Towbin Motorcars’ 5-acre site is dotted with Aston Martin, Bentley and Rolls-Royce — the only dealership in Las Vegas offering all three luxury vehicles at the same site.
A giant fan hangs from the showroom as jazz music blares through the glass walls. Past the desks, a small meditation room dubbed “The Bliss” awaits employees. Elsewhere, servicemen hustle to repair six-figure cars.
The dealership is on West Sahara Avenue. However, it may have never been if not for a fateful decision from Jesika Towbin-Mansour, co-owner and operations director for Towbin Motorcars.
Towbin-Mansour grew up in the car industry. Her father, Daniel, built an empire as chairman of Towbin Automotive Enterprises, owning multiple dealerships throughout the valley.
But Towbin-Mansour had her sights on becoming a gemologist and opening up a jewelry store.
“I wanted to be independent and be on my own,” Towbin-Mansour said. “But once I got in (the car business), I really loved it. I connected with the customers and employees. I had so much fun. I just decided I love this business.”
Her dad offered her a full-time job at his flagship Rolls-Royce and Bentley dealership the summer before Towbin-Mansour was to enroll at the Gemological Institute of America to study jewelry. She’s been in the car business ever since.
Towbin-Mansour worked her way up in the company, with stops along the way customer service, human resources and sales, before joining her father in the corporate office.
Together, the two plotted the launch of their high-end Towbin Motorcars showroom. When Daniel died in 2009, Towbin-Mansour was left to finish the project.
The luxury car showroom launched last October. A memorial for her father sits outside. Towbin-Mansour, 34, says the grand opening has been the highlight of her career.
“It was an emotional night because it was so exciting and it was like, ‘We did it,’ ” she said. “But not having him there to celebrate was emotional. People were saying such amazing things about the store. I could just feel we did an amazing job from all the feedback.”
She’s kept the business a family affair, co-owning Towbin Motorcars with her husband. Working with him and sometimes bringing their 2-year-old son pays dividends for Towbin-Mansour.
“I can put more energy into the business because my family is with me, unlike somebody else who might be torn between business and family,” she said. “I love that.”
Question: What challenges did you face as a woman in a predominantly male business?
Answer: “There were some challenges, but more than anything, I feel like I had more of an edge in a positive direction. Of course there were some doubters in the beginning. They questioned if I knew what I was talking about. That stopped once they got to know me. But being a woman, people are less intimidated and I have a softer approach. I was able to connect with customers and build rapport easier.”
Question: Do you consider yourself a role model for other women trying to break into the business?
Answer: “I would love to get more women in the car business. I don’t think women consider selling cars because it’s a man’s business, but I think there’s a lot of opportunity. It’s a great business for women to get into. People really do love working with women. And I love mentoring young women. I think young girls just need someone to build up their confidence and self-esteem.”
Question: Best piece of advice you’ve received?
Answer: “When my dad first brought me to the corporate office, I was supernervous. I didn’t think I could do it and It seemed really hard. I was scared and he said, ‘You know what? Ninety percent of the decisions you make are going to be from your heart.’ He basically told me to follow my intuition and heart. And he was right.”
Question: What’s your favorite part of your job?
Answer: “I could never decide what I wanted to be growing up because I liked so many things but I get doing everything I love in this job. My favorite thing is definitely talking to people. I love meeting new people. Also, I love negotiating because it’s such a challenge especially with clients like these that are CEOs and business owners themselves, who are very smart and successful. The glamorous aspect is fun, too. I mean, Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Aston Martin are some of the top luxury cars in the world. And no day is ever the same either. It’s never boring. There’s always something new happening. I love this business.”
Question: How did the recession affect the company?
Answer: “The good thing about our company as a whole is we’re diversified. We have this superhigh-line dealership, which has a totally different clientele than our domestic dealership. I think the economy was affecting different people at different times. So when one store maybe wasn’t doing so great, another one was. As a whole, our business was able to sustain and help each other through it.”
Question: How has Internet changed the business?
Answer: “It’s made it harder and easier. It’s made it harder because our competition is at the stroke of a mouse. Clients are way more educated when they come into a dealership now. The tactics of the car business from the ’70s and ’80s don’t work anymore because clients are so smart. You can’t pull anything on them. But the Internet has also made it better because it attracts customers from all around the world. Sometimes we’ll sell out of the country to customers we couldn’t have gotten before.”
Question: What separates Towbin Motocars from other dealerships?
Answer: “Just the overall experience of walking into our building, which is beautiful and unique. We definitely spent a lot of time and energy making the building amazing. When people come in here, I want them to have the wow factor.”
Question: What are the challenges of selling luxury cars?
Answer: “It takes longer than normal cars. It’s more prospecting and relationship building. It’s almost closer to real estate than car sales. It could take months to work a deal on somebody with a Rolls-Royce. We’re talking about cars the price of some homes. So it could be the second biggest purchase of that person’s life, so it’s a big decision. Then again, some people come in and make a decision in 30 seconds. It’s a balancing act. Sometimes it can become frustrating because it takes so long, but you just have to be there for the person and get them through it.”
Question: What is the key to making a sale?
Answer: “Relationship building, getting customers to know and trust you and being there for the client is huge. Also, building value in the brand and car and showing them everything it can do is important, too. They already know about the car and have done the research. But you have to get them excited. It’s more of an emotional purchase than a practical one.”
Contact reporter Eric Uribe at firstname.lastname@example.org