A few weeks ago, I finally got rid of my car. It was a 1994 Honda but it only had 115,000 miles on it. As far as I could tell, it still had a lot of life left in it. Unfortunately, it didn’t look great. Rust was beginning to eat away at the body.
The pragmatic environmentalist in me told me to keep driving it despite the relatively high repair bills. After all, it is still cheaper to keep an old car on the road than it is to incur the great expense of purchasing a new car (or the expense of a late model used car). And from an environmental perspective, replacing a car means consuming all the raw materials required to create the new car.
As a professional service provider, however, I’m also aware of an important fact of life: image counts. People make snap judgments all the time based on what they see (often in the first 30 seconds of meeting you). While you can certainly overcome these first impressions through your words and actions, you are putting yourself at an unnecessary disadvantage when you don’t pay attention to your appearance.
Driving a nicer car is unlikely to directly result in more coaching business for me; but it certainly makes a better first impression if I happen to meet someone away from my office. And though I hate to admit it, I do feel a bit more confident showing up at client meetings in my newer car.