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The Different Roles in a Car Dealership

"Who am I talking to???"

by Michael Morgan, Operations Coordinator, CFS

When speaking to someone at a dealership, it’s important to know that person’s name, equally out of politeness as for reference. What is arguably more important, is to know said person’s position. As with any place of business, the various positions in a dealership have their own goals, tasks, and incentives. In this blog post, I will outline the different positions that you would come across when purchasing a car, and what you should expect from them.


Sales managers, sales consultants, and sales advisors are the people that you will speak with directly when you come into a dealership, looking for a car. As one might expect, their main goal is to sell cars. While it is unfair to look at car salespeople through the lens of their associated negative stereotypes, there are some aspects that you cannot disregard. Car salespeople want to make money off of the sale. However, they aren’t going to jeopardize the sale itself, or your customer satisfaction, for the sake of profit. In light of that, as long as you keep a cool head to the various sales tactics that a salesperson may try on you, you should be able to walk out with what you wanted.


After a sales (or fleet) manager has finished a deal with you for a vehicle, they will send you to speak with a finance manager. With them, you will finalize the price you will pay for your vehicle. Their goal is to maximize the value of the sale, while maintaining the ‘vibe’ of the deal that was set by the salesperson. As with any purchase, make sure to read all the details that they provide you with. In particular, take notice of the price of the vehicle, the rebate that is being offered, and the interest rate, and how they relate to each other.

Something that I notice often when securing vehicle pricing is that a vehicle will have two different options of pricing. Option 1 will offer a $1,000 rebate, while Option 2 will offer no rebate. A closer look, however, reveals that Option 1 has an interest rate of 3.95%, while Option 2 has an interest rate of 0.00%. Be sure to ask for clarification from the finance manager, do the math yourself, and don’t let the excitement of being close to finishing a deal impede your judgement.


If you are looking to buy cars for your business, you should always ask to speak to a fleet manager. Their task, as with sales people, is to sell cars, but what makes them different is that they want to sell as many cars as they can. Based on that, there’s a difference between buying a car for yourself, and buying a car for your company. When a dealership sells a car to a person, they hope that they’ll return for their next car. When a dealership sells a car to a business, they hope that they’ll return for their fleet. Because of this potential, fleet managers are far less likely to fool around with pricing, options, or quality of service.

In the end, everyone at a car dealership is trying to make money. What makes them different from one another, is the way that they go about this. All in all, the rule of thumb for whoever you’re talking to - keep a clear head and don’t be intimidated, you’re the one holding the cash.

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