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The affect a salesman's appearance has on a prospect's attitude

How does a salesman's appearance affect a prospect's attitude towards him? - by Yankee Peddler
"You never get a second chance to make a good first impression". The prospect is going to size you up in the first 30 seconds, so your appearance, what you say, your hand shake, every thing the prospect experiences in those first 30 seconds are critical. - by Jim Klein
You go to a bank wanting to open an account with $30k.

a) You are approached by a banker who hasn't shaved, his hair is a mess, and it looks like his shirt has been balled up in a corner for two weeks.

b) You are approached by a banker who is clean shaven, fresh haircut and his clothes are freshly pressed.

Which of the two would you feel more comfortable giving your $30K to?

People like to deal with people who are proffessional. Especially when dealing with money. Not only do you give a bad impression with poor appearance, you also give them a bad impression of your company.

Rule of thumb: The customer should never be dressed better than you are. - by jrboyd
I remember walking into a furniture store with the intent of buying a leather sofa and chair (approx 3K). The sales person who approached me was wearing scuffed shoes, a suit from 1972, and a shirt with a frayed collar.

The first thought that ran through my head was, "How can this gut sell me three grand in furniture when he can't afford a decent shirt or new suit?"

Was it fair? Not necessarily. But...people make decisions in seconds. As Jim said you have 30 seconds to make a good first impression. I suspect that it's less than that, though. - by Kelley Robertson
It is relative to the profession isn't it. I would not expect a roofing contractor to show up wearing a 2000 dollar suit.If they did what image goes through your mind?

Image becomes a major factor with getting your foot in the door.Once inside that room it is the that are chosen that create a different image.Image can create the illusion of authority.

You must be neat clean,odorless and have a great smile to warm your client and choose your words wisely creating the image of a professional. - by rich34232
Great thread. Great responses from the guru's. The only thing I can add is that if you do wear a suit, I HIGHLY recommend investing in custom made suits and shirts. I'm not talking about the suits off the rack at Foley's or Men's Warehouse where the salesman says they your suite will be 'custom tailored'. I'm talking about going into a reputable little boutique and going through the process with a professional haberdasher to get every little part of your body measured so that what you get fits perfectly and, most importantly, comfortably.

After you've done all the measurements (which stay on file for future purchases), it is time to discuss the type and color of the fabric of the suit. A good haberdasher will ask you good questions about what and who you'll be talking too (almost sounds like a good salesperson doesn't it?) and make the proper recommendations. After this you'll do the same thing for shirts.

What you get is a perfect fitting wardrobe. The cuffs of your suit sleeves are perfectly aligned with the cuffs of your shirt, which is the perfect length of your arms. The shoulders of your suit matches the contours of your shoulders - likewise your back, your stomach, your butt, etc.

Now that you have a nice suit, don't spoil it with lousy shoes! Invest in some Allen Edmonds or something like that. Pretty comfortable, affordable, and great looking.

Yes it will cost money, but trust me, it is one of the BEST investments I've made in myself. I'm so glad I took my friends advice about getting a custom suit. It truly has paid off.

Scott Smeester
- by scottsmeester
You only get ONE chance to make a first impression in the corporate world - within the first six steps people will make a judgment about you, your product, your company and whether they are going to buy from you. People buy from confident, competent people. You would be surprised how much personal visual communication influences this decision. - by KTB_trainer
for me... I dress to impress - myself. It's like my uniform... my outfit that makes me feel like I"m here to do business. My power suit... make me feel like a million bucks!! When I put on my outfit I feel like a completely different and powerful person that can do my job very well... it just puts me in the right frame of mind. - by Andrea
As Rich says it's all relative to the profession.

I had to set up a team in the utilities industry recently and scuffing their shoes (and knees) always got a better result than a 'clean and tidy appearance'.

I once gave quite a large landscaping contract to the guy who turned up in overalls carrying a shovel over the previous guy who turned up with a suit and a laptop.

Confidence is the word. Which one did I have more confidence in to do the job right. In this instance there was no difficulty picking the right person for the job.

It's not always about power dressing. There are many factors to be taken into consideration. - by helisell
When it is time for work, I don't let my customers dress better than me. - by Polysquared
I rarely have to dress for the occasion as I work over the phone but I have to admit how you dress does make a difference in a big way!

Not just on the impression that you make but also to yourself! Dressing well gives you a different type of confidence! Its great! - by Neelam
I'm about the only insurance guy in Hawaii who wears a tie. The idea is that if you wear a suit, flashy clothes, expensive watches etc, you're flaunting the wealth you've screwed your clients out of, so tone it down. I've also been told that I wouldn't be able to sell the camp dwellers, wearing a suit and tie. Besides that, I was the wrong nationality to succeed.

I grew up a camp dweller. It's how you identify, not how you exemplify. Look around you as you walk through a construction site, as you go downtown. How many are in uniform? Construction, Maintenance, Police, Fire, Delivery, UPS, FedEx, Hooters... the list goes on...

I want my clients to KNOW that I respect them. I want my clients to KNOW I'm determined to do the best job I can for them. I want my clients to EXPECT that I'll live up to that badge of excellence they assign to those that work for them, and so I dress for that.

My car is always washed and usually polished. I don't wear gold chains, or a watch, or jewelry. I don't have tatoos, and I keep my hair trimmed. It's not that I condemn jewelry, it's just a throwback to my days of flying.

Aloha... :cool: - by rattus58
I prefer anyone who is selling me anything to be well dressed! Thjats just the way that I am I guess!

I suppose it depends what you buy though doesn't it?

Today for example I am quite chilled out in my attire - but I have no clients to see and am lucky enough to be office based - so out of sight ;bg - by Neelam
What a great thread!

The way in which people dress is extremely important. I don't think you need to be entirely groomed head to toe however if you look clean and smart - that's the most important thing. Even if I had to meet someone at a building site, I would still expect to see cleanliness and the attire to be newly washed etc. That may sound ridiculous, however if you know you are meeting a client that day you should make every effort to impress them - and not only through your proposal but how you look.

Also completely agree that it increases your confidence the way you dress. Today I am having to wear flip flops due me having an accident on my foot over the weekend, and I honestly feel that little less important and professional! Amazing what a little heel can do! : ) - by nard1
Haha for a woman it is true aboput the heels isn't it? I mean they totally make all the difference when you have to be professional!

Shame about your toe and hope it gets better soon ;bg - by Neelam
I will always have a hard time buying something from someone when they show up at my business wearing designer suits and driving a BMW. I can't afford a BMW and I don't want to contribute to someone else being able to afford one. All I expect is some nice slacks with a nice polo shirt or something like that. A tie is always nice but never a suit coat. Now this is just my opinion, but dress nice but don't over do it.

The guys with flashy, lifted, big tire, suped up brand new trucks are the worst. NEVER, EVER show up to my shop with a car like that.....unless you're buying from me that is!;bg Just don't expect me to buy from you. - by Thufir
I think you need to dress appropriately for the position you occupy and by appropriately I mean meeting the expectations of your employer and your clientele. Expectations and attitude often seem to go hand in hand.

There are general guidelines for what is considered professional attire in the workplace assuming the workplace mentioned is the same or similar to your own. The recommendation of "dress to blend not offend" looks right. - by sean006
Like it or not humans are judgment creature, we have to be to survive.

I would always say dress in the manner of your prospect, for example if you are selling to farmers dress like a farmer would dress, if you are seeling to business people dress and talk the way a business person dresses and talks.

Sometimes it is not as cut and dry like that, for example I used to do door to door sales and in home home you could be dealing with a truck driver the next could be an account, etc we had to wear a tie as part of the uniform and when I entered a trucker drivers home for example I would take the tire off, saying something like, 'Jim you don't mind if i take this off do you, my boss makes me wear it but i think it looks silly' or something along those lines to relate and be like the prospect.

I found this worked for me really well. However it is not always about how your dress, that way you talk and the language you use is very important also. - by Smile
Ths salesman who's appearance is one of confidence and knowledge combined with a friendly demeanor and willingness to ask questions relevant to my needs and wants will always get my attention over the salesman who appears slovenly in confidence, knowledge and ability combined with an unfriendly demeanor and unwillingness to ask the right questions.

Outer garb shows an inner clarity and order that dresses well when doing business.

MitchM - by MitchM
When I had my plumbing business I worked with a contractor who sold very high end homes one million and up. He hand crafted his own cabinets and trim for the home from his wood shop. He participated with the construction of the home he was not just the general contractor. His homes are quality in every aspect and no short cuts to save money. He had the best sub contractors and made sure each sub paid their bills.

I never saw this man out of a flannel shirt and jeans and that is how he sold his homes.

The best dressed contractor I worked for sold cookie cutter homes and he was always in a suit and drove his Mercedes to the job site to meet clients and subs. He was the only contractor that asked each sub on each home to knock off one hundred bucks off the bill. He was slick and fast. He could talk a person into giving him a quarter for a dime.

Impressions and perceptions lead to many things done for the right reasons they are fantastic.
- by rich34232
Of course appearance is important as it creates a perception - either, positive, negative, or indifferent. Obviously, we want to be perceived as positively as possible by those we are selling to. It helps people feel good about interacting with us. The key is making sure we dress/appear appropriate for the brand we represent and the customer segment we are interacting with. - by Neil Porter
There is an aspect here that - except for Andrea's contribution - has been overlooked: The way I dress affects my attitude and the way I present myself. And that probably has more affect upon the buyer's perception of me than anything else. - by DaveB
This is a great point Dave.

This point goes a long way toward explaining success in general and in sales ... i.e, the power of having a positive attitude and doing things that give us a positive attitude.

The basics of which are, getting enough sleep, exercising daily whenever possible, taking care to have a healthy diet
, and taking care about our relationships with others.

Sometimes we lose track of these basics. - by Neil Porter
I think the right word is appropriate. If you are selling to merchant banks, you had better be wearing a well-fitted suit, shiny shoes and look the part. I work in technology and many of my customers, even at CxO level, never wear a tie and often wear jeans. Likewise I've done a lot of business in Scandanavia where again ties are a rarity. So visiting those customers I may go without a tie... but will still be in a smart suit, or jacket and trousers.
As a previous reply said, you should always be at least as smart as the person you are visiting... and I would add to that if unsure then err on the safe side.
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Onward & upward
Mark - by markg
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