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Dress for Success: Myth or Good Advice

I thought it would be interesting to see what others thought about dressing for success. Does it really matter? - by AZBroker
IMO, dressing appropriately is important. Overdressing and underdressing can work against you. ;) - by Liberty
IMO, dressing appropriately is important. Overdressing and underdressing can work against you. ;)
As a realtor, I've seen agents walking around in cut-off shorts and flip-flops with their clients. I was never quite sure which was which! Around these parts, smart casual has become the norm but certain occassions call for more formal attire...settlements primarily. Obviously, if I'm going out to look at a 72 acre horse farm, I'm not going to wear my heals. However, I wouldn't be caught dead in those cut-offs, either!!:D - by Irene Morales Ward
Irene, I have seen the same thing. I think you stand more chances of putting someone off by dressing down then by dressing up. - by Jomsom
I live in Florida where even the mailman looks like he is on vacation. Dressing up is like torture in this heat, if you have an outside sales job (in and out of a/c all day long.), but even though I might cheat a little, I still think it sends the wrong signal to be too undersdressed. - by RainMaker
Does it really matter?
Yes. I believe it matters. - by Gary Boye
Overdressing and underdressing can work against you. ;)
Can you give an example of when "overdressing" would work against you? - by AZBroker
Can you give an example of when "overdressing" would work against you?
I'm not certain if this is real or imagined, but when I am out in the field, calling on small businesses, I dress up, but not like I used to dress in when I worked in a corporate setting. I don't want to look like a "power woman--climbing my way up." I like to look professional, but warm and friendly. ;) - by RainMaker
I don't want to look like a "power woman--climbing my way up." I like to look professional, but warm and friendly. ;)
Exactly. If a salesperson walks into my office looking like he works for the FBI or IRS he's already got a strike against him. ;) - by BossMan
"Dressing for Success" is very important. BUT, I believe dressing the part is as important (ie. not wearing shorts to a corporate negotiation).

In any form of marketing, its about anchoring your position.

Let me explain:
From the position of the "seller" you need to set the right tone for a meeting. Dressing appropriately adds a "plus" in the prospects mind. There is a misconception that marketing is a department, when marketing should be part of the entire organizatioins marketing objective. From the janitor to the CEO, all play a part in the overall image of the company.

In my firm, we stress the "impulse", the irrationality of our prospects. So, in every facet of my organization, I remind all team members that a prospect will base their decisions on the many facets we think unimportant - how we dress.

"Buyers make irrational decisions, but support it with rational data"

Best,

Ritchie - by cs_obd
I agree that a salesperson needs to dress appropriately. Anything less is a potential distraction and distractions during sales calls usually aren't a good thing.

So what is appropriate? To me that will depend on your clients expectations and/or comfort level. One more reason to know your audience. ;) - by SalesGuy
Hi All!

In terms of visiting a new prospective customer, especially where you are up against other sales people to win business, always wear the kind of clothes that would make you want to buy from yourself. Polished shoes, tidy hairstyle, suits, appropriately coloured socks or tights and conservative jewellary will all help.

However the best thing to wear when communicating with customers (or prospective customers) is a nice warm SMILE ;)

Tony D from Sales Journey - by Tonyd
While I worked in Banking (First Union and Wachovia) I believe that dressing up was a very real factor in who was provided opportunities. If you did not look the part, it never came your way.

Now I am in real estate in Florida and several of the top agents I have worked with wear shorts, even when meeting with clients. Works for some clients, unless I am working with a close friend, I doubt that I would opt for shorts.

Still over dressing in our market could easily be a larger problem. It is hot down here and no one wants to go around with someone that is soaked...

my .02 - by KeysToFlorida
I remember attending a conference and ideal networking event with dozens of my target clientele. The registration stated that attire should be "business casual." I decided to upgrade a bit and wear a shirt and tie. Imagine my surprise when I was the only one in attendance NOT wearing a suit! And there were over 500 people in attendance.

As a result, I always overdress for meetings. I can always remove my suit jacket or loosen my tie and roll up my sleeves. However, I can't excuse myself and put a tie on once the meeting has begun.

Cheers!
Kelley - by Kelley Robertson
The registration stated that attire should be "business casual." I decided to upgrade a bit and wear a shirt and tie. Imagine my surprise when I was the only one in attendance NOT wearing a suit! And there were over 500 people in attendance.
Awkward Moment! :eek: - by Liberty
From my own experience I would say that well-dressed individuals typically come across as more "attractive" than they would if dressed down.

This is important because this same "attractiveness" can be an influencing factor in not only sales situations but also how a person is treated by others in general.

You can always dress down. ;)

--Slick - by Slick
One of my buddies dresses for success wearing his signature tight black jeans and black cowboy hat - he's from Montana - and he feels very smart and comfortable in that garb.

Another friend dresses so casual that his baggy pants and beach shirts with palm trees on them almost make him look line a clown.

And a third is a woman who looks the part of a Today Show hostess - neat and trim and dressed in very smart TV business suits.

All three are tops in their sales fields and I know that given each of their attitudes each dresses for success in his and her mind. - by MitchM
One of my buddies dresses for success wearing his signature tight black jeans and black cowboy hat - he's from Montana - and he feels very smart and comfortable in that garb.

Another friend dresses so casual that his baggy pants and beach shirts with palm trees on them almost make him look line a clown.

And a third is a woman who looks the part of a Today Show hostess - neat and trim and dressed in very smart TV business suits.

All three are tops in their sales fields and I know that given each of their attitudes each dresses for success in his and her mind.
It boils down to being able to get away with "dressing down".Not everybody can.

It's unfortunate, but I believe a double standard exists. It is riskier for a woman to dress down in a business situation. Another viewpoint might very well be that women use much better judgment in such matters. - by Gary Boye
It boils down to being able to get away with "dressing down".Not everybody can.

It's unfortunate, but I believe a double standard exists. It is riskier for a woman to dress down in a business situation. Another viewpoint might very well be that women use much better judgment in such matters.
I think there's a double standard.

Dressing business casual is my normal way of dressing and I don't have to meet any dress code. - by MitchM
Absolutely! Dressing for success is important for yourself personally, for the organization you are representing, and also, to be used to respect the person who were are interacting with.

Importance personally - I think in today's market place, we are always "selling" and networking, and therefore presenting yourself is PR. It is also important to note, that 80+% of communication is non-verbal, so the importance of professional attire should not be underestimated.

Importance to the Organization - As a representative of an organization, you are sending a message of the professionalism of not only yourself, but the entire company. And negative PR or bad image is completely unnecessary. I was once taught, that everytime a person has a positive sales experience, she/he will share the experience with 4 other people within her/his network of friends and family. But, a negative sales experience will yield to sharing the experience with 11 people in the network!

Importance to the person you are interacting with - you can never fully know the cultural, religious or personal values of a new person you are interacting with. Depending on various cultural backgrounds, an inapproapriate dress code can be viewed many ways. Therefore, playing it safe and dressing for success will eliminate a lot of unnecessary assumptions or lost sales.

Heli Rytkonen - by Heli Rytkonen
I remember attending a conference and ideal networking event with dozens of my target clientele. The registration stated that attire should be "business casual." I decided to upgrade a bit and wear a shirt and tie. Imagine my surprise when I was the only one in attendance NOT wearing a suit! And there were over 500 people in attendance.

As a result, I always overdress for meetings. I can always remove my suit jacket or loosen my tie and roll up my sleeves. However, I can't excuse myself and put a tie on once the meeting has begun.

Cheers!
Kelley
I completely agree with you, Kelley! Whereas dressing up allows you to adjust the dress code to some degree, dressing too casual provides no flexibility, if the situation unexpectedly demands it.

Heli Rytkonen - by Heli Rytkonen
Dress the part. If you were seeing a doctor for the first time as a patient and he came in wearing sneakers and a tank top would it raise any flags? If flags were raised then you must have been expecting something else. Dress to meet that something else. - by SpeedRacer
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