Auto dealers use the title "automotive sales consultant" to appeal to consumers, as it indicates a person who will help them select the right cars at affordable prices. In actuality, these professionals are sales reps who show customers cars, demonstrate features and let them test drive vehicles in which they are interested. They also help consumers devise a payment plan that fits their budgets, and work with finance managers to get them financed. If you want to be an automotive sales consultant, you will need people skills and persistence. Expect to earn an annual income that is well above average, compared to most jobs.
Income and Qualifications
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists average hourly earnings for automotive dealer employees at $19.35 as of February 2013, which equates to $40,248 per year, based on a 40-hour workweek. But the BLS includes all employees in its data, which likely includes secretaries, managers and other support personnel besides sales reps. According to the job website Simply Hired, you would earn an average annual income of $75,000 as an automotive sales consultant in 2013. Most auto dealers prefer hiring candidates with at least high school diplomas and proven sales experience, especially experience in the automotive industry. Other key qualifications include customer service, communication, computer use and negotiating and sales-closing skills.
Income by Region
In 2013, average annual incomes for automotive sales consultants varied considerable among the four U.S. regions. In the Northeast, they earned between $68,000 and $91,000, according to the jobs website Simply Hired -- with lows in Maine and highs in Massachusetts. If you worked in the West, you would earn a low of $60,000 in Montana and high of $85,000 in California or Alaska. Your annual income would be $59,000 or $119,000, respectively, in Mississippi and the District of Columbia, which represents low and high incomes in the South. And, expect to earn between $59,000 and $80,000 in the Midwest -- with a low in South Dakota and a high in Minnesota or Michigan.
How you get paid can affect your income as an automotive sales consultant. Dealerships may pay you a salary, salary plus commission or 100 percent commission. Your earnings would likely be highest if you were paid on a 100 percent commission basis. However, your income will be highly contingent on the amount of traffic your dealership generates from advertising and walk-in visits. Larger dealerships generate more traffic -- especially along busy streets with lots of stores, shopping centers and restaurants -- which can position you to earn you a higher income.
Jobs for retail sales workers, including automotive sales consultants, are expected to increase 17 percent in the next decade, according to the BLS, which compares with the 14 percent average growth-rate for all U.S. occupations. As an automotive sales consultant, you may find more job opportunities in areas with growing populations. Dealerships should also sell more cars as the economy improves, which can increase the number of job opportunities for you in this field.
2016 Salary Information for Retail Sales Workers
Retail sales workers earned a median annual salary of $23,040 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, retail sales workers earned a 25th percentile salary of $19,570, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $30,020, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 4,854,400 people were employed in the U.S. as retail sales workers.