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Fame sells

Sports marketing is big business. People respect athletes, and even if that statement is up for debate, people might not respect athletes all the time, but they do want to be or be like them every now and again. A great example is Michael Jordan. One might not respect everything he has done or does but being Jordan for a day would be amazing. Marketing people know this, feed on it, and align athletes with us as the consuming public every single day. A story that came out of Russell Westbrook’s camp lately is a great example.

If you’ve never heard of Westbrook, it doesn’t matter. He is an extremely talented NBA basketball player, highly regarded, will make the NBA Hall of Fame and is now playing with the Houston Rockets. Prior to this Westbrook spent his entire career playing for the Oklahoma Thunder and was a fixture for that franchise for nearly a decade. Russell counts on a host of sponsors, everything from energy drinks to shoes. And now we can add another industry to the list – cars.

Bob Nouri is a car dealer. He and Westbrook forged a relationship in Southern California where Westbrook is originally from. Westbrook and Nouri launched out initially in 2016 on the Russell Westbrook Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram of Van Nuys (we could have thought of a catchier name). In 2017 Westbrook added three Hyundai stores in Orange County and then this year an Alfa Romeo-Maserati dealership in Van Nuys. This specific Van Nuys location has been an Alfa Romeo-Maserati leader in terms of volume sold throughout the U.S.

In Westbrook’s first store potential clients are welcomed into the dealership with a basketball court inside. Westbrook comments that after many customers sign their deals it is not uncommon for them to start shooting on the court or even kill time when the financing department is drawing up contracts. Hint, hint, being Westbrook. While Russell is a partner in all this and receives a portion of dealership revenue, he leaves the daily operations to savvy business partners who know the business. The NBA superstar receives email updates each month surrounding the various dealerships’ performance and will weigh in from time to time.

The one thing that Westbrook comments on that surprised him most of the car selling process is how important customer service is. He was amazed at the difference a good salesperson and an average salesperson can register per year. This has pushed him to make in-person appearances a little more frequently, knowing that his presence alone could turn a potential lead into a signed customer. Russell knows that nobody can be him but feeling like Westbrook in a new Maserati is indeed possible in this world.  

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