We love to see women go into car-related businesses that men have dominated in Nigeria over the years. This is why we have been talking to female counterparts in automobile repair services and now we have the testimonials from a female car dealer.
Swemishi Godwin is a 25-year-old car dealer that deals in all kinds of cars all over the country. In this interview in the female car dealer in Lagos, she tells us all the perks of her jobs as a lady and as a car dealer in general.
I hope you enjoy this interview the way we did.
How she became a female car dealer in Lagos
Question: What got you into the world of selling cars?
During my NYSC, I moved to Lagos for the first time and moving around was very stressful for me. Coming from the North where moving around with public transport was very cheap and straight forward.
I did not really know or think of any other solution than to get a car and luckily for me, an old friend was planning to sell his car at a cheap price.
My then-boyfriend(now an ex) advised me not to get the car because it was not neat. You know how Nigerians can be with unclean cars as a first car.
So I started going from car dealers to car dealers in search of the perfect car. The whole process of inspecting cars and test driving got me really interested. I also noticed a lot of things that the car dealers I met could have done better.
I just felt I was capable of handling the car selling business better.
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The first car sold by the Lagos female dealer
Question: How did you sell your first car?
It makes me laugh anytime I remember that I ran my first car sales deal while I was physically absent. I posted a car on my Instagram page and an interested buyer called me for an inspection.
He came through but did not like the car in person because it had a lot of scratches here and there. I immediately told him that I had another unit of the car even though I was unsure.
So I called other dealers and one of them had the car in his car lot. I could not go for the inspection because I had an engagement at that time. I trusted the car dealer with my client's choice of the car so I linked them up over the phone.
My client liked the car and he paid immediately. I just made a sales commission on my first car. It felt like I was finally doing something right.
>>> Read more: 4 easy ways to sell your used car very fast in Nigeria
4 months: Time needed for the Lagos lady to understand the automotive business
Question: How long did it take you to understand the business?
It took 4 months for me to get a full understanding of the car dealing business in Nigeria. I was an intern at a car lot close to my house. I worked for free with the dealership.
Every day I would observe closely how my boss deals and negotiates with customers. I also did a lot of reading on the internet about sales and car sales in particular.
How the female car dealer deals with her male counterparts
Question: How did you tackle the bullies from men in this business?
I learnt that I needed to avoid relationships outside of the car sales business with the men I was working with to avoid abnormal/awkward happenings.
So, I never got bullied and till this day I have never been bullied by any man. I just state my business and I am never where I am not meant to be.
Sexual Harassment from men
Question: What other problems did you face with the male gender?
There is only one problem I face regularly in my car dealing business. Sexual harassment from both male clients and male car dealers. Just because I am a fine girl they always want to take advantage of me which is very uncool.
That is why I always act like a snub when it is not a business conversation going on.
How to know if a buyer is serious or not
Question: How do you identify serious car buyers?
I am still trying to fully understand the psychology behind serious and unserious car buyers in Nigeria but from my experience, I think I have an idea.
A serious buyer shows up with mechanics to inspect cars and they always disturb dealers for pictures and prices of cars they are interested in. Unserious buyers are always very relaxed when it comes to key details of cars they are interested in.
Frequency of buyer making purchases
Question: How often do Nigerians buy cars?
I tell people all the time that Nigerians buy cars as soon as they are able to afford it. Festive periods experience surges in car sales because everyone wants to show up at social gatherings in a new car.
Despite the dollar rise, Nigerians will still always buy cars as soon as the money shows up.
Problems with Government policies
Question: Do Government policies stress you guys?
Yes! they surely do. Tax and duty increment has made car importation a little less profitable to car dealers. It is also always a war trying to get your newly imported units of cars out of the Nigerian Port Authority because of some corrupt officers in the line of the transaction.
A lot of car dealers just sell their cars at prices that they didn't plan because compared to the money they have spent in trying to get the car to their car lot, the final selling price never makes sense.
Salesperson: Why not?
Question: Would you allow your daughter/son to become a car dealer?
Totally yes. I would be happier if that is what interests him/her so that I could teach the principles of being a salesperson.
I would just be a mother that supports whatever makes her children happy.
Bitter story on the job
Question: What is the worst thing that has happened to you on the job?
I have seen a lot of bad days on this job and they all tied to a deal not going through. The worst I can remember was when a client came all the way from Kano to buy a truck. I took him to Festac Lagos to see the truck and on getting there, the seller said the truck had been moved to Lekki.
In the heat of Lagos traffic, we went to Lekki using a car hailing service that was on a surge. We got to Lekki and the one thing my client wanted to see in that truck was not there. He wanted an automatic transmission truck but my find was a manual.
You should know the remaining story? I even cried so hard that day out of frustration.
Support from the beloved is important to the Lagos female car dealer
Question: What does your spouse say to you daily as a dealer?
He encourages me all the time, telling me how proud he is of me and all. You know car dealing is a man's world.
Advice for those who want to be a female car dealer
Question: A word to females that want to start a career in the men's world?
I would just say that anybody can do anything. I do not believe that there is a defined occupation based on gender. It is all on the mind.
You can be whatever you want to be as long as it is what makes your heart sing.
We hope that this interview with the female car dealer in Lagos, Mrs. Swemishi Godwin, has shed some light on your doubt if a woman can start a career in the lucrative car sales world. Let us all agree that every job has risks and chance in them too, the automotive industry included. Difficulties are what we must face and overcome just like how Mishihad to spend up to 4 months to truly understand how the industry operates and start yielding golden fruits from her job.
We would also like to give thanks to Mrs. Swemishi Godwin to interview with us to give more insights to female car dealers out there. Best wishes to you, your family and your career as a female car dealer.
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