I wrote recently that I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions and I haven’t changed my mind in a week. If you do want an objective for the beginning of this year, then resolve to buy a new car. It might seem a little drastic, but your clients want to be associated with someone successful. For many years, I used to implore my father-in-law to buy a nice shiny new BMW that he had his eye on. He was in business in a small town and was always concerned that his clients would think he was charging too much if they saw him driving an expensive car. I believed the contrary was true – if they saw a businessman driving an expensive car, they would assume that he was running a successful business. When I had built my businesses up to the stage that I could afford a luxury car, I didn’t even consider any negative impacts associated with my clients. I went out and bought my first Lexus and I never lost a client because I was ‘charging too much’. I did lose one staff member but that is a story for another day. I believe that your clients would prefer to do business with someone who is successful rather than worried about your company going broke.
I have never seen a better example of people wanting to deal with successful people than at the recent Sydney Test match – the 100thcricket Test match to be played at the ground. Australia has a long and proud history in Test cricket – we have been playing the game for 135 years, having played in 735 of the 2028 Test matches played to date.
To be the captain of the Australian Test cricket team is often seen as a more prestigious job than being Prime Minister. Just like a Prime Minister, most captains stay on for many years – until they retire. Allan Border served for ten years through the eighties and nineties, Ricky Ponting served for eight years until stepping down last year. The current captain, Michael Clarke, is only the tenth captain since 1970. To put that in perspective, our current Prime Minister is our ninth leader since 1970.
I attended the Sydney Test match from 3-7 January in 2011 when Michael Clarke filled in for Ricky Ponting as captain, making his captaincy debut and becoming Australia’s 43rd Test captain. In what was almost surreal, Michael Clarke was booed when he led the team out. This was unbelievable for an Australian captain to be treated in this manner but it gave an indication of just how poor an image Clarke had with the Australian public. Our 389th Test player had a reputation for being involved with fast cars, faster women and the tattoos and earrings that showed he was not necessarily one for traditions. After leading Australia to a resounding defeat, his public image didn’t improve.
Once Ricky Ponting stood down as captain on 29 March 2011, Michael Clarke was appointed as the next captain of Australia - to mixed opinions. The results he achieved after his appointment were not enough to excite the public. His first seven matches officially in charge yielded only three wins. The first of the four match Test series between Australia and India started on Boxing Day 2011 and Clarke led the team to a surprising victory. I attended the Sydney Test match starting on 3 January 2012 and the general opinion of Clarke was still divided.
Suddenly, during the Test match, opinions changed. It was anything but subtle. Clarke’s team were well and truly on top in the match and Clarke himself scored a triple century. This was only the 25th triple century scored in the history of Test cricket. In what I saw as an amazing turn of events in only a year, the crowd was now chanting his name. Where just the year before the crowd booed, now I heard the chant of “Clark – eeee, Clark – eeee” ring out around the ground.
Only one thing had changed in that year. Clarke still had the tatts, the fast cars and the model girlfriend. The public forgot about all that. Clarke now had success. He was leading a Test team to victory and achieving personal success. Now he was popular.
It might be a slightly long way to get to my point, but your clients also want to see your business as successful. In the same way as the crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground wanted to be near the now successful captain, clients want to be involved with a successful business. When you win awards – tell the world about it. Make it obvious that your business is successful and will be here for years to come.
A great way to do that is to make sure you drive a modern car and replace it on a regular basis. If your clients see you arrive in a clapped out beaten up old car from the eighties they might start to question your financial viability. The last thing you want a client question is the finances of your business!
Tell me how old your car is at [email protected].