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Will you make more sales if you upgrade your car?

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Real Estate Professional | 06 Oct 2014, 12:47 PM Agree 0
While a sleek Mercedes and a gold watch were once the hallmarks of a successful agent, some experienced agents think that flashy image is doing damage to the reputation of the entire profession.
  • Koolfonk | 06 Oct 2014, 02:20 PM Agree 0
    I have always believed that the impression of clients with the agents that drove the fancy expensive cars was that they were making too much on commission - especially those that had to work hard for their money, came home dirty and had to take a shower at the end of their work day - the working class! I have always driven a modest, but newer Ford SUV (Escape, Expedition) and have never had any comments directed at me by any of my clients - but I have heard from other agents that question why I don't have a Mercedes or BMW or Lexus to drive (I am successful enough to have one) - but I have heard from clients in a negative way about the agents that do drive those types of cars! I guess if you run in the circle of clients that also have the need to express their wealth and success through the four wheels they get around in, then perhaps it fits in fine with them and their belief that they want you to also 'appear' to be successful like them. I've just never worried about that type of impression. I prefer to deliver results and show them through my efforts that I am the agent they need to have working for them. All the best to everyone out there!
  • Wally | 06 Oct 2014, 02:34 PM Agree 0
    I believe it has an impact on what clients think. I wish it didn't but it does. I've owned modest and "higher" end vehicles. My business is always better when I drive the nicer cars. Is that because I'm more motivated with a higher payment? Maybe, maybe not. But I do know I make more money driving a nicer car.
  • Rodolfo Rodriguez | 06 Oct 2014, 02:39 PM Agree 0
    I drive a wonderful Mercedes for three specific reasons:
    1.- it is much more pleasant and safe usually ( I spend many hours on the road)
    2.- I can deduct the extra cost from my taxes,
    3.- there are many clients, who evaluate your success, by external symbols, and this can be crucial to be chosen as his Realtor( It s cruel and unfair but real)
  • Mari Carr | 06 Oct 2014, 02:45 PM Agree 0
    I drive a Chrsyler minivan. I have been told by many clients that part of why they like to do business with me is because I am approachable and not flashy. I am consistently one of the top 3 producers in my office of 40 plus agents.
  • Alex | 06 Oct 2014, 02:49 PM Agree 0
    In a game of perception image is always important same as courting or dating. Client will always judge you by the way you look regardless. It also goes along with how you dress as professional even the shoes you wear can tell more things about you. I find that when I am in the suit and drive my mercedes I exert more power than when I am driving my regular day to day american car.

    Bottom line is not the car that is the issue it's the perception you are making! Obviously you would not want to perceive something or someone you not. Not all Mercedes is expensive the C-Class entry level you can get use for less than 10K far cheaper than most Japanese car.

    If you can't afford to own a C-Class then you need to educate yourself about Mercedes. You will be surprise how much cheaper it is compare to Japanese or some American cars. Talking about USED CARDS.
  • judy | 06 Oct 2014, 02:56 PM Agree 0
    We only pass through this world once...a classy car that is a few years old from a car-maker that does not change body styles every year can be a smarter buy than that new, gas-guzzling SUV or that pricey Prius and still create an impression of success especially if you don't change cars frequently. Buy what you like though, our clients do.
    I would rather wear well-cut clothing and a little good quality jewellry than the latest trends. Clacking flip-flops, noisy bangles, shoulder dusting earrings, low-cut tops, hardly-there skirts, along with spikey hair, a pound of make-up, and wild dye jobs just cheapen the industry. We don't need "Peg Bundy"or "hooker-lookers" in this business and there are a lot of agents, male and female, who dress far too casually nowadays. We are on display every day we are in our home environs and shouldn't forget it.
    It is OK to be casual when you are going to the hardware store in the middle of a chore though, just like your clients, they will respect that you have to take care of the same things they do and will like you all the more for having something in common with them.
  • Rory | 06 Oct 2014, 03:06 PM Agree 0
    I drive a BMW 320i xdrive - why - I like it and I don't really care what anyone thinks about the reasons why. I don't know if it's made or cost me business - drive what you like and have a nice day.
  • | 06 Oct 2014, 03:16 PM Agree 0
    When the clients I was meeting were driving much nicer cars than I was, I went out and got a lightly used Mercedes Benz. Best thing I have done for my business. Both buyers and sellers have commented that they feel comfortable with me based on my success, the car I drive.
  • jkvic | 06 Oct 2014, 04:13 PM Agree 0
    I used to think that a nice looking car was not necessary - in fact I thought it was superficial. Then, like so many other agents, I heard my client's remark about another agent: "Oh look at the fancy car he drives. He must be successful!" They did not end up buying through me but it taught me - whether I agreed with it or not - at least some measure of public image is where it is at. A nice car is the yardstick that buyers and sellers use as their first impression. So, I watched the used car ads for over a year until I found a gorgeous car that looked new but one that I could afford. But beware - a nice car does not a great agent make. So many new agents go straight into hock on a leased car - but if you don't deliver high quality service and work hard to pay your dues - you may as well be riding a bicycle! Clients see right through the glitz!
  • broker steve | 06 Oct 2014, 04:57 PM Agree 0
    Most all of us seem to judge others by the so called trappings of success. Really a shallow perspective on things. It's interesting to read that many Hollywood and pop stars drive around in older clunkers and pick-ups so they won't get hassled;)

    I've had clients comment on the cars I'm driving. When new, they smile and say business must be good Steve. They seem pleased to be dealing with a successful agent. When I drive our second vehicle which is a not so new van, although few comment you can almost hear the thought process.

    I don't like it but I guess the old saw sums it up pretty accurately, "display is everything".

  • Marisha | 06 Oct 2014, 05:20 PM Agree 0
    I drive a SMART, and I find my clients appreciate the fact that I take the stress on the environment seriously. Granted, my SMART is convertible, and yellow...
  • Barb | 06 Oct 2014, 10:08 PM Agree 0
    I drive a Smart Car also! I deal a lot with single buyers so it's perfect. It's environmentally friendly, it's fun, gets attention and I have it wrapped. Clients like to ride in it and I feel they appreciate that I'm not showing off driving a big luxury car.

  • Patrick | 06 Oct 2014, 11:20 PM Agree 0
    I believe that being a Realtor is one of those professions where you are often judged by your image. Yes there are some clients that don't care but I think they are the minority. Just like Stock Traders, Doctors, Surgeons and Lawyers their image is often seen as a reflection of their success.

    If your doctor drives a Honda Accord or Camry I guess you could say he is a practical person. However if he/she drives a Mercedes would you think they have a successful practice?

    I am looking forward to upgrading my Altima to an Audi A8 and this is not just for my image but for my personal enjoyment.
  • | 07 Oct 2014, 06:57 PM Agree 0
    When I first got into the real estate business back in 2003 I was flat broke and was driving an 1990 rusted Aerostar family van. I remember the first year having to park the vehicle a block away from my destination because I felt I would be judged based on the car I was driving.I continued to work very hard inspite of the financial difficulties and always maintained a high level of integrity and professionalism by suiting up and putting my public relation and selling skills to work. Throughout all of my experiences to date I can truly attest that most people measure are success from what we possess and the image we portray. Today I'm driving an Audi and parking it proudly right in front of their home ,and let me say that my Aerostar contributed to my success because I made the difference not the car I drove!
  • Ken | 08 Oct 2014, 12:36 PM Agree 0
    The car makes a great first impression. But what tumbles out of it must also display personal and professional style. The car is only one part of the complete equation. Who are your clients and present accordingly. Holt Renfrew versus Walmart.
  • Working Joe | 10 Oct 2014, 02:31 PM Agree 0
    As a consumer, I think you have to tailor your image to the target financial demographic. I recently visited a parade of homes show and at one of the lower end homes, the sales agent had a hummer parked in the driveway (the previous season he had a 911 in the driveway). My first impression (whether fair or not) was 'here's someone who will say (sell) anything to anyone...just as long as the commissions keep flowing'. Now that might not be fair or accurate, but as they say: image and impressions are everything. If I was in the market for a lower priced home, and had financial constraints, I would want to see my agent driving a conservative car. (or what I call "sensible shoes"). On the other hand, if I was in the market for a $1M plus home, and the agent was driving anything less than a high end luxury vehicle, I would probably turn around and drive away as fast as I could. My accountant once told me that a client of his who owns a construction supply store leaves his Jag at home. He prefers to park his conservative hyundai in the store parking lot where everyone can see it...otherwise all of his clients would think they are getting ripped off.
  • Don J | 12 Oct 2014, 04:46 PM Agree 0
    Years ago I anguished over getting a continental due to worry about client feedback - I got the car eventually and justified it on grounds I was in it so much that the safety features it had might be important one day ( which they were when I wrote it off with a client in the car ) anyways one day soon after getting it I was called to do a listing presentation on a high end home - I arrived and the prospective client started to laugh - he said I'm in trouble now -- the car says you are a hitter but the blue jeans say you are so successful you don't need a suit - I listed and sold his home for 1.2 million -- but the next year I bough a rare though not expensive sports car - it cost me 3 listings because people though I was making too much money - so don't worry about the car - I now drive a Jetta diesel and love it - and although a couple of my clients still kid me about it, 2 of my high end BMW owing clients now have Jetta diesels after being out with me ---- so get a car you like and enjoy - just make sure you can walk the walk cause that is what will make you successful
  • Rudy | 12 Oct 2014, 04:56 PM Agree 0
    This all depends on the demographic that you want. You need to relate to your target market.
    I asked an associate on office tour with me, "Are those swim shorts?" He answered, "No. these are selling shorts!" He was driving a modest car (with a big crease down the passenger side) and rocking the local market as a Top Producer; while having fun with it!
  • Dan Morris | 12 Oct 2014, 06:32 PM Agree 0
    I drive a later model clean,full size car--Nothing fancy ,but practical.
    It does what I intended--Carry clients in comfort(No smoking)!!

    Dan Morris-Royal lepage Team--Barrhaven area--ottawa
  • Scott Simmons | 12 Oct 2014, 08:12 PM Agree 0
    As a rural real estate agent on a rocky isolated west coast island I drive a new Subaru because it's the only car that will get me up the abandon logging road, through creeks, over tide marshes, down beaches and even an occasional trip to a city . Max ground clearance and 4 wheel drive with a soft ride are the order of the day. As far as image goes I had to stop in at a Remax office in Naniamo and actually thought I was at a BMW dealership. I really think agents get flashy cars just to show off to other agent at how great they are. Same type of agent usually has the massive selfie front and center on their web site and then brags about all the awards they have for being a top producer. If you really want to impress your clients show them your own personal real estate portfolio and or a list of satisfied clients. So little seem to put clients needs first. They should really think about checking their own egos. To much flash will send the wrong signal of fast easy money which real estate is anything but. Scott Simmons Salt Spring Island BC.
  • Harjit Pabla | 14 Oct 2014, 10:27 AM Agree 0
    I think there is no set formula for what to drive and how to dress. It all depends upon who your clients are. When I work with a rich, a well to do client/customer, I drive Lexus, dress expensive casual. When the client is a first time buyer, inexperienced, majority of times, it doesn't matter what you drive or wear, as long as you can actually help them make a right decision, take care of them without thinking what is there for you. The compassion shows only if you have it.
  • Renee C | 15 Oct 2014, 03:22 PM Agree 0
    Folks: I have a SUV, great to take open house signs and tons of teenagers and skis as I am also a mother beside being an agent.

    Not Mercedes though but a Honda... is it good enough you thinkÉ

  • Lou | 17 Oct 2014, 10:48 PM Agree 0
    I know its a shallow way of looking at the industry but god its so true. I used to drive a regular Japanese car, loved it, I changed oil in it for 5 years with 0 problems. In the city my client base is about half lawyers and half investment bankers. One day after I firmed up a deal with a client, he looks at me (him being a lawyer he drives an Audi S5) and says "Now with that commission you can go buy yourself a real car", I laughed, he didn't. The next weekend I went out and purchased a Mercedes CLS550 which happened to be my dream car. The car is used but the model never changed from 2004 (in Europe) to 2011 in North America, so to 95% of my client base I drive a new rare Mercedes. I've been busier ever since.
  • Melbo | 20 Oct 2014, 02:01 PM Agree 0
    A bit unrelated to the article but - why are there always so many typos in these articles??? It certainly doesn't fit with the name 'Real Estate Professional' !!!
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