Will you make more sales if you upgrade your car?

by Olivia D'Orazio06 Oct 2014
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.
“A lot of people are coming into the business for the wrong reasons, thinking about how easy it is to make money as an agent,” veteran agent Justin Kua tells REP, “but they’re not thinking about how they can serve the industry and, more importantly, their clients.”
But appearances are still key, with a well-kempt agent – most often in a suit – the industry’s standard bearer. Still, grasping for the trappings of success far beyond that ideal, can land younger agents in hot water, cautions Kua.
“Being self-employed, you’ll find there are a lot of expenses, just like any business,” he says. “Don’t be swayed by what someone who has been in the business for 15 years looks like; focus on what they’ve been doing to survive in the industry that long.”
Indeed, Kua represents increasingly popular industry thinking, which takes the emphasis off of cars and clothes and places it squarely on study and training as a means of attracting and retaining client relationships.
“When [new agents] don’t take time to develop a passion for the business or they don’t have a mentor, they develop unrealistic expectations,” he explains. “I’d first say find a mentor who can coach you and give you’re the proper perspective before you look at Mercedes lease options and custom suits.”
There are, however, limits on just how much to skimp on your accessories. Broker Alana Stockholm told REP, “I used to drive a Toyota – great gas mileage, cheap to run, and I thought it showed that I wasn’t overcharging. I had a long-time client who one day I found had appointed someone else to sell their home. Of course I wanted to know why, so I asked them. They said, ‘Alana, I really like you but you know, you just don’t look successful.’ I went straight out and bought a Lexus.”
What do you drive? How much of an impression do you rely on your image to make for you?


  • by Koolfonk 10/6/2014 2:20:30 PM

    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!

  • by Wally 10/6/2014 2:34:19 PM

    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.

  • by Rodolfo Rodriguez 10/6/2014 2:39:59 PM

    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)

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