Dress guidelines for advertising salespeople

September 10, 2013


 was once on a newspaper consulting job and the publisher commented about the apparel of people he interviewed as well as venders who called on him. He went on to discuss a recent interview with an applicant that had high scholastic marks and a successful sales background, so he was eager to talk to him. Within a few minutes at the interview, he became disenchanted with the applicant because:

• White dress shirt wrinkled.

• Stains on tie.

• Shoes run over and needed a polish job.

• Suit was wrinkled and needed pressing.

Now the question arises—is this a big deal? Maybe he could do a great job and learn to dress properly. Well, it is a big deal, because that applicant usually has only has one opportunity to make a good, first impression, and in sales, we need to make that impression count.

Studies show that business people draw conclusions and generate expectations about us—some conscious, some subconscious—based on what we’re wearing. These studies show that it’s difficult to overcome or alter these conclusions and expectations by trying to convince others that we are more professional or competent than our dress indicates.

Many people believe the idea of a dress code is too confining and that discussion about it is unnecessary. But by failing to wear appropriate business attire, you run the risk that your dealings with a prospective buyer will be negatively affected because the buyer concludes that you lack authority, credibility, and competency because of what you’re wearing.

A few guidelines for proper dress:

• If you’re uncertain what to wear in a selling situation, dress toward the conservative side.

• Dress at least as well as the prospective clients to whom you are selling.

• Do not wear sunglasses or glasses that change tint. Customers need to have a clear view of your eyes if they are to have trust in you.

Of course, we all understand that guidelines of dress varies from region to region. Creative designer clothes coupled with flashy jewelry might be OK in a high-fashion district of a large Eastern metropolitan city, but it’s doubtful this particular attire would be widely accepted in the Midwest. I find that advertising salespeople generally dress within acceptable guidelines, but it never hurts to assess your wardrobe so you’ll look your business best. © Bob Berting 2013


Bob Berting is a professional speaker, newspaper sales trainer, and publisher marketing consultant who has conducted more than 1,500 live seminars, tele-seminars, and webinars for newspaper sales staffs, their customers, print media associations and trade associations in the U.S. and Canada. Bob’s advertising sales record in the industry is impressive. For 15 years, he averaged two cold contracts a week and sold 20 shopping centers on yearly contracts. He is the author of the best selling E-Booklet “Dynamic Advertising Sales and Image Power,” which can be ordered on his website www.bobberting.com. Contact Bob at 800-536-5408 or at bob@bobberting.com.

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