Are You Being Too "Professional" For Your Own Good?

24 replies
I see it a lot.

People caring more about their "image"
than connecting with potential clients and making sales.

Here's an example to show what I mean.

Many years ago when I was in the lawnmowing game,
I woman called off my ad.

She said she narrowed me down to one of three likely people.

Arrived the next day at her place on time.

Now picture this.

She walks towards me while I'm still in my car.

Car is beat up.

Rubbish falls out of it from the passengers door onto her drive.

I crawl out of the passengers door because I can't get out of the
drivers door.

Hadn't shaved for about a week.

Had dog shit on my pants.

And they say first impression is everything!

In which case I would of failed...BIG time...right?

I disagree.

Here's what's more important than a "professional" look and image.

They want to know that you understand and care about their situation.

That's what I did.

Not coming off as a wimpy counsellor type though.

Anyway I got the contract at a higher price than the other two.

Both were branded and had the look of professionalism at first glance,
but they were cold.

A few weeks later she put up her payment and later down the track
I bumped up the price again.

Not sure whether it's an ego thing or lack of self confidence
of people putting more importance on how they look than on
just getting sales.

Could be a sign of over compensating for lack of inner self worth.

Who knows, it just happens.

Best,
Ewen
#good #professional
  • Profile picture of the author stan22
    You are the way you are, Ewen, and you can not change it. All the Self-development and improvement crap is good only as a fertilizer for a mind gone wild...

    And how people "receive" you is also beyond your control.
    Call it sublimal, or whatever, it is non-verbal yet highly visual.
    In your particular case, being shabbily dressed says plenty about your personality AND your circumstances.
    Yes, customer like to negotiate with vendors whom they perceive as desperate.
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Originally Posted by stan22 View Post

      Yes, customer like to negotiate with vendors whom they perceive as desperate.
      I knew my prices were higher than most.

      I didn't know what the other two quoted before hand.

      So I wasn't desperate and never did drop my prices for anyone.

      Best,
      Ewen
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  • Profile picture of the author BitterBlossom
    This is something I have noticed too. Appearances can be important to an extent, but the quality of your service and the way you deliver that is also important.
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    • Profile picture of the author tracourt
      I also think it's based on what's appropriate for the job. Show up for a web designer interview, you may not have gotten in the door.
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      Jay Traylor
      Houston, TX

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      • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
        It is appropriate for the job, a farm implement salesman better not show up in a BMW wearing an Armani suit.

        Originally Posted by tracourt View Post

        I also think it's based on what's appropriate for the job. Show up for a web designer interview, you may not have gotten in the door.
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  • Profile picture of the author globalpro
    I agree with Russ, every situation is different.

    I will add this.

    When I worked construction, I used to go out to solicit new contractor business dressed nice driving my personal vehicle. Stopped at one contractor, had a good conversation and he made a suggestion that changed the way I did things.

    He said rather than do things the way I had been doing it, start making stops in my work truck with equipment piled in back, dressed in work clothes like I was passing by on the way to another job.

    It made a big difference in sales and saved a lot of time trying to be 2 personas.
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  • Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

    I see it a lot.

    People caring more about their "image"
    than connecting with potential clients and making sales.

    Here's an example to show what I mean.

    Many years ago when I was in the lawnmowing game,
    I woman called off my ad.

    She said she narrowed me down to one of three likely people.

    Arrived the next day at her place on time.

    Now picture this.

    She walks towards me while I'm still in my car.

    Car is beat up.

    Rubbish falls out of it from the passengers door onto her drive.

    I crawl out of the passengers door because I can't get out of the
    drivers door.

    Hadn't shaved for about a week.

    Had dog shit on my pants.

    And they say first impression is everything!

    In which case I would of failed...BIG time...right?

    I disagree.

    Here's what's more important than a "professional" look and image.

    They want to know that you understand and care about their situation.

    That's what I did.

    Not coming off as a wimpy counsellor type though.

    Anyway I got the contract at a higher price than the other two.

    Both were branded and had the look of professionalism at first glance,
    but they were cold.

    A few weeks later she put up her payment and later down the track
    I bumped up the price again.

    Not sure whether it's an ego thing or lack of self confidence
    of people putting more importance on how they look than on
    just getting sales.

    Could be a sign of over compensating for lack of inner self worth.

    Who knows, it just happens.

    Best,
    Ewen
    Maybe having dirty clothes and beatup van showed that you have lots of work with the lawnmowing.
    If you are in blue - collar industry thee is no point of wearing a suit...
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    • Profile picture of the author garyfromdurham
      It's horses for courses.

      You obviously looked like a man who wasn't afraid of hard work and could cut lawns.

      But try going into a local business offering to look after their marketing campaign, unshaven, with dog dirt on your clothes after you have pulled up outside their premises in a beat up old car with rubbish oozing out of it and you won't get very far.

      Some clients of mine are cynical of a 'sleek salesman look' and are slightly intimidated by it, while others only only give me the time of day if I look nothing short than immaculate.

      A good balance is ALWAYS to look clean and smart (not necessarily dress clothes) when approaching businesses.

      G
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  • Profile picture of the author John Broberg
    Have you ever gone shopping for a new house? What do you think when the realtor pulls up in a shiny new BMW, business suit, and perfect make up? I don't know about you, but I think, "Great. A smooth-talking sales type." My defenses go up immediately.

    If the realtor shows up with dog poo on their pants, I know they're not going to con me into something I don't need. But dude, you really had dog poo? You made that up. Come on.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rearden
    If you guys do any door-to-door sales where you actually show up in person, every person is going to size you up in 3 seconds whether or not you're professional.

    Don't be a piker.

    You're interviewing for a job. Polish your shoes, iron your dress pants, wear a nice polo or button-down with a tie, look the person squarely in the eyes and give a firm handshake. It doesn't take an Armani suit to do all that.
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  • Profile picture of the author ScottGrey
    Best sales advice I ever got was to "be what your prospective client imagines that they are". For a construction worker that means having the truck and work boots. For an enterprise IT sales guy that means the BMW and pinstripe suit.

    Best car sales-person I ever worked with was a women, mom of two. Sold more minivans in a month than most people did in a year. She lived and looked the part. People trusted her opinion because they knew she lived in their world, not as some grease ball sales dude.
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Originally Posted by ScottGrey View Post

      She lived and looked the part. People trusted her opinion because they knew she lived in their world, not as some grease ball sales dude.
      That's the key there, lived in their world.

      She knew how a minivan would fit into those mom's lives.

      That's my point in this being more important than the clothes you wear.

      Best,
      Ewen
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    • Originally Posted by ScottGrey View Post

      Best sales advice I ever got was to "be what your prospective client imagines that they are". For a construction worker that means having the truck and work boots. For an enterprise IT sales guy that means the BMW and pinstripe suit.

      Best car sales-person I ever worked with was a women, mom of two. Sold more minivans in a month than most people did in a year. She lived and looked the part. People trusted her opinion because they knew she lived in their world, not as some grease ball sales dude.

      Exactly - if you call a plumber you expect him to have a van and be wearing boilersuit , if you go to the dentist you expect him/her to be dressed white, etc..
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  • Profile picture of the author MLMBrander
    Ewen's Point: Looking professional(physically whether online or offline) must never be more important than the intention to provide your clients the VALUE that they expect.

    As a general rule: Think what you can do for your customers as a top priority then you can go with all the that professional look -It still is important though as it still at some point promotes Trust -to those people who just SEE you and haven't SPEAK to you -yet.

    Cheers!
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  • Profile picture of the author craigpullman
    I think being yourself is the most important 'rule' in life let alone business. It's much easier to be yourself than trying to be someone you're not. I've been in offline sales for over 10 years and I don't care if you want to spend 50 bucks or 5000 with me. I just be myself. Even though I have changed jobs I still have some of those same customers after 10 years.
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  • Profile picture of the author angelosam
    I think u want to progress on your business, then no start business for partnership, actually after some years may be conflict b/w your business partners and most effect on your business.
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  • Profile picture of the author 300SMG
    I don't know John, I think if my realtor showed up in a beater and disheveled clothes, I'd question whether they were selling me a house or looking to squat in it.

    I agree with ewen's post however, look the part no matter what the profession. I think people have predisposed ideas of how we should 'look based on what we 'do'. Case in point.
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    • Profile picture of the author tracourt
      I agree, dress for what's appropriate. If your style is either below or above the person's needs, you take away from you. Show up to pitch a law firm dressed in yesterday's jeans and dirty shirt, they won't ever see you. Dress too sharp to quote Joe the plumbers fence job, you are out.
      Don't let your dress speak louder than your message, either way.
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      Jay Traylor
      Houston, TX

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  • Profile picture of the author PerformanceMan
    For the most part I agree, but I'd still wipe the sh*t off, just for smell's sake
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    For I don't know, many thousands of years, the human race has used clothes to identify our social status, our career paths and so on. It's no different today.
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  • Profile picture of the author KrystenRae
    I agree with ScottGrey and think that's great advice: "be what your prospective client imagines that they are"! Ultimately, sales is about trust. People aren't going to trust someone who doesn't play the part that they want and expect them to play, and without trust, there is no sale.
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  • Profile picture of the author BarbaraMcKinney
    Appearance do matter. Not all the time that your clients have the same attitudes. Good for you that you had met people like her and you really proved that looks is second to confidence. But of course it will be better if we come in our best look + the confidence. I'm sure your business meeting date will 100% say YES!!!
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  • Profile picture of the author Seantrepreneur
    Love the dog shit part!

    I 100% agree that the nicest truck, signs and clothes can't hide the assh*ole personality. I see that all the time at networking events. Having a great personality will beat a nice logo anyway of the week.

    I think the old saying, treat others the way you want to be treated, hits the nail on the head.

    Thanks for sharing
    Sean
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  • Profile picture of the author The IM Factory
    This is funny because I agree with the OP... I hate when people concentrate too much on their looks, of course personal image is good for first impressions but what people like to see the most is self confidence. I've never wore a suite when meeting with a client and I always close when I meet face to face.... Overall if you are confident on yourself and what you can do for your client they will see it and put more importance to that
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