DETROIT — Selling cars is only part of what Lindsberg Pettway does in his job as a Chevrolet salesman.
A former high school principal who's now the floor sales manager at Feldman Chevrolet of Livonia in suburban Detroit, Pettway says he brings transparency to the process. This is the basis of his presence on TikTok and Instagram, where in four months he's amassed a combined 40,000 followers by sharing car-buying tips and offering glimpses into dealership life.
His steady stream of humorous and thought-provoking content covers an array of topics. Pettway, 50, sometimes provides advice for buyers with low credit scores or explains how people with repossessions on their records can get approved for a new car.
One of his more amusing videos shows how a salesman feels after spending eight hours with a customer who then buys from another dealership. A dejected Pettway mopes around in the dealership to the backdrop of "How You Gonna Act Like That," a heartbreak anthem from R&B singer Tyrese.
Pettway isn't afraid to wade into more serious themes either. His most popular video shows how Black customers can be stereotyped by Black salesmen just walking into a dealership. That clip has been viewed nearly 3 million times on TikTok and received more than 49,000 likes on Instagram.
Pettway's videos are produced by Toria Creative Co., a digital marketing company in Detroit. Founder Toria Davis was introduced to Pettway by a store manager after buying a car. Davis' assistant, Lizz Jones, also helps craft content.
"You have to do something that's going to separate you from the person sitting next to you and the dealer up the street," Pettway told Automotive News.
Followers sometimes come in specifically to buy a vehicle from Pettway. He attributes three of his sales directly to people seeing his TikTok videos since starting the account in February and has fielded at least 20 calls from viewers looking for tutelage.
His growing fanbase often asks Pettway for advice in the comments section, which sometimes prompts him to respond with another video. Viewers frequently send messages saying they wish they lived close enough to shop at his dealership or to express their appreciation for how he presents information.