admin Posted on 8:02 pm

Top Sales Speaker Says First Impressions Matter – You ARE What You Drive!

I was in the car leasing business right out of college and did well, but I had a rough time with a memorable client.

He asked me to buy him a white Chevy pickup. Nothing fancy, just a bit of air conditioning, and if you had power windows it was fine.

What I didn’t know was that at my company we simply don’t make knocked down vehicles, at least for a few reasons.

First, as used cars two, three, and four years later, they would not be attractive to resale buyers. They would sit unsold for long periods, and that loses money in depreciation and flooring costs.

Second, when it comes to leasing, your rate won’t go up substantially, if you have power windows, a good sound system, custom wheel covers, and the like.

These items raise a car’s value on resale, so without getting into the math, your monthly lease payment stays in the same range whether you have the perks or not; And of course having them makes driving more enjoyable.

My client wanted a stripped down Chevy so I found the less luxurious one the company would buy and delivered it to him.

He almost yelled, “That’s not white, that’s P—yellow!”

It was officially called “something” white, but it had a point, it had a little bit of beige.

To him, that made the car look too fancy, too fancy.

“If I go near the farmers, they’ll think I’m making too much money from them,” he said.

I think I muttered “Try it and you’ll like it” and finally succumbed.

Anyway, in his mind, a car means something very important, and that meaning is very different from what I have in mind. You wanted your car to make a modest impression, and maybe no impression at all.

Our cars “talk” with our customers and with our colleagues. They usually signal our definitions of ourselves and are sometimes carefully chosen to control perceptions, as in the case of the Chevy renter.

I recently spent time with an insurance executive who drives a new truck even though he lives in one of the most sophisticated cities. He grew up on a farm, and he tells all of this to his clients, getting a lot out of this background.

So a van says, “I’m true to my roots” and “I’m conservative” and also, “I’m not making a lot of money from my clients.”

Deep down, we’re not our cars or our cell phones or other tools, but our choices will always send signals to customers, and if we’re smart, we can orchestrate those signals to produce the best possible results.

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