FRom the first draft of the book I am currently penning.
“A dead cow or sheep lying in a pasture is recognized as carrion. The same sort of a carcass dressed and hung up in a butcher's stall passes as food.” John Harvey Kellogg
Knowing who your target market is, is essential. You can never over-dress but it is very easy to under-dress. I was in a corporate environment and a salesman arrived once wearing fashion clothing. At the time ripped jeans were the height of cool. This particular salesman obviously had no inkling or understanding of his market. He was walking into a den of lions, dressed like a sheep.
In theory your dress has no impact on your skills, your professionalism or your ability. Sadly it's not how you view yourself that matters but how the prospect does. Twenty years ago life was a lot more formal than it is today. People still make snap decisions based on appearances. If you walk into the corporate environment you will be forgiven much if you are in so-called artistic endevours like web development, advertising and the like. They expect you to be a bit of an oddball. But if you are selling financial or professional services and you look like a tramp, you will not create the right impression.
Dressing for success means mirroring your prospect. If your prospect wears pin-striped suits then best you be wearing a pin-striped suit. If your prospect is in a less formal environment like a farmer, a mechanic or any of the engineering trades then jeans, a good shirt and shoes will do the trick. I am not going to tell you that a black suit is more powerful than a pair of chinos and a golf shirt. Your market will determine what will work best.
As a salesman you want to be one of them. If you are dealing with mechanics, know the difference between a spanner and a screwdriver. Understand the industry. You will need a working knowledge of blue-collar humour, of how the industry works and if you can tell the difference between a spark plug and an oil filter and maybe even talk about tuning, you are already better off than the guy who knows bugger-all.
It is about respect, respect is earned and it is earned in seconds, if you radiate the correct impression. If you look successful and sound successful, you are immediately perceived to be successful. All of this pertains not only to your dress but to your arrival as well. If you fall out of a skedonk and have to put the door back on by lifting it up, it already tells the client that you are not a successful as you are hoping to be. Success breeds success. We know that we don't all drive the latest Benz or luxury SUV.
If you drive a rust bucket and it looks bad, park around the corner. When you arrive at the front door, look a little confused and lost “I thought you were next door and have parked around the corner” is way better than leaking oil on your prospect's driveway.
On arrival, shoulders back, tits front, head held high, big strides and a huge smile, creates an impression that you know exactly what you are doing. Think positive, be positive, ignore any issues that you may have at home. Your client does not need to know that this sale is the difference between you eating tonight and not. Guaranteed if you look desperate or sound desperate you will not get the sale. In my own experience I have arrived at prospects tapping the fuel gauge, hoping that the E stood for Enough and not Empty as my pockets. Attitude always wins. It boils down to, at this point in time, looking the part. My friend David always says to me “Fake it 'til you make it”.
From Snakes and Ladders by Guy McLaren.... Coming soon.
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