Does the car you drive matter in small business?

A couple of months ago I had a business meeting with someone that was trying to sell me on a project; I met them at a restaurant that they picked.  They pulled up in an old Toyota that was badly in need of a wash, and the bumper was dented and had paint marks all over it.  Does this matter?  I think that it does.  Everything about you matters when it comes to business; from the way you dress to the car you are driving.

Think about it; you are trying to sell a potential client on your company, and as the owner you are representing that company; you are that company in their eyes.  If you pull up in an old dented up, dirty car, what does that say about you?  Nothing good; it says you are unorganized and that your image is not important to you (or your clients) and that attention to detail is not a priority.  On the other hand if you show up in a Lexus that is clean and waxed it speaks volumes about you as a person and about your business.  It says you care about your image, that you are the type of person that wants the best; it’s not just about the car you drive; it’s about how you dress, the type of shoes that you wear, how you present yourself as an overall package; it is how you and your business will be judged. This isn’t about vanity or having more money than the average person; it is about your image as a person, a person that is representing a company that is trying to win the business of others and in their eyes what they see is what they get.  It is true when they say you only get a first impression once; and while that may be an old adage it has remained true with the passage of time and I’m guessing that it always will.