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General Sales Manager (GSM) Job Description

The automotive dealership General Sales Manager is responsible for profitability in both the new and used vehicle departments and for customer retention.  To achieve this, they must effectively manage sales personnel, have a strong knowledge of the market, and an in-depth understanding of all sales departments’ financial data as well as strong customer relations skills.

The general sales manager is expected to uphold the highest ethical standards in every aspect of the job.

Job Duties

Job duties for a general sales manager include:

  • Creating the annual dealership sales forecasts by estimating total vehicle sales, gross and operating profits as well as expenses for the new-and-used sales departments.
  • Meeting with vehicle sales managers to plan and implement objectives for achieving sales and gross profits.
  • Hiring and monitoring the performance of the department managers, holding weekly sales meetings and conducting sales training.
  • Overseeing standards for displaying and merchandising both new and used vehicles as well as reviewing and initialing all promotions before they are finalized.
  • Coordinating the appropriate supply of new and used vehicles and ordering/acquiring vehicle inventory accordingly.
  • Meeting monthly with the dealership’s general manager to review forecasts and profits for each department.
  • Working directly with the general manager on making recommendations on both short and long-range advertising plans, sales promotions, staffing needs, lease promotions and compensation plans.
  • Attending to customer complaints, ensuring that a high level of customer satisfaction is obtained.
  • Auditing all appraisals of trade-in vehicles.
  • Issuing all demonstration vehicles and ensuring that appropriate dealership records are maintained.

Job Requirements

It is recommended that general sales managers have at least two years in a dealership sales environment.  Additionally, sales managers need to be comfortable managing multiple departments and people.

Managers are required to maintain the profitability of their department while controlling expenses and maintaining customer satisfaction.

Managers are required to not only understand and keep abreast of the federal, state, and local regulations that affect their operations, but must also comply with these regulations.

Management personnel require strong communication skills to deal with customers, employees and vendors, as they represent the dealership.

People working within the automotive retail industry often have to work extended hours, evenings and weekends to achieve their goals.

A valid state sales license is often required.

Education Requirements

High school diploma or the equivalent is required and a college degree is preferred. A strong background in business, mathematics and computers is also useful.

Career Path

A general sales manager’s career usually begins by working as an automotive salesperson, then progressing to the general sales manager level.  General sales managers can progress to the dealership management with the right experience.

Salary Range

The average annual earnings of general managers are approximately $93,000 to $159,000. Earnings vary depending on experience, and the dealer’s geographic location and size.

Some dealerships, especially larger ones, may pay bonuses and have special incentive programs for exceeding sales quotas.


Benefits vary by employer, but most dealerships offer health insurance, retirement plans, and other benefit options to employees. Talk with the specific dealer human resource manager about benefit packages.

This job description has been provided as reference only and portions of it’s content is credited to Auto Careers Today.

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