I think it all started when I saw those west coast kids driving up and down the Pacific Coast Highway in their little English sports cars. Lots of them drove Triumph TR3 or Austin Healey convertables, but my ride of choice was the MGA (see pictured). I ended up buying two of them, one right after the other, and both needed significant work.
Many years ago, in a land far away (well, Ohio) I started what one might call a life-long binge. No, it wasn’t ice cream or hamburgers or Pepsi. It was buying cars.
I remember how proud I was driving over to my then girlfriend and current wife’s house to pick her up for a date. I had insured that the car got painted before introducing “her” to my other her but much of the restoration work remained undone. I expected some praise for my investment savvy in buying a classic. Instead my human lady called my rolling lady “cardboard and rust”. Maybe she was right. After all the leather covered door panels did almost fall off during our first drive.
As time went on, I moved from little English cars to American “muscle cars”. My first was a Mustang fastback with a four speed on the floor. If you don’t know what that means, you’re obviously a “youngster”. I then moved into my Pontiac Firebird phase. My pride and joy ended up being a bronze colored Trans-Am with a gold bird painted on the hood. It was fast as greased lightening to be sure.
After seeing the gleam in my eye, however, the salesman convinced me that the fact it had no air conditioning was somehow a good thing. You see, he told me that the cooling function cut into the raw horsepower of the beast and no self-respecting muscle car owner would abide that. He also pointed out that I was saving a good bit of money. That was the hottest and most uncomfortable couple of summers in my life.
As I got older my attention turned back to Europe and the great machines out of Germany. Much as with my encounter with my Pontiac salesman, my first buying experience of more upscale product line was ultimately not very pleasant. You see when I asked about leather interior, which I thought to be standard on that type of car, the salesman at that dealership managed to convince me that the car would outlast the upholstery and therefor make resale more difficult. Anyway, he continued, who would want to add the exorbitant cost to upgrade to leather onto an already hefty bottom line.
I’m guessing you see where I’m going here. I bought my first couple of MGAs for a few hundred dollars but both needed so much work I broke the bank to bring them up to any reasonable state of repair. My decisions to listen to the two salesmen and save a few bucks backfired and I lost my shirt on the resale of those two cars. Bottom line of course is the old “you get what you pay for”. There is, as they say, the cost of a product or service and then there is the value.
I was so smitten with those darned cars that I listened to the cost argument and didn’t think through the value proposition. The good news is that I’ve changed now and really try to focus on value. I’m proud to say that my wife will even let me visit the German car dealership by myself now (I think).
So here at ACUMEN we try to price our products and services appropriately but more importantly work hard to create and illustrate value. We’re always prepared to live up to that “go to market” approach and are looking for folks like me who have been burned in the past by unscrupulous sales persons. We live by our credo, Integrity, Intensity, Energy, and Focus. Integrity being the first item on our sales teams lists. We invite you to reach out to us to talk about it. And, hey, I’m even getting to work with another classic German brand, SAP Business One, their “muscle car.