Integrity, honesty, compassion and generosity is embedded in the character of this woman, and according to some, she is the reason doors of opportunity have opened for African-American women in the field of car sales.
A pioneer in her own right, Aletha Herring, sales and leasing consultant of Lockhart Cadillac for more than 25 years, attributes her success to building a rapport with what she considers a bond much more than just a client, but a friend.
“Earning customer trust and doing repeat business is important because in order to do that you have to do more than just sell a vehicle. Honesty is key,” said Herring.
Honored more than 14 times by Lockhart Cadillac within her 25-year career as salesperson of the year, it hasn’t been easy but well worth the journey, Herring says.
“This business consumes you as far as time and the commitment. You have no idea until you get into it. I have easily worked 65-hour weeks for a long portion of my career, but if I could do it all over again I would, the exact same way.”
Harold ‘H.B.’ Bell, Herring’s son and a salesman at Lockhart Cadillac, recalls the time, commitment and dedication his mother displayed while being a single parent. Bell says he’s appreciative of all she has done to contribute to his upbringing and his development as a man.
“I think a lot of people need to understand how hard it is to maintain a household and try to do the right thing as a single parent. Then to go out and do a job so demanding at the level she has done by bringing extraordinary things to the Cadillac business is phenomenal,” said Bell.
Herring continues to bring her work ethic and undeniable character to Lockhart Cadillac everyday, which is noticed by all her fellow employee’s and clients. She shares the ongoing joke at Lockhart Cadillac, ‘Aletha motors’ due to drawing in numerous calls and visits daily; however, she credits none of this to herself but to her obedience and working with a good dealership.
“My success in this area lets me know that God has guided me. I’ve done a lot of sales but with this avenue I never got bored. Also, you can be ever so great, but if you don’t have a good dealer you are not going to succeed. The company that I work for is very customer focused,” explains Herring.
For African-American women who are seeking careers in male dominated areas Herring shares what has worked best for her as she draws from her passion for this business hoping to elevate the “glass ceiling” analogy.
“For anyone professionalism, honesty and integrity are key and being true to yourself. Just stick with it. It is a tough field and I won’t tell anyone it is easy, but I have developed a passion for it. It gets in your blood and it’s difficult to let go,” said Herring.
Due to Herring’s passion, her ability to break barriers for African-American women in car sales, and for her overall integrity, she is receiving an honor in dedication of 25 faithful years with Lockhart Cadillac at Madame C.J. Walker.
“As her son, to watch what she has done and the career she has built in this field, I just thought it was necessary to try my best and show her how much I appreciate her and respect her. I wasn’t waiting on the industry to recognize that. I want to thank Lockhart for helping me with the event,” emphasizes Bell.
According to a tribute for Herring to be shared during the night of the event, her sister Diana Weir wrote, whether in her personal or professional life, Aletha deals straight. She won’t misrepresent anything and according to Proverbs 22:1, A good name is to be more desired than great wealth. Favor is better than silver and gold. This is the type of character Herring is known and appreciated for.
“To live up to her legacy is hard. She is no different than Madame C.J. Walker, Condoleezza Rice or any minority lady who has done something that hasn’t been done before. She set the pace and the way for a lot of us who came up behind her in this business especially people of color” said Bell.
At the end of the day people want Herring to know that she is respected, appreciated, valued and is a legend in the car arena.
“To me she is a legend whether she sold one Cadillac or not that’s my queen, said Bell.