or finance this vehicle?
No matter the answer, say "Great we have some excellent discounts that might apply for you."

If they are financing and they tell you where they want to be on monthly payments, let's say they want $300 a month, you can then ask "now if you find your dream car today, what would be the most you'd be willing to pay?" This will usually get you a quick $50 a month bump.

Give the Customer Control

Overall, I'd say one of the most successful approaches to selling cars is to always let the customer feel like they are in control. If they feel like they are in control and you word things correctly, they will do just what you want them to do more often than not.

For instance, if a customer says "I'm just looking," don't come back with "Great! What are you looking for...a car, truck or SUV?" (that's a big time canned response)

Instead, try: "No problem. It's my job to give you all the time and information you need so you can make the best decision."

Follow up with something along the lines of: "In fact, before you leave here today I'd be happy to provide you with our best price, estimates on down payment, monthly payments and figures for your trade."

This puts their guard down and tells them that you are not going to try and hammer them to buy right now. Now they will let you work with them and the selling process begins without them even realizing it has begun.


Remember to always keep your focus on your job, turning shoppers into buyers and let the finance and sales managers make the other decisions, this will help you make the most money. I guarantee it!

In addition, be sure to help the customer get what "they" want (using low pressure sales techniques that move the sale forward) vs. you forcing them to do what "you" want them to do and the customer will happily give you what you want (a car deal), plus you'll make a good living selling cars.

Hope these car sales qualifying questions and selling tips help you to get even better. The best sales trainer I've found to truly help you master cars in the new millenium is Grant Cardone. Definitely check out what he has to offer.

Hope this helps,

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