The reptilian part of our brain tells us to trust what we see more than any sense, and trust what one is wearing. I dare to bet with my last dollar that most of us, do judge people by their sense of dressing.
Part of being a successful sales professional is looking like one. The easiest way to convey an image of professionalism and success is through what you wear. Clothes can tell us a lot about one’s personality, taste and lifestyle.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying one should don the most expensive shirt, pants or even carry $10 000.00 handbag just to look the part. But as a sales professional, it’s easier to judge a prospect by what they are wearing than to dress in a way that is acceptable for everyone.
I cannot emphasize any more that all you get is one chance to make a good first impression and what you wear has a lot to do with the impression you create. With the modern day excessive casualness, it is easy to lose a sale, all because of what you are wearing.
Dressing appropriately impacts your credibility with prospects. If you’re going to err to one end of the scale or the other, err on the part of overdressing, but of course not the extreme.
I am sure you won’t wear a suit and tie or a dress and high heels if you are going into an industrial environment. On the other hand, I don’t believe you will wear cargo pants and a polo shirt if you’re pitching the senior management. Be smart about it.
So how do you know what is appropriate?
- Identify the location of the meeting
- Identify the attendees of the meeting
Sales professionals need to put in more effort in their attire compared to the average bear, but you can still get away with being casual as long as you’re not more casual than your prospect.
Rule of thumb is sales professionals should dress equally or slightly above what their prospect is wearing. Another rule is that you should dress like someone to whom your prospect would go to for advice. Either of these rules will keep you out of trouble.
Keep in mind that you can always dress down by removing a tie or jacket but you can’t dress up if your tie and jacket are still hanging up at home.
“Be fashionably visible, dress for success”