Many salespeople have no idea how to dress for sales meetings. Luckily, this short video lays out exactly what you need to know about dressing for sales in any industry.
Do you ever wonder if you’re dressing in the most effective way to close the next sale?
Your concern just might be valid.
The data shows us that prospects make instant judgments about salespeople. These judgements—often made at first glance—can have a massive influence on whether or not the prospect ultimately makes a purchase.
Not anymore. I’ve put together a video showing you exactly how to dress for sales meetings, so you never have to face this insecurity again.
Remember, striking the right appearance during a sales meeting actually has a much bigger impact on the sales outcome than most people think.
In fact, getting it wrong could put you at a huge disadvantage in your sales meetings. In this video, I’m going to show you the 5 keys to how to dress for sales meetings, so you never get it wrong again. Check it out:
How to Dress for Sales Meetings Video Summary:
How to Dress for Sales Meetings Tip #1: Take into account how your prospects dress.
This just might be the most important point when it comes to how to dress for sales meetings. That’s why it comes first.
As a general rule, you want to dress similarly to your prospects. Take into account the type of clothes that your prospects typically wear.
This might sound odd, but it’s crucial to learning how to dress for sales meetings so you ultimately close more sales. I’ll give you two different examples.
Let’s say you sell in the investment banking world. In this world, your prospects typically wear suits. That’s a really important indicator of how you should dress for sales meetings. You never want to be dressed more casually than the folks you’re selling to. Easy enough, right?
On the other hand, let’s say you sell to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, or just your typical run-of-the mill homeowners. These prospects are much more likely to be dressed very casually.
In fact, I just recently read an article about how in the Silicon Valley world, the person who is the least well-dressed in the room is likely to be highest up the totem pole in terms of importance in an organization. So, you don’t want to show up with those prospects completely overdressed. If you do, you’re going to have a major style mismatch.
Most humans connect best with people that remind them of themselves. Obviously, take this with a grain of salt—we don’t want to just start dressing exactly like our prospects, because everyone is different. In some cases, this could come off as unprofessional or lead to some other issues.
But the important thing to remember is that you want to focus on how your prospects typically dress—and then match it.
How to Dress for Sales Meetings Tip #2: Disheveled is crushing.
This is about your general appearance. I see so many salespeople, particularly in the trades, who just never fully take care of the way they look. Even on their best days, they’re still looking really disheveled. Looking disheveled essentially exudes a lack of professionalism.
Disheveled is crushing in sales.
So, we really want to pay attention to how are others going to be perceiving us. If they’re going to be perceiving us as disheveled, this can really be problematic.
Looking disheveled could mean that your shoes are really scuffed up, or your hair is unkempt and flying all over the place. Or maybe your shirts are just really wrinkly, right?
These are little things that have less to do with the specific overall outfit and more to do with your general appearance. And it makes a huge difference.
How to Dress for Sales Meetings Tip #3: Be better dressed, but not mismatched.
Typically, we want to come in a little bit above our prospect’s level of dress. Now of course, there are limits to that. If you’re already selling to people who wear suits, then you’re just going to match them. You’re just going to wear a suit, and if they’re wearing a tie, you’re going to be wearing a tie as well.
On the lower end, which is the much broader spectrum of selling, if you’re selling to that entrepreneur or that Silicon Valley CEO who’s wearing a t-shirt and jeans and sandals every day, you probably don’t want to be showing up in a t-shirt and jeans and sandals.
You want to come off as just a little bit more well-dressed.
That could mean wearing a button-down shirt and a pair of nice jeans and shoes. It’s still pretty casual, but it’s just a little bit more professional than what your customer or your prospect is wearing.
Aim for being better dressed, but not mismatched.
I find over and over again that when people follow that general idea, they’re never going to be creating problems for themselves. Being the best-dressed person isn’t going to make you close the sale, but it can help you avoid losing a sale that you might have won because of just turning off a prospect who felt that you looked unprofessional.
How to Dress for Sales Meetings Tip #4: Pay attention to the details.
This is probably my biggest pet peeve about how to dress for sales meetings. Most salespeople don’t pay attention to the little details that can cause them to come off as careless and thoughtless in the way they dress.
A lot of tradesmen will come in wearing a nice company button-down shirt with khakis…but then the shirt is untucked or it’s hanging out on one side. Or someone will be wearing really wrinkled clothing or their shoes will look really worn. While the prospect is not necessarily looking at these details on a conscious level, on a subconscious level they’re taking in the totality of what they see. They’re making instantaneous judgments.
In fact, the data shows us that a lot of decisions are made about a complete stranger within the first few milliseconds.
Of course, you can’t control everything about the way you look. We’re all different. But what you can control is the way you ultimately put yourself together. So pay attention to those little details. What you really don’t want is to stand out in a way that comes off as egregiously mismatched.
How to Dress for Sales Meetings Tip #5: In the moment, match them in small ways.
This is one of the most powerful tips for how to dress for sales meetings. I’ll give you an example of how I might implement this is my own selling.
When I go to meet with prospects, I’ll literally get onto a plane and meet with CEOs of companies to discuss six-figure consulting projects. I’m always going to show up in a suit, even if I think that they’re going to be in jeans and a t-shirt (which very few of my prospects ever are). What I will do though, if a prospect is dressed casually, is take off my coat. And if they’re really casual, I might even take off my coat and roll up my sleeves. I might even let out a button at the top of my shirt.
That way, even though we’re dressed in a way that’s not entirely matched, I’m going to match them in small ways to make them feel a little bit more comfortable. When you do this, you’ll get the credit of looking professional, but you’ll also create a better connection with the prospect by making an effort to appear more similar to them.
These little changes will actually increase the likelihood of ultimately building that trusting connection with a prospect. A big mismatch in dress is always going to be a problem.
If I’m meeting with a prospect who wears a suit and tie and I show up in a polo shirt and khakis, it’s very hard to match up to them. But if I show up in the suit and they’re more casually dressed, I can always dress down in some smaller ways.
So, there you have it. Now you know how to dress for sales meetings. Which of these tips did you find most helpful? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below. I’ll do my best to respond to every single one.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.