We’ve all seen the commercial of the beautiful car, adorned with a big red bow, delivered on Christmas morning.
Lexus has had success with its “December to Remember” campaign, a series of television, radio and print ads that market a Lexus as the perfect gift. The basic concept involves a man surprising his wife with a brand new car. The scene usually takes place in the driveway of a nice-looking suburban home in a neighborhood where one may expect to find a Lexus parked in the driveway.
Why are these commercials so popular? One reason is because they have an element of fantasy, which resonates with the viewer, whether or not they can afford a new luxury vehicle.
Reality vs. Fantasy
The concept of a new luxury car as a gift for Christmas is far-fetched for most.
In my world, as Christmas presents go, a Lexus is not high on my list. In fact, it never makes the list. For starters, it does not fit under my Christmas tree. Second, it is a huge financial investment! The least expensive price tag for a Lexus lands around $35,000.
Yet despite those, I see one obvious teachable moment with this scenario.
The Importance of Communication
Have you ever been in a meeting and felt like others were dismissing your opinions and feedback? Or have you felt like you can’t get your point across when telling someone how you feel in a conversation? One of the main reasons we don’t feel respected at work or at home, as in any other setting, is a lack of respectful communication.
Back to the aforementioned commercial. Communication around finances is key for creating and sustaining wins for both people in a relationship. Security and trust are of utmost importance, so when the focus of a relationship is on it’s ability to make big decisions together, it can lead to a stronger and longer-lasting bond.
The goal is to master communication and have a clear road map of how you both want to spend your money to create positive outcomes with every big purchase, such as a new car or home.
My friend Tracy Kline, a fellow mortgage advisor, made a good point: “Purchasing a home is one of the largest financial decisions that most of us will make. Having conversations about money are pivotal to being prepared to make this choice but it starts with small steps. Can you talk about your financial goals?”
To communicate effectively, you have to know what you want and take ownership of your needs. Moreover, asking the hard questions is crucial: Do you need a new car? Can you afford a new car? What is your existing debt? Have you started a college fund for your child? Is your job secure?
Here are the 5 C’s of effective communication:
Be Clear. Before communicating with your partner, know what you want and need from the other person. Do you feel disrespected when your spouse makes a big purchase without consulting with you first? Are your values being honored? It’s the responsibility of both people to initiate the tough conversation.
Be Concise. Be direct and to the point. Try your best to not to get caught up in the story but rather focus on getting your point across in the most succinct manner. The conversation may stagnate if you bring up the irrelevant, minutia details.
Be Credible. Credibility correlates directly to another essential aspect of respect and honor, which is trust. If your partner does not find you credible, they won’t trust you, and it will be harder to make a compelling statement. If you’re upset that your partner bought a new Canon camera without your consent, it’s important to self-reflect to ensure that you have not done something similar.
Be Compelling. In order to motivate your partner to consult with you before making a big purchase, you must compel them to not only listen to you, but also react in a positive manner as a result of hearing your message. This would be identified as pathos: displaying passion, purpose and emotion.
Be Compassionate. Try to understand the other person. Listen with intent, and put your own needs aside as they talk. When a person feels like they’re being heard, they tend to open up more and feel safer and more secure in the conversation, which can lead to a more trusting relationship.
Having the ability to understand, recognize and appreciate the way others feel is crucial to resolving conflict, managing change and making tough decisions. Strive to negotiate a win for both parties by taking the other person’s perspective and feelings into consideration.
Bottom line: If you both want a Lexus, and can easily afford one, then by all means – put the red ribbon on the car! Just talk about it first.
Thanks for reading!