When God decides to favor you, it can come in any package and at an unexpected time for that matter. So is the story of Obi Okeke, the exotic Nigerian car dealer and co-owner of Fusion Luxury Motors based in Los Angeles. He met Floyd Mayweather and became his car dealer just from a phone call.
Aside selling cars to Floyd Mayweather, Mr Okeke have sold cars to other American celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Helen Degeneres, Chris Tucker, Jessica Simpson....
In a recent chat with Vince Bond Jr. of Automotive News, Okeke opened up on how he started his car dealership business and how he met Mayweather. Read excerpt below...
When did you meet Floyd?
Back in 2008, 2009. I was general manager of a Ferrari dealership. A business associate brought him to the Ferrari dealership. I transacted on two Ferraris with him.
How has your approach to the business changed over the years from working at a Chevy dealership to now?
My parents sent me to school in Switzerland as a young child, so I've always been very close to the European cars. And that's why I was with Volkswagen. I tried to get a job at BMW and Mercedes, but nobody would hire me in L.A., so I just took a job with Lexus. And then from Lexus to BMW, Mercedes, Ferrari, Maserati.
How has it changed?
I focus a lot more on customer service. My focus is taking care of the client because when you go to a dealership to acquire a car, it's basically they want you in and they want you out. It's a numbers game. I like to focus time on taking care of the clients and spending time with the clients. And trying to do events that may be worth their while, or something that might be engaging to them. That's how I view it.
I saw that Floyd called you and said he wanted a Bugatti in 12 hours. That sounds like an impossible task..
He called me at 3 in the morning. This was Bugatti No. 2. The second Bugatti I sold him, and he wanted it in 12 hours. This was approximately a year ago [in the lead-up to the first Marcos Maidana fight] because he wanted the car to drive to the gym that day. He wanted a different Bugatti to drive to the gym.
When he called you at 3 a.m., what was running through your head?
I was just getting accustomed to receiving calls from him in the middle of the night for the past six weeks. I picked up the call, walked downstairs as I'm talking to him, and he told me he wanted a car in his driveway in 12 hours.
I got to my office around 4:45, 5 in the morning. ... Once I hung up with him, I'm just thinking of a strategy of how I'm going to get him this car in that time frame. ...
I knew where there were a few cars. I said, well, I need to hop on a plane. I think I took a 7:30 flight out in the morning. I went to a destination that was closest to him that I felt I could get the car to him. When I got there, they weren't open yet. So I went to IHOP, got some breakfast, then I went there and said I want to buy this Bugatti. They thought that I wasn't serious. I called my partner, wired the money. Then the problem was trying to get a truck to flatbed it to his home.
That was the biggest problem. The biggest hiccup was trying to find a specialized flatbed. When I called him, I said, "Champ, the problem is going to be getting the car to your house on a flatbed." He goes, "I don't care; just drive it to me." I won't tell you where I was, so I hit the road, and I drove it to him. That's how I got it to him. ...
On Bugatti No. 3, he called me at around 4:30 in the afternoon, and he wanted that car at his place by midnight. That was feasible because that car was in the L.A. area.
Is that just the life of a luxury exotic-car dealer?
He will call me on cars that are $500,000 and up. $1 million, $2 million, $3 million, that's when I'll get the call. I sold him a lot of [Rolls-Royces], and I sold him a lot of Bentleys. I don't know if a franchised dealer is willing to do what I do. I don't know if a franchised dealer is going to be able to take the phone calls in the middle of the night. I don't know if they're going to be able to open up their showroom in the middle of the night for him.
My rule with Floyd is one hour. Floyd will call me and say, "I'm on my way." He'll call me at midnight, 12:30, 1, 2 in the morning and say, "I'm on my way." That means he's on his way to my dealership. The only thing I ask of him is just give me one hour because I've got to get up and get ready and head to the dealership. My dealership is about 45 minutes from my house. He will call me in Las Vegas, sitting on his jet about to take off, and tell me he's on his way. It takes him about 45 minutes to get to L.A. from Vegas. I try to give him service that nobody else will provide.
Whateer you do, do it with the whole of your heart, it might not yield result today but someday, it will. #StayPositive