Tesla Model S Review For Commercial Real Estate
Since June 2012 Tesla has produced about 300,000 vehicles in its Fremont, CA factory. Back in early 2013 I made the bold decision (for me) to purchase a top of the line Tesla Model S. My car was vehicle number 12,755. What have I learned as an early Tesla adopter and owner over the last five years? What does it mean to you as a commercial real estate professional? Read below to hear about my experiences and discover how the Tesla business model could help shape your approach to sales, marketing, client service and more.
Take away: I’m just as excited today about my Model S as I was when I first got it more than 5 years ago. Tesla does a great job staying in touch to maintain customer enthusiasm.
Tesla buying experience
How do you get people to care more about your opportunity than the competition’s? It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to attract tenants, buyers, investors or whatever. Your service has to be different/better than the alternative. Creating this level of differentiation is really hard. Tesla has been able to introduce new products in a mature market with fanfare and acclaim. It has done so with some pretty radical approaches.
One of the biggest departures from the traditional car buying experience is the fact that Tesla does not have car lots. Since their vehicles are built on-demand (for the most part) it’s not necessary to maintain a huge inventory. Instead, they can exhibit their cars in high-trafficked locations like shopping malls. I have two showroom locations near my house in Southern California. Both are in malls, and both are almost always busy.
If you’re serious about a Tesla then you schedule a test drive. They keep test vehicles in the parking lot of the mall for just such an occasion. Warning: if you drive one – you will want one. The acceleration is so incredible and the handling so refined that nothing else will compare.
I am by no means a car guy. In fact I’ve only owned four vehicles during my entire life. About every ten years I immerse myself in automotive research in order to pick my next long term mode of transportation. Tesla’s focus on technology and the experience of driving the car hooked me. The clincher for me was the way I actually bought the car. There was no high-pressure strategy. At my convenience I could visit their website and order one. Order a car online! To me, this is what the car buying experience should be.
Take away: Make your listing, product or service offering fun to discover and easy to fully engage with. People will pay a premium for simplicity and convenience.
Charging your car
The Model S runs entirely on battery power. There is no internal combustion engine, and subsequently no need for gas. The battery has to be charged regularly, and has a range of about 250 miles on a full charge. The newer versions have even greater range. You could charge your car for free using Tesla’s Superchargers. According to the Tesla website there are curently 1,130 stations with 8,496 available plugs. This nationwide network is available to all Tesla owners for free. However, new owners must purchase their vehicles through the Tesla owner referral program to obtain this benefit (see more below). Otherwise your charging capacity at these public facilities is limited.
You can also charge your car at home. It’s sort of like having your own gas pump. Each night you plug in your vehicle just like you’d plug in your phone. You can specify the time of day that charging should commence in order to take advantage of special off-peak incentives provided by power companies. You wake up every day with a full “tank”. Below is an example of how I charge at home.
Take away: Your relationship with a client doesn’t end with the sale. Invest in growing your support capacity to improve ongoing satisfaction and promote future business.
The screen – wow
One the most amazing innovations with the interior of the Model S is the giant touchscreen located in the middle of the dash called the Media Control Unit. This is the command center of the car featuring access to navigation, music, phone and a variety of settings. It’s all made possible through an always-on, no-cost Internet connection. This connection is also used to stream periodic updates to the Model S operating system.
One of my favorite features is the mobile web browser. You can use this to run your favorite web-based apps that support a touchscreen. Our ClientLook commercial real estate CRM software works great and is Tesla compatible. Your car becomes a very capable mobile office. When paired with your phone, a Model S provides everything you need to work at peak efficiency from anywhere.
Take away: Integration and adoption are the most important factors for your product or service. Find ways to enable your customers to do more.
I am a DJ
Let’s say you’re on a property tour with a Tesla full of clients. You can set the mood with the right music without taking your hands off the wheel. Just say the name of a song and/or artist to stream music through the always-on Internet connection. This is the sort of feature that never gets old. Among other things, it’s great for finding that needle-in-a-haystack song that always seems to pop into my head while driving.
There may have been predecessors, but I remember using this feature long before voice recognition services like Alexa and Siri were prevalent. I realize this music streaming doesn’t have any direct business correlation or benefit, but it sure is cool.
Take away: Create an “experience” through your service and find ways to rethink workflows for the sake of convenience, efficiency and even novelty. People will love it.
Interior made for touring
I’m a pretty big guy at 6’4″ and about 220 lbs. I don’t fit comfortably in most vehicles. One of the comfort tests I give any new vehicle is to adjust the driver’s seat for my height, then attempt to sit behind that seat. Most of the time I’m mildly uncomfortable at best. In the Model S I was fine.
I remember from my brokerage days that property tours always seemed to go better when we were traveling around in a big vehicle. This usually meant a giant Chevy Suburban or even a Hummer. The Model S allows you to travel in sedan style without compromising space. The interior is spacious and bright (due to the panoramic glass roof) and definitely conducive to creating a highly professional client-friendly environment.
Take away: You don’t need to drive some kind of land yacht to have room for transporting clients. The Tesla Model S even accommodates big guys like me.
This is what service should be
Obtaining service for a Tesla is a much different experience than past internal combustion engine cars that I’ve owned. First of all, the frequency of service is minimal – and even optional. I take my Model S in once a year to get an inspection. It’s a flat fee, and any issues are resolved under the 8-year warranty that I have. Their service centers are clean, well staffed and even fun to visit. I could spend hours watching the parade of different styles and colors of Teslas.
When I drop off my car, I’m given a Tesla loaner to drive for the time required for the service. During my last visit I was given a Model X, which is the newer Tesla SUV. It’s an amazing vehicle with its own set of unique attributes. It had the self-driving features, which my 2013 model does not have due to the lack of required sensors. The experience left me strongly considering an upgrade, but I think that’s part of Tesla’s strategy.
Last year the 12V battery that is used to power some of the minor systems in my car lost its charge. Tesla sent out a Ranger (remote service technician) to replace it for free. They offer lots of options for at-home service like this, which is really convenient. Their level of quality service, and the implication that they value my time, is unique.
Want a Tesla?
If you are interested in purchasing a Tesla Model S or Model X, then you want to get a referral code from an existing owner. Doing so gets you some great discounts including:
- $500 credit towards service or accessories.
- Unlimited Supercharging. You get capped otherwise.
Each current Tesla owner has a code that works for up to five (5) people. I’ll provide my code below (valid until April 30, 2018) on a first come, first served basis.
My referral code: http://ts.la/michael3379
I’d love to hear from you if you’re a Tesla enthusiast. If you’re considering a purchase, then let me know if you have any questions. Tesla owners love to talk about their cars – and even write entire blog posts about their experience.
More to come
I attended a recent meeting hosted by Tesla for their vehicle owners in Orange County. The presentation described Tesla’s ecosystem that included transportation, solar power and battery storage. They described their ability (today) to enable a household to generate its own electricity, store that electricity for non-sunlight hours, and use that power to fuel its need for electricity and transportation. It was really appealing to me in a utopian kind of way.
That presentation taught me the value of offering a suite of services and how valuable customers are for repeat business. What other services or products could you offer your past clients? Provided that you maintain quality ongoing relationships then you have tremendous opportunities to expand your business.
Today’s lineup of Tesla vehicles includes the Model S, Model X and Model 3. Their new self-driving capability leads the market and is certainly the future of transportation. While other car companies are rapidly creating their own electric supercars, Tesla has a solid lead. I believe their dedication to innovation in solar power and battery storage along with their devotion to renewable energy is key. What does this mean to you and me? Rather than be pretty good at a lot of stuff, develop the expertise to be the best at one thing. It’s a strategy I have employed at ClientLook through our partnerships and integrations, and it has been tremendously beneficial for us and our subscribers.