What Is a Product Expert?

March 8, 2024

A used car in the rain with headlights on

The world of car buying is changing, impacted by everything from fluctuating interest rates to an increase in online buying. As car dealerships evolve to adapt to changes in the marketplace, jobs in the field are evolving, too. Case in point: the rise of the "product expert," a role that is increasingly replacing that of "sales person."

Just what does the term "product expert" mean in the context of the automotive industry—and why is this role increasingly relevant for car dealerships and consumers alike? We explain below, and also reveal how to become a product expert.

What is an automotive product specialist?

A product is any item that is bought/sold. For car dealerships, the product is the vehicle itself. Other types of products might include equipment, parts, and accessories sold by your service department. Service contracts can also be considered products.

An expert is simply a person who is a recognized authority on a given subject. You might also refer to them as a specialist. If you're seeking information about a given product, this individual would be your trusted go-to person.

In the context of automotive sales, a product expert is thus an employee with specialist knowledge of the vehicles the dealership sells. Although their job could also encompass other products sold at the dealership, like accessories, for the purposes of this article, we're going to focus on vehicles.

Explaining the rise of the product specialist at car dealerships

So, why do automotive dealerships now need product specialists, not just sales people? In short, because car consumers are more informed than ever. Research suggests that at least 92% of car buyers look up vehicles online before buying.1

That means that by the time a customer contacts a dealership, they already have basic information like mileage stats and cargo capacity. They are consulting the dealership for added value; if you can't offer that value-add, you're wasting their time. An uninformed sales person will quickly stand out in the face of a more informed consumer.

Automotive dealerships can continue to meet customer needs by providing a high level of expertise through product experts. Specialists with niche knowledge will become even more important as online buying becomes more prevalent. Already, 80% of car shoppers are now willing to buy a vehicle completely online.2

3 Ways to create product specialists in car sales

"Expert" status implies a level of training and time invested that results in a higher level of product knowledge—one consumers can count on. Take Apple's Genius Bar as a non-car-related example. If you're having a problem with your Apple gear, you can confidently turn to these pros for help. Another example: BMW's Genius Initiative, for instance, which gives BMW customers in-person guidance from specially trained experts.

However, when it comes to used car dealerships, investing in this kind of high-level training is challenging. First of all, in a used dealership, every product is unique, meaning there's more to learn and keep track of. Secondly, employee turnover tends to be high, making it hard to nurture a team of longstanding experts. Below, we explain how to build a team of automotive product specialists for your used car dealership.

1. Learn about the evolving market

If you want to nurture a team of product experts, it's important to understand the online car buying journey. An awareness of consumer behaviors and how they've changed can lay the groundwork for a positive customer relationship. You can then best equip your team to meet consumer's needs.

2. Use digital tools

With inventory constantly changing, you can't realistically ask your product experts to know all the stats of all your dealership's cars off the tops of their heads. A tool like ACV MAX’s software can help, giving your products experts quick access to the following:

  • Detailed listings for every car on your lot.
  • Real-time market comparisons using the largest bank of historical and market data in the industry.
  • Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) package information, including a package’s original manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP).
  • Complete vehicle history reports, along with service information, past ownership and past accidents.
  • Price comparisons between similar models for sale at third party sources and your competition.

3. Make information easy to access

ACV MAX gives your team access to all the information above on any mobile device—so it's literally at their fingertips. With that level of detail, even a newbie salesperson can close a deal. We know, because we've seen it done.

In the picture at the top of this blog, one of ACV MAX's Account Executives, Ty Fleming, was walking a client’s used car lot when a customer was looking for more information about the vehicle. Ty had never been a car salesman, but he was able to scan the car and answer the customer's questions on the spot. That customer purchased the car that same day.

Create your team of product experts with ACV MAX

With ACV MAX, anyone can become an automotive product specialist on the car lot. Learn more about how our software can help give your car dealership's team "expert" status.


(1) The future of car buying. Google. Retrieved on December 21, 2023, from 

(2) Creech, L. (11 March 2021). New Independent Study Finds Majority of Car Shoppers Open to Purchasing Online. Business Wire. Retrieved December 21, 2023, from