BMW = Success?

May 3, 2008

  1. Guest
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    Been gone for 3 weeks... helping my 80+ mother in Florida recover from a heart attack. I'm back in CA now and my mother is doing very well. I thank all of you for the many PMs I got expressing kind thoughts.

    An agent friend of mine brought up an interesting point the other day. He looked at the car I drive and said "No one is going to buy financial products from you if you pull up to their home or office in THAT!"

    I drive a (paid for) 2004 Honda Civic EX... clean, no dents, etc... not a junker. But it got me thinking. Do you think people REALLY judge you by what you drive (assuming you're not driving up in a beater)?

    I can afford any car out there... but I'm practical, I'm not a "car guy," and the Civic fills my need to get from point A to B comfortably and economically.

    All things being equal do you think agents should drive luxury cars? I notice that I NEVER see another agent (health, life, DI, whatever) driving a Honda Civic. Out here BMW is the vehicle of choice for agents, if you believe my unscientific study of the parking lot when some carrier is having a road-show.

    Do you think high net-worth people really care what their agent drives (so long as it is clean and presentable)?

    Al
     
    Guest, May 3, 2008
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  2. LGilmore
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    LGilmore Guru

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    "But it got me thinking. Do you think people REALLY judge you by what you drive (assuming you're not driving up in a beater)?"

    Only the stupid ones.

    A car is the worst possible example of financial waste out there. Anything that loses half it's value with a first turn of the key is simply dumb. However, that said, are you trying to make sales or smarter clients? You can be absolutely correct mathmatically and not make any sales.
     
  3. Charpress
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    Try negotiating a really tight, 2 year lease on a BMW. They hold their value which equals very favorable lease prices. Full service for four years --including oil changes, wiper blades, whatever. Same sticker price on a BMW leases for half the cost of a certain line of American luxury cars that lost billions this quarter.

    As for what people think, who cares? You're now driving a car that will make you wonder why you ever drove anything else. Unless, of course, you're not a car person.
     
  4. Agent4Life
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    I agree with LGilmore...

    A new $50,000 BMW will loose value the second you drive it off the lot; and it won't take you back and forth between appointments any more effectively than a $20,000 Honda.

    If your only reason for considering the purchase of a high-end luxury vehicle is the "perception" of success it may create to your prospective Clients I don't know that that is a good enough reason.

    I too can "afford" to drive any car on the market today (well, just about any), but I drive a 2007 4-CYL Honda Accord. It's certainly not a BMW, but it's great on gas, it has a nice navigation system, and it has all of the upgraded bells and whistles that a Professional might want in a vehicle.

    I mean - as Agents, we have to have cars that are reliable and in tip-top condition, and we certainly don't want to drive up to a Client's home or office in something that screams "Please buy from me - I need this sale!", but as an Agent who is selling financial products and trying to educate my Clients on ways to save, invest and protect money - I think it helps to convey that I myself am conscientious of my own spending habits in how and where I choose to invest my own money. And we all know that anything that automatically losses value right after you buy it is certainly not an investment. Of course your high net-worth Clients aren't going to think twice about you driving a high-end luxury vehicle, but I have heard a couple of Agents say that they were "judged" negatively by prospective Clients who were turned-off when they drove up in their BMWs or Mercedes b/c as we all know, there is that segment of people out there who think we all sell snake oil and get rich off of the premiums of those struggling just to make ends meet. So again, the perception that is created by that brand new luxury vehicle will depend on whose looking.

    Now, all that being said - I have nothing against BMWs or Mercedes. They are awesome cars. I have owned a BMW before and I'll probably own one again before its all said and done; but I probably will not drive it to any of my appointments b/c the Honda is sooo much better on gas.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2008
  5. LGilmore
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    besides what I drive pulls my boat... That usually takes care of it. They are more interested in my boat and where I go then what I drove up in....

    Of course, I could have a nicer ride, just wouldn't have the boat. Two things for the price of one....
     
  6. senior-advisor-indiana
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    I drive a scooter(1991). Most of these senior feel sorry for me and get their checkbooks out as soon as they see me pull in.
     
  7. midwestbroker
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    I drove a 1991 Mazda Protege for the last 3 years (I now have a Nissan Maxima, 1998). I never lost a sale due to my car. The only reason I don't drive it is I got a really good deal on the maxima from a friend.

    I kept the Mazda clean and it still shined really well if I waxed it, to where you never knew it was 15+ years old.

    My highest net worth client (CEO of a local bank chain) drove a 5+ year old Lincoln.

    BMW = Big Money Waster Mind you I think the M3 is a hell of a car, but for the money, get a vette.
     
  8. djs
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    djs Super Moderator Moderator

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    A lot depends on the area you are in. I drive a Jaguar, and it gets noticed, people think that I'm successful based on the car. of course, if I get out and I'm in tennis shoes and a t-shirt, it doesn't do any good.

    I know people who drive Prius's for the 'green-value', which give a practical impression to clients.

    I think if you are in more rural areas, this could work against you.

    My jaguar is a 2000 S-Type, looks new, but it's actually a pretty practical car. I would drive anything that looks clean without worrying about it much. Very few clients see your car.

    Dan
     
    djs, May 4, 2008
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  9. Zydo
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    We have a broker with Wachovia Securities who's book of business is probably 10 times the next best within a 50 miles radius. Obviously, he's very successful. He drives a late model Accord. Hasn't hurt his business.

    Of course, he also has a King Air.
     
    Zydo, May 4, 2008
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  10. GreenSky
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    Maybe he drives an Accord because unlike some people, he can't afford any car out there...

    Rick
     
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