Moving Up the Ladder: 6 Tips to Advance at Your Dealership

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Every salesperson has an eye on moving up the ladder at their dealership. Advancement is often the ultimate goal, whether for more income, increased responsibility, or status.  

There is a good chance that you will try to advance in your career soon – if not right now – no matter where you are or your current role. However, what can you do to prepare yourself for moving up the ladder?  

This article lists six of the most important lessons I learned during my journey, from being a brand-new automotive salesperson to working on my terms as a President of Affinitiv’s CRM and Trade-In Valet divisions. 

6 Steps for Moving Up the Ladder at a Car Dealership 

1. Build More Relationships 

Building relationships is essential at every career stage, and developing productive working connections is necessary. Better teamwork results from stronger professional relationships, making you: 

  • More engaged in your daily tasks 
  • Happier to be at work 
  • More effective and productive 

However, how do you build those relationships? As a field performance manager, I found that trust is the cornerstone of any relationship. My clients must trust my insights and believe I have their best interests in mind for me to succeed.

2. Take on More Work 

When the chance presents itself, there are many reasons to take on more work, such as: 

  • Participating with more teams 
  • Working on a wide array of deals 
  • Learning more about procedures 
  • Introducing yourself to more colleagues across the industry 
  • Developing and honing more skills 

Additional roles can also prove your dependability as a team member and willingness to put in the effort. Management pays attention to these qualities and often prioritizes those employees for higher positions. 

However, don’t be half-hearted if you decide to assume responsibility for a project. I expect my colleagues to hit the ground running when I hand off assignments. If they are hesitant and consistently ask for suggestions, they are not taking control of the project. Instead, they’re likely causing more work for both of us. 

3. Don’t Complain, But Do Give More Feedback 

Complaining and providing constructive feedback is easily distinguishable from one another. As a rule of thumb: 

  • You are moaning if the goal is to obtain more for yourself. 
  • You provide feedback if the goal is to improve the dealership or the team.  

Always share your suggestions for improvement with your management; by doing so, you give yourself a chance to play a part in finding a solution. 

Complaining only spreads negativity, and is detrimental to you, your colleagues, and your dealership. 

4. Be Professional 

Professionalism sets the tone for your relationships with your manager and customers. 

Look and act the part every day. Dress neatly, and keep a positive attitude, even in challenging situations. Be respectful of others’ time by showing up early for work and scheduled appointments.  

Spend the extra time completing necessary tasks instead of going home at 5. These open items might include: 

  • Making all your scheduled calls 
  • Returning any missed calls 
  • Resolving any customer complaints 
  • Putting in the time to solve problems yourself instead of opening support tickets 
  • Learning something new from a colleague or associate 

Completing these daily assignments shows your manager that you are dependable and cooperative. 

5. Don’t Say You Deserve a Raise, Ask How You Can Earn One 

Asking for a raise because you did an excellent job does not work – your employer expects you to do well in your position. Asking for more money, in general, is ineffective. Never ask for more money immediately; instead, inquire about how you might increase your income later. 

Say, “I’d like to make $10K more in 12 months. Can you help me get there?” rather than, “I’d like a $10K raise for what I’ve already done.” Use actions – not words – to encourage your manager to pay you more. 

6. Don’t Let Change Limit Your Future 

Don’t be afraid to leave a job that isn’t giving you what you want. Change isn’t always easy, and it’s often more comforting (in the short run) to continue on an easy path leading you nowhere. However, you’re much better in the long run by taking the more challenging way that leads you where you want to go. 

To that end, I highly recommend you read “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Dr. Spencer Johnson. 

Advancement is Easier When You Work Harder 

The possibility of moving up the ladder at your dealership can keep you enthusiastic and excited about your job. More authority, higher income potential, and new responsibilities can be great motivators.  

The tips listed above can help position you for the challenges of advancing your position within the dealership. Your manager will benefit from your diligent efforts to grow within the organization and exceptional performance, encouraging them to place your name on the shortlist for the next promotion.  

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