The Shiny Hood

When I was younger, I did everything I could to make money. One of those things was detailing cars. My uncle spent some time teaching me how to how to detail a car the proper way – and shared some advice that I use to this day.

When we got done with our first car, we stepped back proudly and admired our work. I threw the towel on the hood and watched it slide off effortlessly. I turned to him and said “Now THAT’S one shiny hood!”

He chuckled, then said “Notice how after spending hours on the tires, interior, cleaning the vents with q-tips, shampooing the carpets…your satisfaction came from the shiny hood? That is what virtually everyone does when they get their car back from a detailer. If the hood looks perfect, they’re happy. If it’s not, it doesn’t matter how good the rest of the car is, you’re sunk. ALWAYS get the hood perfect.”

I take this lesson to my business efforts today. When in business, we typically have many things going on behind the scenes that our clients don’t know about. In the case of the SMS Masterminds, we have servers, programmers, security, consultants, lead generation, taxes, bank accounts, and more. But what do our clients see? Their points of interaction with us are their “shiny hood” – the bases for which our value is judged. The way we answer the phone, how promptly we respond to an email, the quality of our materials – these are the things that will make or break us, in spite of how good we are ‘behind the scenes’.

This philosophy relates to consumers as well. They don’t care how hard you work at your desk, you will be judged by the quality of your presentation, and poor presentations make a lasting impression. This is evident when you see a new technology company emerge with an exceptional new widget, but it never takes off because the public can’t relate to it. No ‘shiny  hood’.

Perception is paramount, identify your key contact points with your clients and invest in your presentation, it can make-or-break your business.


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