b-LOG: Know Your Audience and Dress the Part
Recently, an otherwise routine office meeting turned more interesting when the discussion turned toward proper attire for people in their work environment (not including creepy clown costumes). Now being the somewhat intelligent person that I am, I steered way clear of it and didn’t even open my mouth. At the end of the day, it seemed like a pretty hot topic that had both men and women divided, and on various sides of the fence. The conversation revolved around what everyone felt was appropriate attire for someone to wear during both working and personal hours. There is work attire, there is non working attire and then there is attire that crosses over, meaning non-working attire worn at work and vice versa.
This blog is based on the employee (real estate salesperson in this instance) understanding what their job is and what their client expects of them. The purchase or sale of a home is quite likely the biggest financial asset that a person can make. Therefore one of the fundamental roles of the salesperson is to instill confidence in the seller. How would you like the representative of your biggest financial asset to present themselves?
Suppose you were listing your $500,000 home for sale and you were interviewing REALTORS®. Let’s assume that all of the agents arrived on time, had similar sales experience, similar sales records and similar presentations. REALTOR #1 wore jeans, running shoes, a t-shirt and had 5 o’clock shadow on his face. REALTOR #2 had her belly button visible and pierced and was chewing gum. REALTOR® #3 was groomed tidy, wore a button down shirt and dress pants. REALTOR® #4 wore a dress jacket with matching pants and simple high-heeled shoes.
Who gets the gig?
Someone is bound to go for both #1 and #2 but you can bet the farm that #3 and #4 are getting the majority of the business. In Real Estate sales, or in any situation where a representative is needed, people choose their salesperson based on the confidence that the person has the right knowledge and skill to achieve the best results. I’m not saying that agents #1 and #2 don’t have the skills. What they likely don’t have is the confidence from the client based solely on how they present themselves.
In 1975 John T. Malloy wrote the bestseller entitled “Dress for Success”. In his book he sites the mystical powers of how your choice of clothing makes you feel inside in terms of confidence which ends up showing outward in your interaction with others. Consider this in terms of a wedding day, graduation or special ceremony. Getting prepared and dressed, on a day when all eyes are on you, made you feel a certain way and put you in the absolute right frame of mind for the task at hand.
For the days and times when you are working, putting on traditional “business” attire will only help boost your confidence and increase your feeling of being dressed appropriate for what you have to do. For me, when I don’t have any face to face meetings with clients (which is rare) I like to wear jeans to the office. Just by putting jeans on my stress level lowers and I am able to relax quite a bit.
You know what else lowers? My level of professionalism.
The mythical powers of my jeans puts me in such a state of zen that I sometimes speak and act in a manner that is not completely appropriate for what I do. As comfortable, relaxed and as confident as my jeans allow me to feel, they prohibit me from being at my most effective at work.
First impressions are lasting, and in the situation mentioned earlier in this blog you may only get to make a single contact with a client. As a salesperson (or in any role where you are face to face with a potential client), you have to ensure that this initial contact is appropriate from the clients perspective. I like wearing t-shirts and jeans as much as anyone but if I am going to visit a client for anything involving “work” I’m going to look the part. That is, someone who looks, acts, dresses, and behaves like the person capable of selling their home.
As always, thank-you for visiting.
Fancy dressed member of THEbTEAM