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Last Update: Friday December 15, 2017

Key Idea: Be Confident and Bold

Pamela Rodgers' Chevrolet dealership succeeds through personal mastery of business fundamentals. 

Key Question:

A: 

Set big goals.

Q: How do we know that Pamela Rodgers is confident and bold?
 
A: She gave up a big-paying job in a Fortune 500 company to earn the right to become an automobile dealership owner. With an MBA in Finance, Pamela was recruited into corporate America. She told us that when she saw the numbers and who made what in the car business, she decided she wanted to be where the action and money are in the automobile industry. The problem was that she was over-qualified in one way and under-qualified in other ways to go after a dealership.

The first thing she had to learn was how to sell cars. She went to work for $6 an hour plus commissions in a dealership not far from her home. This is what we call bold. This was such a shocking move that her mom said she nearly fell out of her chair when Pamela announced the plan. Why would anyone leave the comfort and prestige of the home office for the unknown world of commission sales?

Don't forget, Pamela can read financials. She saw with her own eyes how much dealers can earn over the long haul. While so many woman are caught up still fighting to break through the glass ceiling and obsessed with title and the accouterments attached to the title, Pamela just wanted the best opportunity to have no ceiling on her potential. It took Pamela seven years from the time she decided she wanted to own a dealership until she earned the right to purchase one. All of those years were dedicated to learning all of the aspects of the dealership business. She worked for dealers then was able to enter a dealership training program sponsored by GM. She was told by many that the dealership situation was no place for a women.

We now know that she put one foot in front of the other and gained confidence by learning everything that was thrown at her. She took an "ugly duckling" off the hands of GM and turned it into a winning location.

Think about it

What holds you back? What could you learn that would give you more confidence to make a bold move?

Clip from: Women Shatter Glass

USA: One out of three businesses in this country is owned by a woman.  That's  approximately 9 million businesses.  Yet only one out of ten of those businesses does more than $1 million in annual sales or about 900,000 businesses.

These two statistics prompted the production of this episode. We researched women who do millions in annual sales and found most were in male-dominated industries.

There are many resources to help women start and grow the right kind of business beginning with government agencies like the US SBA and their Small Business Development Centers. There are programs promoted by women-friendly banks, economic development offices, trade associations and industry groups, and women's associations in every state.

With so much help and information around, why do women so often migrate to tiny ideas? ...more inspiration? ... better role models? One of the women studied here asked rhetorically, "Why should I polish nails when I could be polishing steel?"

All business owners can learn valuable lessons from these women. They are the small minority who are making a huge difference in their industry and in their communities.  By moving to the top of the game where there are mostly men, a woman's influence can make the greatest difference.


Rodgers Chevrolet

Pamela Rodgers, CEO

23755 Allen Road
Woodhaven, MI 48183

Visit our web site: http://rodgerschevrolet.com

Business Classification:
Automotive

Year Founded: 1991

Be Confident and Bold

HATTIE (In the studio): Number two, they have confidence. They have a 'if he can do it, I can do it' attitude. They are not intimidated by men. In fact, they love being the only pink suit at the table.

That confidence comes from working hard to gain in-depth understanding of the fundamentals of business and to become experts in their own industries.

PAMELA: They didn't think women at that time had what it takes to make it in this business. They thought this business was too challenging, too competitive. That women were too frail, too gentle. That, you know, they just didn't have that tough skin to be successful in this business.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Americans and cars go together like hotdogs and mustard. Like summer and sun. But for Pamela, this is all strictly business. Don't you think women influence the purchasing at a huge percentage?

PAMELA: Huge! Very huge.

HATTIE: Do you all have any research?

PAMELA: The statistics are women own or purchase 50% of all automobiles sold and influence about 85 to 90% of all automobiles that are purchased. So women play a major role!

HATTIE: And you have some women salespeople?

PAMELA: We have women salespeople; we have a woman Parts Manager, F&I Manager, Controller. We have women at all ranks of our business. Which is unusual for a car dealership.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Pamela is the right person in the right place at the right time. She is one of the few women in the world who owns a car dealership in her own right. It wasn't passed to her by her father or a husband. And, she took a failing location and turned it around. Today, with a team of 85 employees, her business, Rodgers Chevrolet, generates 73 million in revenues by selling nearly 200 cars per month and by servicing as many as 1200 a month. Pamela's mom was the first to hear that she would leave her big corporate job for a much tougher path.

MOTHER: I remember vividly the day that she announced that she wanted to become an automobile dealer. We were having dinner and conversation was going very ordinarily and she announced, "guess what?" I said, "What is it?" She says, "I have an announcement to make." I said, "Gee, let's hear it." So she said, "I am going to become an automobile dealer." Of course, I choked. I couldn't believe it. Because, it was so -- so far fetched from what she's always done. And that is a pretty tough arena. And being a mother, you naturally think -- well, my little girl is going into this tough competitive arena. I know she has what it takes, but -- so I did have the reservations. But her father said immediately, "Go for it!"

PAMELA: So, yes, I was going against the grain, but when you're the underdog -- and that is exactly what I was -- there was more people trying to push me out of the way. So I was the underdog and there is always somebody rooting for the underdog. So you have to find those mentors, find those people, find that support system. I mean, it's difficult to do -- easier said -- but as many people are trying to push you away there is somebody in there trying to help.

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