Dress, How The Customers See You Arrive And Depart...Everything Matters

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Most sales trainers and sales authors talk about prospecting, presenting, and closing sales. Occasionally you'll read about how to dress to help your sales. But I can't remember anyone ever addressing how the customer is affected by how you arrive, and how you depart (assuming that you are going to see them). This is the same whether you are cold calling by knocking on doors, just walking into businesses, or seeing referrals.

A little about dress and appearance. I always found it to be to my advantage to play it safe. You don't know what tastes, prejudices, or dislikes a prospect is going to have....so i just wanted to appear "Solid". And by that I mean; My shoes would be black work shoes that were polished. A white clean shirt, dress pants, and I was clean shaven. Frankly, I looked like a Mormon.

I may wear a watch, but no jewelry except a wedding ring. I didn't chew gum, smoke, or anything that they could dislike. Was I doing this because I had some moral standard? No. I did this because I didn't want to appear or act in any way that they could dislike. No Mohawks, no sandals, no earrings....no piercings. Again, just to appeal to the widest segment of the population.



And here is a secret most don't talk about...when you arrive at the appointment (or arrive at the place you are going to cold call on), you don't know if they can see you. Assume they can.

Soooooo.....what do they see when you pull up in your car? It's far less important that you have an expensive car...than it is that the car is clean, without any visible rust, and doesn't make a noise that indicates a repair is needed. It gives the impression that you are slovenly or inattentive. And the prospect may think "If they don't take care of their car, how are they going to treat their customers?"

When you get out of your car is the radio blaring? are you spitting out your chew? Are you putting out a cigarette? Assume they can see you. Assume that as you pull into the driveway or parking lot...you are visible to them.

And even more importantly, as you are leaving ...after you just made a sale....how are you behaving? Do you peel out of the driveway because you are excited? Do you blast your radio before you close the windows?

If you are with someone else (meaning two of you went on the call), are you "High Fiving" each other? Are you laughing loudly? If you just bought something from a salesperson, and you saw them walking to the car laughing...what would you think? "Are they laughing at me?"

I was leaving a home where I had just made a good sized sale. I was with a trainee. As we walked to my car, he jokingly gave me an obscene gesture. I tuned around, and saw the lady looking out the window. I told the guy with me "You just cost me that sale. Before we get back to the office, they will have called to cancel the sale". Of course, they did.

If you want to blast the radio, laugh out loud, sing along with the music, or squeal the car's tires...do it after you have gone down the road.

As I was walking off the porch...where the people just bought from me...the guy I was training (another one) said to me "Do you think they will call to cancel? That guy was an assh@le". It was in the Summer, and the windows were open in the house. Yes...you guessed it...the customer heard it, and before we got to the car, he was out the door cancelling the sale.

I started telling the reps to assume that people could see them as they pulled up, and as they drove away...and everything in between.



Every single thing you do or say..how you look, how you act....even your expressions...will either increase the likelihood that you'll make a sale...or decrease the likelihood that you'll make a sale.



Everything matters.
#arrive #customers #departeverything #dress #matters
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  • Profile picture of the author Peter Lessard
    I have had this conversation with younger people on several occasions.
    As I age I seem to find myself trying to translate across generations more and more.
    The advice I give is best appearance possible BUT spotless inner dialogue and attitude.

    Today many young people may have a visible tattoo and a couple of piercings and be rather edgy in appearance.

    Some have great success in any meeting or customer interaction and get the promotions and sales.
    Others fail miserably because they just rub folks the wrong way.

    Given there is no difference in the visible cues what I have observed is that beyond appearance, attitude and internal dialogue is critical.

    I do NOT mean attitude you can see at a conscious level.
    I mean what they ACTUALLY believe inside and what that little voice in their heads (that some foolishly believe is actually themselves talking, but that's another story) is telling them.

    Basically, some folks look different and they get that might put others off, but they have a genuine internal drive to win others over and let them see what is on the inside. And guess what? It generally works.

    The ones that I see fail miserably are the ones that have a "take it or leave it" attitude.

    They have made up their minds they have the right to look how they like and if you don't like it you should go jump in a lake.

    They have no respect for what they do, and who they do it for at a cellular level.
    This core belief is reflected in cues that we pick up sub consciously and we just don't "like" the person.

    We have all had it happen to us personally.
    We leave a roadside chip wagon smiling from ear to ear because of how the not too good looking cook left us feeling, yet our skin crawls after an interaction at a $50 a plate restaurant, based on how the impeccably dressed waiter smiled at us. The chip wagon dude did NOT serve us fries, he served us some genuine love and appreciation with a hefty helping of cholesterol.
    The fancy pants waiter was hating on us internally because he felt too good to be serving us.

    I totally agree that you should provide all the positive external cues possible AND check your attitude and internal voice as well AND if you don't like what you are doing and who you do it for and with, time to move on....

    The more you learn to love others, the less of an A-hole they will think you are ;-)
    Hec, they might even buy your stuff!
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    • Profile picture of the author animal44
      Originally Posted by Peter Lessard View Post

      I mean what they ACTUALLY believe inside and what that little voice in their heads (that some foolishly believe is actually themselves talking, but that's another story) is telling them.
      Yep, way more important than appearance.

      Me in jeans and tee shirt - shorts and tee shirt in this hot weather - and that ain't a pretty sight...
      Hair that's cut once or twice a year and makes Einstein look tidy.
      Beard that's trimmed... occasionally...

      Offset, of course, by rugged good looks...

      Yep, internal attitude way more important than appearance.

      And results. Results will always speak way louder than anything superficial such as appearance or what you say...
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  • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
    Here's an example of not looking the part
    and getting a long term client.

    And an example of a guy looking the part
    leaving a trail of complaning customers.

    Both in the lawncare biz.

    Years ago when I was getting started in the lawncare biz
    I got a phone call from a realestate agent who had moved from the weathiest Auckland suburb to an outlying area.

    She made it known that she was interviewing 3 lawncare pros
    to look after her new residence.

    So I turn up at her home at the agreed time.

    My beat uip car drivers door could not be
    opened from the inside
    so I crawl out the passengers door.

    In the scramble I spill
    my trash on to her driveway as she comes walking towards me.

    Not a good start, me thinks.

    I cleaned up the mess and continued as if nothing happened.

    I got the ongoing care of her property
    and later on her investment property.

    She said the other two quotes came in at a lower price.

    Here's why I got it despite my scruffiness.

    I listened intenbtly to what she really wanted.

    I wasn't listening to come up with a canned
    spiel.

    She picked up that I really wanted to know what she wanted
    and she of course was prepared to pay accordingly.

    She soon paid me more for doing no more work.

    Take the lawncare pro who left a trail of complaints.

    I got him to take care of a few of my clients while I was out injured.

    He was clean shaven had a late model clean work vehicle.
    Had a tidy home.

    Yet my clients would phone me about the shabby work he did.

    I think there is more to getting the sale than looking the part.

    There is a whole package that comes into play.

    Best,
    Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author Jessica Ambos
    Every bit of what you said is true. Impressions really matter. How you behave and how you carry yourself in front of other people will either make or break a sale. I remember when I was in the sales industry I was with a colleague who is under dressed and the client didn't pay any attention to her nor ask for her advice. The client only spoke to me in the whole duration of that sales call (that being I was properly dressed and business-like).
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Originally Posted by Jessica Ambos View Post

      Every bit of what you said is true. Impressions really matter. How you behave and how you carry yourself in front of other people will either make or break a sale. I remember when I was in the sales industry I was with a colleague who is under dressed and the client didn't pay any attention to her nor ask for her advice. The client only spoke to me in the whole duration of that sales call (that being I was properly dressed and business-like).
      An image based company like Puma was my
      company client.

      My company had a "bad image".

      Had no website.
      No social media accounts
      Used gmail.

      Things aren't black and white as you suggest.

      Best,
      Ewen
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by Jessica Ambos View Post

      Every bit of what you said is true. Impressions really matter. How you behave and how you carry yourself in front of other people will either make or break a sale. I remember when I was in the sales industry I was with a colleague who is under dressed and the client didn't pay any attention to her nor ask for her advice. The client only spoke to me in the whole duration of that sales call (that being I was properly dressed and business-like).
      There are lots of things at play there. And these are just some of the things that could have made a difference;

      You could be the more dominant personality.
      The prospect could find you more attractive.
      You could be taller.
      You could have used language that insinuated that you were in charge.
      You could have indicated, through body language, facial expression, or language...that you thought this other person was an underling.

      I tend to use language, in business, that indicates that I'm the one in charge. In most business situations I "own the room". But how I dress isn't that important. It's how you behave, your expressions, your pauses when you talk, your language, your posture. It even matters how large you are compared to the other people in the room. (I mean height and weight). And your tone of voice. All of these things I had to learn, none of them came naturally.

      How you dress matters. But compared to how you act, your personality, your offer, and the language you use...it's the least important thing. As long as people aren't offended by what you wear, or how you look, it's fine.

      One thing I notice often is that if it's a man and a woman making the call together...some prospects just ignore the woman. In our store, I have that happen often. My wife tries to help them, and they just brush past her to talk to me.

      Is it because I'm dressed better, better groomed, better behaved? No. It's because their brains are still in the 1950s.I never get angry at them, they have no idea that they are being offensive.
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      • Profile picture of the author eccj
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        There are lots of things at play there. And these are just some of the things that could have made a difference;

        You could be the more dominant personality.
        The prospect could find you more attractive.
        You could be taller.
        You could have used language that insinuated that you were in charge.
        You could have indicated, through body language, facial expression, or language...that you thought this other person was an underling.

        I tend to use language, in business, that indicates that I'm the one in charge. In most business situations I "own the room". But how I dress isn't that important. It's how you behave, your expressions, your pauses when you talk, your language, your posture. It even matters how large you are compared to the other people in the room. (I mean height and weight). And your tone of voice. All of these things I had to learn, none of them came naturally.

        How you dress matters. But compared to how you act, your personality, your offer, and the language you use...it's the least important thing. As long as people aren't offended by what you wear, or how you look, it's fine.

        One thing I notice often is that if it's a man and a woman making the call together...some prospects just ignore the woman. In our store, I have that happen often. My wife tries to help them, and they just brush past her to talk to me.

        Is it because I'm dressed better, better groomed, better behaved? No. It's because their brains are still in the 1950s.I never get angry at them, they have no idea that they are being offensive.
        Indeed there is a lot at play. I suspect that Animal and Ewan's sloppy appearance was disarming. Disarming people by your speech and dress in sales is a known thing.

        Congruence is key.

        Look at the number of copywriters and marketers who use the "reclusive genius who probably doesn't want your business anyways" look. It seems to work.

        Probably not a great image for a guy who sells home insurance.

        D2D sales guys in home improvement are now trying to look like "super busy contractors who don't have a lot of time to spend with you but I needed to share this information." Seems to work great.

        Of course the advantage over time will diminish when others start copying what works for others.

        But what I think Claude is saying is that things have to match up.

        If the "reclusive genius" copywriter all the sudden becomes more like an eager sales guy, bells are going to go off in his prospects mind. If the "busy contractor" starts to get slick and can't answer basic construction questions then he is dead in the water.

        It looks tough to pull off on a large scale so that is why If I were in charge of a large burn and churn sales team I would just go with the safe approach.
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by eccj View Post

          Indeed there is a lot at play. I suspect that Animal and Ewan's sloppy appearance was disarming. Disarming people by your speech and dress in sales is a known thing.

          Congruence is key.

          Look at the number of copywriters and marketers who use the "reclusive genius who probably doesn't want your business anyways" look. It seems to work.
          Very strong insights that I completely agree with.

          Gary Halbert strutting out on stage in a tee shirt and a hat that says "Clients Suck" is branding. Creating an image. But it's his event. They are there to at least partly...see him.

          If I walked out on stage at a conference in a tee shirt and shorts, it would cost me money.

          Yes, if you are branding yourself as "The reclusive in demand creative genius that refuses clients"...yes, look the part. In fact, wearing a suit would look odd.

          But new people? At least look clean and presentable.

          In my store, I look and dress like a "Craftsman that takes care of vacuum cleaners." I used to always greet people who walked in the door...with my back turned toward them, and I was always polishing a shiny vacuum cleaner with a rag. I turned and acted as though they interrupted my "Duties".

          Now, I just walk out of the back room, wiping my hands as though I was working on a vacuum cleaner. It's so much a habit, I don't think about it at all, unless I'm explaining it.

          But the truth is, after the first few seconds, you either know your stuff...or you don't.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    This is definitely an energy thing because when you have a generous, serving intent, you play the part appearance-wise and service-wise that tends to impress folks. I do everything online but if I met anybody offline for business I would treat it like a job interview, dress and presentation-wise. Even when I meet long blogging buddies for the first time offline I look presentable, if only to display I am not Slobbing From Paradise 100% of the time LOL. Leaves a nice little touch, wearing a clean shirt, fresh kicks, nice jeans and an overall crisp-looking attire. Smart tips Claude.

    Ryan
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