Hope you're enjoying your last weekend of 2007, everyone!
Got a crazy question for you, and need your most honest opinion here.
How important is it to impress your clients, your staff, and other Realtors you work with, with the car you drive?
Now, we all know your car is an extension of your office. It has to be comfortable, for you and your clients. It has to be clean. It has to be reliable. But do clients and your peers judge you on the MODEL and MAKE of what you drive, even if they won't admit it to you?
Back in the day, it was your CLOTHING that made the biggest statement on you. Your suit, your tie, your shoes. Although neatness and presentation with what you wear still counts a helluva lot, there seems less urgency to spend tons of money on expensive suits today, especially for men.
But, the vehicle the agent drives up in. If he or she drives up in a Lexus, do you, subtly, have more respect for them than if they drove up in a Toyota Avalon? If the car is a bit older, but clean, does that affect your perception of his or her status, confidence, or level of success? The guy that has an $80,000 Mercedes, or an expensive BMW. Does he get more traction than somebody that drives up in a nice, but "non-trophy" car?
I know, I know - it's all the in the person. We have to stop being materialistic these days. But often times, especially with high-end properties, your first impression is CRITICAL, especially if you are in competition with others. What do CLIENTS think, but DON'T TELL YOU?
What about your STAFF and TEAM MEMBERS. Does your car give them a message about how you are as a successful leader? Can they become concerned if you don't have a visual cue, parking in the office parking lot each day, as to your success and confidence?
Need your candid reaction here, and here's why.
I have driven an Acura for many years - love the brand, the reliability, and the features. My latest Acura is a top-of-the-line RL - a three year old model, that I bought new. Lovely car - but very expensive to maintain, and not good on gas, especially in the city. I purchased this car during the stronger market of early 2005, when gas was still a respectable $2.25/gallon - for PREMIUM!
Now, the lease on this car is coming due. I'm considering downgrading to a less expensive, but nice and smaller, Acura TL, or even a classy, but $10M less expensive, Honda Accord EX. Both of these options offer similar features to the RL, are roomy and well designed for clients - but will cost about 20% less to operate, due to better gas mileage, and a far lower lease payment. Any option here will have built-in Navi System, as I have become quite used to this feature, nice seats, etc. - no stripped down model car.
The market here is Chicago is a Buyer's Market, and this is projected to continue, although we are confident our Team has the right business model in place to grow in 2008. I am looking at vehicle expense as something I can trim, perhaps considerably, and am leaning to going with a less expensive vehicle here.
But will it hurt me?
Be honest, folks, and think before you answer. Thanks!
DEAN & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO