What are the different roles of the people at a car dealership?

Shopping for a car can be a daunting task. There’s the pressure of finding the right car, then you’ve got to negotiate the deal, and figure out how to pay for it all. So let’s eliminate one of the ‘pressure points’ by examining who works at the car dealership, and what their role is in getting you a car.

One of the first points of contact that many people have with a car dealership is the receptionist. It’s her job to route calls to the right department / person, and for smaller dealerships, the receptionist is sometimes the secretary too. If you call ahead, be extra nice to the receptionist. She might direct you to the nicest salesman on the lot.

Obviously, it’s the salesperson’s job to get you into that new car or truck. But it’s also their job to stay educated on the cars that they sell. And many times, they have to move cars around the lot in order to keep the inventory looking fresh. They get paid on commission, so if they don’t sell a car, they don’t get paid. Most car salesmen actually like their job, and they’re going to try to get you into the right car for you, not their commission.

Finance Specialist / Manager
The finance person is responsible for getting you a loan to buy that new ride. The dealership has relationships with numerous banks and finance companies. It’s the finance person’s job to maintain these relationships, so they’ll know which bank is likely to give you a loan. Before you go apply for a car loan, get all of the necessary paperwork in order before you go. Proof of income, ID, etc. If you have everything with you, the process will go a lot quicker.

Sales Manager
The sales manager is responsible for managing the sales staff, approving car deals, and determining the value (to the dealership) of your trade in. They can also (in some cases) be the one to buy and set the prices on the cars. Before you head to the dealership, make sure that your trade in is clean, and take the pink slip/title with you too.