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Look too young? Any Suggestions?

Okay I am in swimming pool sales in Texas. I started my business a few years back and have been doing fairly well. Here is my problem. I am 29 which is not overly young BUT I look a lot younger. As far as personal presentation here goes: I am there on time, pressed clothes heck even my vehicle is spotless. I sell enough to meet my overhead and a little extra but I feel like I am losing the big ticket pools because of this. Am I crazy? - by jvoyles
I don't know anything about swimming pool sales or how young you look but I have seen many salespeople from various industries ask this same question. I've also seen the opposite, "I'm too old". In general, more likely than not the challenge is yours alone. Chances are good that your perception is the culprit not your customers. - by Liberty
How to look older:

Squirt out a few kids, start smoking, drink whiskey each day, come home and lay around on the couch, sit in the sun and get that "dry" look, eat fast food each meal. Don't worry, you will be looking much better very soon! :)

Poor dear, you look too young. Never thought I'd hear that one! Lucky YOU! If it bothers you that much tell your customers in light conversation and assure them it's not a big deal. Make jokes about it! Lighten the situation. Tell them about your accomplishments and your passion for your business.

Hey, show us some pics!! ;) - by EyeCandy
How to look older:

Squirt out a few kids, start smoking, drink whiskey each day, come home and lay around on the couch, sit in the sun and get that "dry" look, eat fast food each meal. Don't worry, you will be looking much better very soon! :)

Poor dear, you look too young. Never thought I'd hear that one! Lucky YOU! If it bothers you that much tell your customers in light conversation and assure them it's not a big deal. Make jokes about it! Lighten the situation. Tell them about your accomplishments and your passion for your business.

Hey, show us some pics!! ;)
Actually I've got a two kids. Not much work on my side of that equation I'm afraid. ;bg
Actually I realize after reading your post how my original sounds. That was not my intent. :bl

Take it easy
-J - by jvoyles
J,

I don't think looking too young is a silly thing to worry about. I think there is age discrimination on some people's part - for both young and old. And, if you're seeing a trend of not closing the big jobs, and you think your age might be part of the issue, that could very well be valid.

I'd work to counter that possibility without making a big deal out of it. Do you have all the trappings of a company? A business line that is answered professionally (by a person or machine) in your absence? A business address? Professionally designed business cards and brochures?

Do your brochures include comments or testimonials from previous clients? If not, put together some questions and get some prior clients to answer them for you. Make sure to include questions that address issues like what did you think of J's level of professionalism, skill, customer service, on-time delivery, and all the kinds of things that indicate a well-run company.

Do you talk about your past successes? Why did you get into the pool business - is there anything in your background that contributes to your ability to get jobs done that you can stress?

If you have lost bids to competitors, do some research on your competitors. Were you competitive with price and turnaround? Are there other things you could be doing, besides getting older, to win the business? ;bg

Just some thoughts - hope it's helpful.

Kathleen - by KSA-Mktg
I have the exact same problem. When I gradute from my college in May I'll be 22. I'm going to start working at a car dealership in July and I look VERY young. Though I am 22 and have the mindset and work ethic of a very motivated sales person, my apperance sometimes will set people a bit off. I can honestly say that I have had customers in my previous job, I sold watches when I was in High School and college for SEIKO, tell me that I looked 16 when I was 20. It's almost heartwrenching to hear someone say that, but as long as you know what you're selling and can provide the information they need to like you and your product, you'll do fine. I realized that after working my sales job that when I dressed nicer than the rest of my cowokers I was getting more sales. I was consistency the top sales at my store, up until I quit for good this past winter break.

If you've already got the pressed clothes, professional look, and prestine car I'm almost at a loss. I've also found that having just a normal conversation between bits of sales information works very well. Once I've built up enough rapport with the potential client things go much more smoothly.

Annnywho, I hope things work out for you, good luck! - by poconnor
Okay I am in swimming pool sales in Texas. I started my business a few years back and have been doing fairly well. Here is my problem. I am 29 which is not overly young BUT I look a lot younger. As far as personal presentation here goes: I am there on time, pressed clothes heck even my vehicle is spotless. I sell enough to meet my overhead and a little extra but I feel like I am losing the big ticket pools because of this. Am I crazy?
I'd think that knowing what you're talking about concerning the products (which I'm sure you do) and dressing professionally (which you already said you do) matter greatly. And it seems to me that I wouldn't want to buy a pool from someone really old anyhow. :bl You'll be feeling "old" much too soon, so enjoy it. I'm not being flip, it's true... but by way of real advice, the first thing I wondered is if a beard would help, but then I realized that I just *assumed* you were a guy talking. So... I wasn't much help at all without knowing your gender. ;om - by destiny
My daughter had the same problem when she first became and architect. She wasn't taken too seriously for a while but her work and her work ethics soon spoke for themselves.

I wish I had the problem of looking too young! - by ozzie
I have had this same problem in the past, but now with all of the grey hair I see in the morning mirror, Iím thinking itís not much of a problem anymore!

On to my answer to your question:

The way you dress. Dress conservatively, and well. You are visiting your clients in their home, so you should look the part. Head out to your nearest Menís Warehouse or similar store and tell the salesman there what you are trying to accomplish. Youíll want to be dressed just a notch above that of your biggest competition, but not too well or you may come off as stuffy. In any case, the key is conservative, not trendy. Apply this to all of the clothing you wear on sales outings, slacks, shirt, shoes, and watch.

Attitude is another thing youíll need to work out. You want to be confident. Very confident, but not arrogant! Work on your handshake, your mannerisms, and your speech patterns. Try to make your speech sound a deliberate, not fast or chatty. Avoid slang.

If you are having any trouble with the above, you might want to join an organization like Toastmasters. Youíll be able to practice your speaking abilities in front of people until you get the confidence you need. Also, youíll probably find the other attendees to be conservatively dressed, and their mannerisms to be of the kind youíll want to emulate.

Since you travel to your customerís home, your car can also impact their opinion of you. As a lot of people will go to the window to see you as you pull in, youíll want your car to make a good statement about you, first impressions being what they are. Again, this shouldnít be the trendy sports car or sport SUV. Try to make it a nice 4-door, and keep it clean and well maintained.

Best of luck to you!
Bill - by Bill_Kistner
I don't what age has got to do with better sales. Experience counts, yes..but I think it is more how you handle a particular situation. I'm 25 and when I'm talking to a client, I get freindly and seem to forget that the person at the other end just wants to be helped and age doesn't seem to be a barrier there.


If the client prospect is critical of your age because you might not have that experience, I think how you present yourself and handle the situation will do more good. - by deadlyminds
I have heard that women can add or subtract for their "age appearance" by the clothes they wear and how much make-up they wear. Make-up really can disguise your true age. I believe it has taken 5 years at least off my appearance lately. - by ozzie
If you take a look at most ALL of my posts to other threads...you will notice something VERY similar to ALL of them is that they ALL are "philosophy driven", and they all have to do with the "mindset" and not the situation at hand.
The reason I do this in this manner, is only because the ONLY parts that YOU can CONTROL....are within YOU!;wi
People percieve what it is they see in you...by what YOU SEE IN YOURSELF;sm . It is amazing the power our subconcious has on how "other" people percieve us.

The moment you get over the issue yourself....is when anyone else who has the chance to object will. The people are probably just trying to test you, and see how easily you can be "shaken up", because some people....don't so much want to talk to "somebody older", but moreso a person with a "well-backed confidence" that could not be shaken by such a "superficial" judgement.;bg

Hope this helps!
Sincerely,
-David - by truesaxman
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