Appropriately to Sell Effectively
Over the past
casual attire has become more commonplace. A large number of
companies in the corporate world have changed their dress codes
and now allow employees to either dress down for “casual Fridays”
or as part of their standard dress code. Many companies see this
as an added perk
that they can offer their employees. It doesn’t cost anything and
it helps boost
employee morale. Some industries, like high technology, pioneered
the use of business casual although the practice in high tech can
sometimes be taken to the extreme.
can be a very good thing but, for sales
professionals, it can also be a big stumbling block. Simply
put, many sales professionals fail in representing a professional
image by adapting to the casual business dress of their clients.
Just because an office environment is laid back and employees walk
around in shorts and Hawaiian shirts does not give you, as a sales
rep, license to do the same. Granted, if you’ve known a client
for years and have a long-standing relationship, you do have some
leeway. However, when visiting a prospect or a new customer who
is just getting to know you, always dress the part.
What does this
mean? For women, a professional outfit – a pant suits, nice blouse
and skirt or some other type of appropriate
business outfit. Think about what would be appropriate for a
meeting with a Fortune 500 CEO. The same goes for men. Wear
a nice suit and tie or, at a minimum, a coat and tie. Personally,
I prefer suits as they convey a more dressed up and professional
image. If you just don’t have fashion sense, ask a family member
or a good friend to help out.
what you don’t want to do is send the wrong message to a prospective
professional, you are asking a prospective client to make
a change. This may involve changing how they do business,
they way the manage their employees, the systems they use, the
suppliers they utilize, etc. By dressing professionally, you represent
an authoritative agent of change – one who should be taken seriously.
You stand out from others in the company
dressing in a professional manner, you reinforce
your credibility. This credibility will apply to the recommendations
you make as well as to any subsequent negotiations you may encounter.
It’s hard for a Fortune 500 executive to take seriously a sloppy
and shoddily dressed sales “professional”.
and your boss have been talking about your important sales
appointment with MegaTelCo. He’s been riding you about it
for weeks. Today’s the big day and the boss just saw you walk
out of the office in a pair of khakis and a polo shirt. This
is the way you make a big first
impression? Well, you just made an impression on your boss!?
want to feel important and that you are taking them seriously.
That is exactly
the message you will convey to a prospective client by dressing
any other meetings
planned? If you dress down to “fit in” at one company, you
may not be able to conscientiously set foot in another company’s
offices. Dress up and you can make as many visits as you’d like
without worrying about the appropriate attire.
of these points the next time you are preparing for a meeting with
client. If you’re not dressing up for your initial meetings,
you may be walking away from money on the table. Even if you think
you’re going to feel more comfortable by dressing like your prospect,
resist the urge and dress the part of a professional sales person.
It will reflect in your performance.