Doug Ross Explains How to Be a Successful Car Salesperson

Being a car salesperson is no easy job. Luckily, car sales expert and enthusiast Doug Ross from Barrie, Ontario is here to provide his expertise. Ross has had a tremendously successful career spanning decades that has included working with some of the largest automobile makers in the world, including General Motors, Ford, Hyundai, and Nissan. Keep reading to discover the top three tips on how to be a successful car salesman according to Doug Ross.

Ask Insightful Questions

Part of being a good car salesman is connecting with the customer, shares Doug Ross of Barrie, Ontario. That is why he urges all salespeople to consider the right types of questions to ask. For example, a sales associate should ask the name of the customer within the first few seconds of meeting them. This establishes a personal connection right off the bat. Once you learn their name, commit it to memory and refer to them by their name throughout the conversation as it makes the conversation more personal and can make sales easier.

Next, ask “What brings you in today?” This open-ended question will allow you to get an idea of the motivation behind their trip to the dealership, which in turn, will help you learn more about the customer. Depending on their answer to this question, follow-up questions might include, “Do you know which brand or type of car you’re interested in?”, “Who will be the primary driver of this car?”, or “Are there any must-have features you’d like for your new car?” Asking questions such as these will provide insight into exactly what the buyer is looking for and their budget. This will enable you to make recommendations that will work for them personally, which gives you a much higher chance of earning a sale.

Pick Up on Social Cues

According to Doug Ross, some people feel uncomfortable at car dealerships because they are uncomfortable with being sold. That is why it’s important that a car salesperson be able to read people. If you continue to push what seems like an obvious sales agenda, you risk alienating the customer even further. At this point, you will want to ask more casual, non-car related questions, such as “What do you like to do on the weekends?”, “Do you have a family,” or “What do you do for work?” These questions are likely to put the customer at ease but will also help you gain a better understanding of who they are and what they might find useful in a vehicle. Once any nervous gestures or behaviour subsides, only then should you subtly reintroduce the topic of cars, relating it to the answers they gave.

Listen More Than You Talk

A good rule of thumb for salespeople is to listen twice as much as you speak, shares Doug Ross of Barrie, Ontario. Studies have shown that customers respond to salespeople who listen to them, versus those who spend too much talking at them about the different features of the car. Don’t undervalue the importance of really hearing the customer out. Ask questions strategically in order to get the most out of the customer. By this, Doug Ross claims that you shouldn’t be asking them a question as soon as they finish answering the previous one. Wait a few beats, as in many cases the customer will elaborate on their answer further, providing you with even more information that you can use to make the sale.

Another aspect to listening versus talking is that talking prevents the customer from forming their own thoughts, opinions, and questions about the vehicle in their own mind. If you’re on a test drive, resist the urge to make conversation the whole ride. Allow the potential buyer to be alone with their thoughts as they get a feel for the car they are considering. It can be difficult for any person not to fill what they perceive to be a lull in the conversation, but Doug Ross states that it is a necessary skill to develop in order to give the customer the time and space they need.



Welcome to my medium page! I am a car enthusiast & sales expert, based in Muskoka, Ontario. I am going to use this platform to discuss topics I find of value.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Doug Ross (Barrie)

Doug Ross (Barrie)

Welcome to my medium page! I am a car enthusiast & sales expert, based in Muskoka, Ontario. I am going to use this platform to discuss topics I find of value.