Automotive Sales Representative – Career Connections – WNEO

♪ Keeping automobile
manufacturing facilities full of inventory
to build their products is the job of automotive
sales representatives. From General Motors to Ford,
Chrysler, Honda, and Toyota, thousands of salespeople
make sure the parts they need arrive at the manufacturing
facility on time and for the right price. One longtime Northern Ohio
automotive sales rep is Jeffrey Phillips. He represents major suppliers
who sell their products to automobile manufacturers
around the world. In his job, he looks into the
parts needs of those companies. I represent the interests
of the company that I work for, in this case,
Die-Matic in Cleveland. I work with
the procurement people, the people that are
developing new products because
in the automotive world you’re not supplying
what’s being used today. You’re getting ready
to supply. Right now I’m working
on 2018 model parts. For some automotive
sales representatives, it’s a career for life. I’ve been in sales
for 40 years. But I started actually
when I came out of college. I went to Mount Union College. A Bachelor of Arts in
Business was my major field. When I came out of college,
I taught school for five years. Knowing all along that education
wasn’t going to be my career, five years into that,
I decided to go into business and interviewed with
different kinds of companies. (narrator)
To be successful
in automotive sales, you must find a company
that’s the right fit for you. (Phillips)
One of the keys
is to develop a basic knowledge
and understanding of how to do what you do. Find a good training program, somebody that will take you
and right from ground floor teach you how to sell. So how do you prepare for
a position in automotive sales? In college, you’re getting
a general education, and you get a specific view
of certain areas– accounting or sales
and marketing or whatever– but you don’t get
any real direct experience, so you have to rely on
the company you’re selling for to train you properly, so you understand who they are
and understand their product. That’s key. You have to know
what you’re selling. Successful automotive selling
relies on clear communication between the sales rep
and the customer. When you get into
the development of a part, the engineering,
the design issues, things you have to be
concerned about, communication is critical. It’s important that you don’t– You’ve got to bridge that gap, that the person
you’re talking to understands what you’re saying,
and you understand them. Don’t assume things, particularly at that level,
at the engineering level. While an automotive sales rep will often deal directly
with an auto manufacturer, that’s not always the case. We don’t really call
and sell directly to Honda. We sell to their
first-tier suppliers. That would be a company that– One of our big companies
or customers makes the suspension systems
for Honda. So we’re talking with them, and we’re supplying
suspension parts into the shock absorber
and spring system. Or we supply parts to people
that make the sunroofs. (narrator)
What kind of education
do you need for an entry-level job
in automotive sales? In high school,
I took a basic course that prepared me
to go to college. They called it
a college preparatory course. I had four years
of math and science, I had a foreign language,
I had four years of English, a real good basis, so that when I made
a college decision, I was pretty well-prepared
to go to that level. Most of the time,
the people are college-educated. Or trade schools. We get a lot
of engineering people that have two-year
engineering degrees or other type of degrees that
are not a full four-year degree, and it works. Selling automotive parts
is a profession for people who enjoy face-to-face contact
with other people. I like to sell.
I like people. I always liked
the challenge. To be a successful
automotive sales rep, you will need
solid preparation and the ability to build good
relationships with customers. Above all else,
my customers trust me. That trust is
just so hard to gain, but once you have it, boy,
you’ve really got something. And you protect it. You do anything
to keep that trust. Trust is probably what’s caused
me to have a long-term career with the one company
I represented 35 years. That’s a world record
for a rep. Funding to purchase and make
this educational production accessible was provided by the
U.S. Department of Education: PH: 1-800-USA-LEARN (V)
or WEB: ♪