Being dressed to sell is more important than you may think.
During a training course earlier this year the question of what to wear when selling arose, and it is a fair question.
The conservative may say always be in a suit whilst the more confident may say dress whatever is comfortable, after all it works for Sir Richard Branson!
Let’s delve a little deeper. Being correctly dressed to sell is about several things:
- Making a professional impression
- Being respectful
- Being remembered
- Making a connection with the customer
Think about your customer:
- How well do you know them?
- What will the environment be when/where you meet?
- Are there cultural differences?
- Are there age differences?
- What are you selling?
Back in the ’90s there was a 99.9% chance that the person or people you were likely to meet in a B2B role were in shirt and tie, if not a suit, and in a B2C role they were likely to be smart-casual but the sales person was expected to be in a suit. These days this has changed. In a B2B role the customer being in a shirt and tie is more likely to be 60% or so and a B2C role they are still in smart-casual, with probably less emphasis on the smart. so, how is the savvy sales person supposed to be dressed to sell?
If you are confident with the customer and know the likely environment smart-casual may well work but the emphasis is definitely on the SMART. For example, clean shoes are essential.
Just today I was at a business networking meeting. One delegate stood to speak and though in a suit it was scruffy and his shoes heavily scuffed. Was I listening to him or fixated on his appearance… You guess! Another delegate was in a smart shirt and trousers. I did not give his appearance a second look but I did listen to his every word!
Recently I visited a gentlemens’ outfitters, not to buy but to sell my services. It was a blisteringly hot day but, given the client I wore a summer suit and tie. The following day I visited an industrial services client on the same mission, this time I wore smart shirt and trousers, no tie as I knew the client and knew he would be dressed the same way. Were I to turn-up in a suit it would have been okay but I would have been like every other sales rep that was knocking on his door. I secured the business in both cases.
There is a saying that I learned a very long time ago:
“Salesmen are like policemen. They all look the same, they all dress the same and they all say the same things.”
What makes the difference is being remembered by the client… for the right reasons and being dressed to sell is a key part in this.
Do some research if possible but, if in doubt, go conservative… You never know what sort of day the client has had prior to you arriving.
At venture training we can provide help on making sure that you are remembered for the right reasons.