What Your Attire Tells Your Clients
Your sales team meets with clients regularly, and to gain business, each person must make a good first impression. Building a client relationship may take time, but that initial encounter is very important. For this reason, what your sales employees wear impacts their jobs.
Learning how to dress appropriately may seem like a simple thing that's not worth mentioning, but it should be a part of your training program. After all, the way you look does influence first impressions. As you browse HSI's curriculum for training topics, also take a look at this guide to what your clothing tells clients about you:
Casual: Doesn't Care
Even if your company has a casual dress code, your sales team should dress up when meeting with clients. Not all the companies you work with have the same relaxed atmosphere as your business, and you should meet them on their level. Casual clothing, from the eyes of a more formal company, could make the wearer seem disinterested, or like he or she doesn't care about the job.
No matter your office dress code, ask your employees to suit up whenever they have in-person client meetings.
Not According to Age: Isn't in Touch
Whether you're in your 50s and dress like a 20-something or are young and dress beyond your years, the look doesn't add up. This issue sends the signal that you're out of touch with your own age or are in denial. Either way, the look doesn't paint the picture of the serious business professional your clients want to work with. Have fun dressing the age you feel when you're at home, but at the office, work with your biological age.
The Wrong Size: Lacks Confidence
You may think wearing clothing that's too small projects confidence, but really, it shows you're insecure with your actual size. So too does wearing clothing that's too big - in that case, you may be trying to hide. The most put-together look is one that fits your body and your body type perfectly. Learn what styles complement your natural figure and purchase those. If you're unsure what to buy when you shop alone, bring a friend with you who will be honest and who you think dresses well.
Plain: Conservative or Dull
While a suit is totally appropriate for work, one that's simple and lacks embellishment may project the wrong idea. Neutral tones, boring outfits and lack of personal flair all say that you play it safe. Sometimes, that's a good message to send. Other times, you want your potential clients to know you have edge and you'll use it to help them reach their company goals. Appropriate embellishments include business attire with bright colors and bold patterns, and stylish accessories.
The Right Attire Builds Confidence
"Fake it 'til you make it" may sound like just a catchy phrase, but it actually bears some weight and can be applied to many circumstances, including wardrobe. According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, clothing can affect the way you feel by projecting its symbolism onto you. Researchers had subjects wear coats and took tests. Each time they performed the exam, the subjects were told the coat was something different. For instance, it was a painter's coat at one point, then a doctor's coat at another. When wearing the "doctor's coat," the participants earned higher scores. The tests were basic attention-related tasks.
"Clothing can affect the way you feel and act."
The results confirmed what researchers believed: The ideas we have about certain images shape how we act around them. With this in mind, enter sales meetings wearing an outfit you and your clients associate with success in your industry. For many business people, that means a suit. Think of your clothing as a costume, and when you put it on, you're in character.
Building a great, work-appropriate wardrobe that fits your body and personality may send a louder message than you thought. It will show you're in command, confident, bold and friendly.