Hey, everyone -
Our Team in Chicago is just BLOWN AWAY by the volume of comments on this very hot topic of how the car you drive affects the perceptions of your clients, and those on your staff. (See our original Blog article here.)
Our earlier post was answered with much thought and deliberation - THANKS AGAIN, to everyone!
BTW - I'm creating a new blog post, in addition to a responding comment, to make sure more folks review these further thoughts - no "point hogging" intended, everyone!
I've always bought a car that I am comfortable with, but in a casual sort of way. A Mercedes or a top-end BMW - I agree, many may think we make too much money, and perception can be negative. Even if you work with exclusively-upscale clients, this could be a turn off.
But, like the clothes you wear - you want to be clean, neat, presentable - with just a touch of memorability.
I have owned Acura cars for many years because they are incredibly reliable, generally reasonable to maintain (but now that gas is up so high, costs for Premium Fuel have become a business concern), have excellent trade-in values (after all, they are still really Hondas!), and create a memorable "What kind of car is this?" impression, without flaunting.
If my car was an extension of my personality, I might say it speaks about me as someone who is successful, but not seeking to impress others. That he is confident in his business, but has a bit of flair. That he is not afraid to get his hands dirty, but won't dirty his hands looking under his own hood while he is taking us to view properties.
I really don't take buyers out much anymore - our Buyer's Specialist Kathleen Weaver-Zech does - she drives a Saturn SUV. She loves it, BTW! Further, I don't feel I constantly have to convince myself how good I am.
In 2008, we have some serious issues. We have to capture business in a tougher market, effectively promote our listings, and, with uncertainty as to housing demand in the first part of the year especially, not have a lot of fat in our budgets.
It is no longer fashionable, even in the more affluent sectors, I believe, to be driving some gas-guzzling hog with a trophy nameplate just for status. I think most clients would rather me spend our not-unlimited budget on things that will get their house sold, not to stroke the Listing Agent's ego. Those that don't, I'd be concerned about how shallow, and potentially toxic, they might be.
Based on your gracious input, I feel I can downsize somewhat, to an Acura TL or Honda Accord EX-L, without negatively impacting my business. I would use any savings toward building systems and methods for better marketing our clients' properties, as well as promoting the way we work. Make sense?
Always welcome your further thoughts!
DEAN & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO