By Brooke Wolford
Recently, at the Minneapolis YPN SquareTable event, I had a discussion with a few agents about what type of car you should drive to protect your image as an agent. It went back and fourth based on where you lived, who you served, etc. While I agreed with a lot of the responses, I also feel that having a certain type of vehicle does not make you a good agent. It’s all about what you do for your clients.
Take me for instance. I live very frugally. I have a nice car and all, but it’s really nothing special. When I go grocery shopping, I clip coupons. I rarely shop for novelty items and money really is not an issue with me. I worry about making sure I’m able to support my family and being able to retire some day — both are very important to me.
While discussing this with the other agents, someone suggested that you talk to your past clients and see what they thought about the vehicle you drove. I decided to survey some of my clients and see what they said. I sent an email out to them with the following questions:
1. Is there anything that would have deterred you from using me as an agent? Examples: If I had purple hair, tattoos or drove an ugly car, etc.
Client #1- “If you had purple hair, I might have run after meeting you in that open house, but I could care less about tattoos or the car you drove. “
Client #2-“Honestly, was impressed because you drove the same car as me. I know the quality of the vehicle you drove and I think it says a lot about a person by choosing a high quality vehicle. “
Client #3- “Well, I believe in first impressions. I didn’t know what type of vehicle you drove when we first met. I had the opportunity to work with you and my loan officer for a while before I started to view homes, so it really didn’t matter anymore. I was happy with you.”
2. What are the reasons you used me as an agent?
Client #1- “You just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I already knew I wanted to but the house. I knew I was going to walk into that open and make an offer. ”
Client #2- “My brother referred me to you.”
Client #3- “My loan officer referred me to you”
3. What was your first impression of me?
Client #1- “I thought you were very young but very friendly. You didn’t seem pushy. I liked that way you handled all the people in the open while I was trying to make an offer. You answered the questions I had.”
Client #2-“I was surprised at how young you were and that you were working with my brother on his rehabs. I couldn’t picture you showing him the properties he buys. You were professional and seemed to know what you were talking about.”
Client #3- “I was surprised that you called me back so quickly. I didn’t get to meet you for a while as I was out of town a lot but you seemed very professional on the phone and by email.”
So what does this say? Many thought I was young. Maybe I should reconsider the way I dress. I’m 30-something, so I don’t get this and they all purchased within the past couple of years. Client #2 did mention my vehicle but it was only because I had the same car that he did. However he did agree that the type of car I had said a lot about me. Everyone seemed to say that I was professional.
While I do agree that yes, you may want to drive a vehicle that you can feel comfortable driving your clients around in, I don’t think you need to go out of your comfort zone to have some vehicle that you can’t afford.
Obviously, your image is important. You should be concerned about how your clients perceive you. I did read once that being a real estate agent is in the top 10 career fields where your image is important. It is what it is. To me it’s more about what you project to your clients. Be confident in your work and you will do great!
Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.
– Dr. Joyce Brothers
Brooke Wolford is a real estate practitioner with Edina Realty, Hastings, Minn. Follow her blog at adventuresinrookierealestate.com.