Infocusselling’s Blog

October 19, 2009

Shine Like the Star You Are

Shoes make the man, or so the cobbler hopes. I was told once that to see if a man has money look at his watch and to see if a woman has money to look at her purse and shoes. I disagree—I think shoes show the man as well as the woman. Ever see a high dollar executive in dull scuffed shoes?

Why is this important in sales and business development? Because we are a visual species and first impressions are nearly impossible to change. Our appearance is a vital sales tool. Our clothes, accessories, and image imply success or spaciness. When you are in front of an important prospect, do you want your appearance to work for you or against you? We don’t have to dress in suits and ties and designer dresses, but we do need to appear organized, coordinated, and concerned. An organized appearance indicates that you take care in at least one area of your life. A disorganized appearance makes one question what level of attention may be paid to other areas.

I was recently interviewing candidates for a sales position. There was a slight mist coming down and while not cold, the mist and rain suggested that a coat of some type was in order. I watched who I hoped was not my candidate hurrying through the parking lot, no coat, no umbrella, portfolio and purse hanging off arms, with a flustered look on her face. She walked in, quickly introduced herself, and continued to act unprepared and disorganized. Her paper credentials were good but her presentation failed her.

Selling and interviewing are the same process. Your appearance is a key component of how you are perceived. A reader of my blog wrote how important it is to “fake it ‘til you make it.” My response was if you can’t fake it, you can’t make it. If you can’t look successful, organized, and coordinated, it’s difficult to be perceived as a professional and more difficult to be hired as one. With today’s economy and the preponderance of big box retailers, even the budget conscious can look good every day. Take the time to make sure you match, dress like you are the success you want to be, and while you’re at it, make sure your shoes are shined.

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