This week’s sales question, submitted to my website, is from Ken in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
“Should I put my company name and information on my vehicle?”
Great question, but my answer often surprises people. If you have heard me speak or followed my blog, you have heard me say that the biggest problem most solopreneurs have is that no one knows that you exist. A lack of visibility means that prospects don’t even know that you are an option for them to use, so increasing the visibility of your business is important for sales growth. You might expect that my answer would be “Go for it!” But…it isn’t. My answer, in this case, is “It depends on your driving.” When I deliver this answer in person, my clients look at me strangely and seem to wait for the punchline of a joke they are not quite getting. No joke – but I want them to consider that they have to change their thinking when their business name is on their vehicle.
When you deck your vehicle out with your company name and brand, you have created a rolling billboard that announces your presence everywhere you go. It also announces your presence when you speed, drive aggressively or get pulled over by the police. When you drive like a jerk, it is your company image that takes a hit. Let me give you a couple of examples that I see quite often. We have a local landscape company that has maybe five or six trucks, all nicely wrapped, sporting their logo, website and phone number, and they look great. However, there are a couple of things I have noticed about the company that hurt my perception of their business. The first is that all of their trucks are lifted, four wheel drive, diesel trucks that have top exhaust stacks that make them loud and, at times, can push out great big clouds of black smoke. I understand why you need a large truck to haul heavy equipment, but the top exhaust makes them very loud. Now, being a car guy, I don’t mind loud cars and trucks, but I can tell you that the majority of my neighbors are not fans. I remember sitting in a homeowners meeting when we were discussing hiring a new landscaping company to look after the common areas of the community, and when that company’s name came up as an option, no one talked about their landscaping ability. Instead, people just talked about the noisy, black smoke spewing trucks they had seen all around town.
Another example is a lawyer I used to work with and had his SUV tastefully branded, and it looked great. The only problem was he was an incredibly impatient driver. His habit of weaving in and out of traffic, using the HOV lanes, running yellow lights and getting pulled over for speeding got him a dubious reputation within the community. When the city installed HOV lanes, I remember a picture on the local community news website, under the title “RCMP Crackdown on HOV Cheaters,” was a picture of this branded SUV pulled over by police I suggested to him that he should either remove the branding or trade vehicles with his wife.
I have another client who loves the fact that prospects often remark that they have seen her car parked around town, and that is the reason they thought to call her. It has also made her realize that in today’s connected world, it is very easy for someone to post a picture on Facebook of her car illegally parked or cutting someone off in traffic.
Bottom line, Ken, is that putting your name on your vehicle can raise your visibility in your local community. Just remember that visibility can also hurt your business if you are not careful.