Do brokers HAVE TO drive a good car?

or Register to post new content in the forum

44 RepliesJump to last post

 

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Jun 5, 2007 11:31 am

With high gas price, and the fact that I drive 50 miles to get to office, I'm tempted to drive our family's little Toyota which gets great mileage.  But my wife insists I should drive the other "luxury" car just so I'd "project a successful image."


What is your view on this matter?  Do you think brokers have to drive a luxury car to maintain an image?

Jun 5, 2007 11:48 am

Are you trying to maintain the image of someone who drives a luxury car or are you trying to maintain the image of someone who makes smart financial decisions?


When I go into a house in an upper middle class neighborhood  and there are two nice cars in the driveway, they seldom have much money.   On the other hand, if there are two older mid-level cars, the client almost always has money.


In other words, the clients who will care about your car probably don't make good clients.

Jun 5, 2007 12:16 pm

Before I entered my practice I had bought a used mid-high end luxury car prudently.


It had about 90k miles on it and I got it for about 40% of the original sticker price.


Now it's about 4 1/2 years later and I just passed the 200k mile mark.   I could still probably get about 15% of the original sticker if I sold it.


When i'm ready for my next vehicle I will still buy a quality used car but possibly get one with a little less cache.


scrim

Jun 5, 2007 12:21 pm
anonymous:

Are you trying to maintain the image of someone who drives a luxury car or are you trying to maintain the image of someone who makes smart financial decisions?


When I go into a house in an upper middle class neighborhood  and there are two nice cars in the driveway, they seldom have much money.   On the other hand, if there are two older mid-level cars, the client almost always has money.


In other words, the clients who will care about your car probably don't make good clients.



All true as far as my experience goes too....yet at times I still am tempted to spend the $$ on a nicer car.

Jun 5, 2007 12:22 pm

Depends on your style of business.  If you are out working CPA's and Attorney's for referrals and taking them to lunch you better not show up in an old toyota.  If you are meeting in your office with clients I don't think they look through the parking lot trying to figure out what you are driving. 

Jun 5, 2007 12:38 pm

Good car versus luxury car? My current go to meetings rides are a Jeep GC and a Toyota Camry. If clients are saying anything negative, they haven't said it to me.


While there is nothing wrong with being thrifty, as a successful advisor, gas money shouldn't be an issue. With your mileage the out of pocket gas money difference between an econobox and a luxury car would be in the $1500 per year range.


The bigger issue is the depreciation hit the big miles would put on your wallet. The mileage you're driving will kill the value of your car. Case in point; I traded a 4 year old Accord with 97k on it. Real money, I got $8500. The car cost me $21,000. Approximately a 60% hit over four years, $12,500. Those same numbers applied to a BMW 325CI, with a $52,000 price tag would be over $30,000 in depreciation. I picked this car as an example because it was originally what we were going to buy. My wife didn't like it and that saved us $17,000 in depreciation.


The smarter move would be to continue driving the Toyota. A compromise would be to find a low end luxury car like an Acura TL or a Toyata Avalon XLS. Both cars can be had for under 35k and are great cars, though very different. A step down would be to pick up a loaded Camry or Accord. We've had both and it's never interfered with business. Lastly, a Prius Hybrid may be the best choice. It can be had in the low 20s, is very "in", and gets great gas mileage. Rich folks love these things.

Jun 5, 2007 2:23 pm

Allways go with what your wife says


in all seriousnes i agree with your wife. you never know when/who your gonna come across in your day. and as corny as it sounds...image is everything

Jun 5, 2007 2:39 pm

This is really interesting because I recently had this conversation with my family over the dinner table. My uncle is a lawyer, and his father is a doctor, and they were saying that it could be bad for their professional image to drive expensive cars, since their clients might feel they were being overcharged for their services to pay for extravagant things for their doctor/lawyer.  On the other hand, a real estate agent is usually better off driving a nicer car, since clients tend to see and possibly ride in the car and it projects the image that they're good at what they're doing (can get you a higher price for your house).  I brought up the financial advisor point, where on the one hand, you want your clients to know that you are sucessful and can manage your money, but you don't want to come off as the person who wastes ridiculous amounts on brand new cars that don't hold their value any better.


I like the Prius idea, bondguy (it makes me think of Larry David) and for those who like their fancy cars, more and more luxury brands are adding hybrid vehicles so you can at least save a little on gas if not in depreciation 

Jun 5, 2007 3:08 pm

I firmly believe it depends on who you are trying to attract as
clients.  Being practical is fine, but being cheap isn't. 
Fine line sometimes I know.  I did find it right in line with
Jones (whom I just left last month) that nobody drove a "new
car."  Seg 4 and 5's driving a 10 year old beater made me a little
curious.  And bear in mind I am small town midwest, not trying to
generalize to Jones as a whole.  But the rep down the street from
me who just became Seg 5 after 12 years driving a late 90's GMC truck
with a topper and a busted rear tail light made me say hmm.

Jun 5, 2007 3:44 pm

I think people are right on here that in most cases - clients impressed by material goods rarely make good INVESTMENT clients.  While some wealthy clients might drive nice cars, I seriously doubt they look at a vehicle as a sign of wealth or success. 

Having said that - don't destroy your credibility by pulling up in a smoke spewing junker.

Jun 5, 2007 4:56 pm

I think it depends on where you live.  I get by just find and blend right in with my clients by driving a 4x4 Blazer.  If I had anything "real fancy" people would suspect that I am fleecing them or spending way to much money on bling .


It is strange though because on the rare occasion I drive our 67 Chevy Stepside no one considers that the $$ invested in restoring that vehicle is much more than the cost of a modest new car.   


Drive something about equal to what your clients drive and save the Boxter or classic Corvette for personal time.

Jun 5, 2007 5:06 pm

just get a ferrari...so as long as it's not yellow, rizzy's the color nugga!

Jun 5, 2007 5:28 pm

People like to do business with people with whom they can relate and that look like they do.


Advisors should generally drive the same types of vehicles that their ideal clients drive. If you're ideal clients are farmers - chances are that you should drive a Ford F150, venture capitalists - probably a Bentley.


Jun 5, 2007 5:50 pm

Okay...most of my clients are lesbian biker chicks...what should I drive?

Jun 5, 2007 5:59 pm
bspears:

Okay...most of my clients are lesbian biker chicks...what should I drive?


Lesbian's tend to like Subaru Outbacks so you may want to check that out.  Good luck.


Jun 5, 2007 7:36 pm
bspears:

Okay...most of my clients are lesbian biker chicks...what should I drive?


Ford Probe...'nuff said

Jun 5, 2007 7:46 pm

When I was a trainee I drove an old Pontiac with 200k miles.  I
had one wealthy prospect open an account with me because he liked my
thrifty nature.  I never had anyone say anything negative about my
inexpensive cars and I have consistantly been in the top
quintile.  Old cars never hurt my production.

Jun 5, 2007 8:30 pm

I drive a 90K luxury car because I like it.  What people think about it is THEIR problem.


I've never lost/gained a client because of it.

Jun 5, 2007 9:40 pm

2002 Expedition. pretty versatile image there

Jun 5, 2007 10:12 pm

I REALLY like my automobile. I bought it used. Nothing fancy or anything a client couldn't get their hands on fairly easily. It's probably the best car I could get my hands on without venturing into BMW, Audi territory.


Also, I didn't want to be one of those guys who want a car like a BMW, Mercedes or Audi but could only (barely) afford the base model, i.e. C class, 3 Series of an A4 1.8T. If I'm going to venture into luxury territory, I'm going to wait until I can do it big - E/S Class, 5/7 Series, A8.


Meanwhile I'll stick to the loaded/Used Nissans and Toyotas.