​Reasons car salespeople fail

I have seen countless car flippers, dealers and salespeople fail or simply give up over the years. We’ve also all heard lots of pessimism about the motor trade. But the truth is the odds really aren’t as bad as they seem.

But it’s important to understand why sales people fail. Most failures are avoidable if you take the time to analyse what you are doing and learn from your mistakes.

Here are the most common reasons sales people fail:

1. Spending too much money personally

This is easily the No1 failing of most salespeople or car dealers. Most salesman will have a Rolex and motorbike collection but can barely afford a takeout towards the end of the month. With sales being such a hit and miss venture you really do have to keep your personal finances in check if you are going to succeed.

2. Spending too much money on the start-up

​Most car dealers think they need the fanciest premises and the top of the range iPhone to succeed. But the reality is the customer wants the best deal and couldn’t careless about the flashiness of the pitch or office. Plus a basic IT and phone setup is all you need.

3. Not preparing the stock correctly

A cardinal sin in the motor trade. Most dealers or flippers start out with cars valeted to within an inch of their lives, but after a few months or years the standards slip and so do the sales. Always strive to present the cars in the best possible way regardless of the price point or value.

4. Failure to plan or not knowing how to plan

Even a junior salesperson needs a plan. Whether the plan is to simply stand outside to jump on the customers before anyone else or simply give out more business cards, you need to have a plan. This is even more important now with the advent of social media and peoples short attention spans.

5 .Not enough discipline to follow a plan

​Most sales people just don’t have the patience or discipline to follow a plan. After a month of sending out emails or posting about their activities and new stock on social media simply give up. Saying it just doesn’t work or its too hard. When the truth is it just takes practise, time and commitment. Have a plan and stick to it!

6. Not enough cash or cash flow problems

My accountant always tells me that cash is king. Never over extent your business spending and always leave money in the pot for unforeseen events.

7. Not inspecting or test driving a car before buying

Again this is something dealers, salespeople and flipper often forget the importance of over time. It is absolutely essential that you inspect and where possible test-drive a car before you commit to buying it. This rule should apply to any business whatever the size.

8. Can’t manage their own attention

​Lots of us find ourselves aimlessly surfing the internet when we could be focusing on marketing or sales. It is really import that you manage your time in this business. Instead of watching YouTube you could be valeting a car instead of outsourcing the work.

9. Forgetting to test new ideas on a small scale

Whether you are thinking spending money trying FaceBook adverts or moving up market and selling supercars. It’s really important that you test the market.

10. Starting a business just for the money

Like starting any business you need some passion for the product or service if you are going to succeed. The car business is a marathon not a sprint.

11. Not knowing how to work with a bank

The motor trade is a very cash hungry business. Unless you are planning to stay small you will need a good relationship with both your bank and local finance houses.

12. Not listening to the customer

Again this is a key part of any business. But none more so than the motor trade. You should alway qualify a customers whether they buy or not. It’s important to know why you succeeded or failed. This information can be vital to businesses success. 

13. Making hasty decisions that could – and should – have been researched

You should alway know you product before committing. This applies to both the stocking and marketing sides of the car business. It is important that you do your research. The good news is that with advent of the internet this has never been easier.

14. Not looking after the customer

This was always key in the motor trade. But with social media, Google and FaceBook reviews this is more important than every. 

15. Ignoring trends and new product development

​Lots of dealers were left behind when internet sales and marketing became a thing. They then struggled to catchup once organic reach on facebook etc vanished. Don’t make that mistake and always keep looking for next thing. Just remember to test on a small scale first.

16. Starting a business in the wrong location

​Most areas of a town or city have more motor trade activity in certain areas than others. It’s important that you car where the competition is if you are a dealer or garage.

17. Letting the competition steal you market or stock

This is why it’s important to never become complacent and ignore trends and development in your market place.

18. Not dreaming big enough

​Lots of sales people and managers are happy making good money working for someone, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But imaging the success you could achieve for yourself if you put in the same effort. The same is true for part time flippers. Never be scared of dreaming big!

​19. Hiring bad employees

I have seen this so many times in the past. Bad employees at any level can damage a business. My only advice is to hire fast and fire even faster. It’s impossible to tell at the interview stage wether a potential employee will be a good fit or not.


All the mistakes above are avoidable if you pay attention. Plan for things going wrong and identify problems quickly, and don’t make the same mistake twice.