Appropriately to Sell Effectively
the past decade, business 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.
casual 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.
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 business 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
what you don’t want to do is send the wrong message to a prospective client.
a sales 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 professionally.
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.
all of these points the next time you are preparing for a meeting with a prospective
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.