The Aspiring Salesman’s Guide to Dressing for Success

If you’re in sales, then you are a hunter. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Like a hunter, your prospects represent your game, and like a hunter, you study your prey carefully, learning their traits, habits, and the subtle messages that will betray their true intentions. When you close a deal, it’s every bit as invigorating as squeezing the trigger, and feeling that triumphant grin spread across your face as the bullet finds its mark.

Since you are a hunter, then like a hunter, you have to not only understand they game you’re pursuing, but the tools of the trade. While game hunters use rifles, calls, camouflage, and scents to make their kill, we use confidence, statistics, persona, and most importantly, and a well stocked closet, to earn our victories.

Make no mistake – you work in an industry where the coat you have on is every bit as important as the numbers you quote, and how polished your shoes are can say just as much about you as how firm your handshake is. If you’re looking to up your game, and close in on that deal that will land you the fattest commission check in the office, follow these tips to make sure that, when your time comes, you’re dressed for the occasion.

Stick with Neutral Colors in Your Jackets and Ties

When people deal with a salesman, they don’t want some crazy crackpot who drones on and on for hours about absolutely nothing. They want someone who’s going to hear their concerns, address their needs, and craft a deal that leaves both parties more profitable when they started. In essence – they want a consummate professional.

You know what isn’t professional? Polka dots. Cartoon characters. Shades of hot pink and neon blue. When you see these on an article of clothing, I don’t care if it was made in the office of Ralph Lauren’s CEO, it scream immatures and unprofessional. There’s something to be said about dynamic personalities in sales, and confidence is a must. But confidence is exuded in a well tailored suit in shades of charcoal gray or navy blue, not in a pair of socks with Peter Griffin from Family Guy in the stiching. Remember – you represent not only yourself during sales calls, but your entire company, so make sure your reputation becomes as refined as your business’.

Stick with the subdued colors in your dress – it makes you look like someone worth doing business with, and it keeps your personal traits concealed. That way, you show your cards only when you’re ready.

Always Wear a Quality Watch

When you look at a man, salesman or no, one of the tell tale signs of whether or not he has a shred of taste or professionalism at all will be in the watch he’s wearing. Since at least the mid-1800’s, quality watches have been used as an instant indicator of status, wealth, and taste for men from all walks of life. We slap them on our wrists nowadays, instead of on a pocket chain, but the principal remains as true then as it does today.

For a salesman, there is no resource more precious than time, both yours and your clients. I don’t care if you’ve been selling to someone for the past five years – if you’re wasting time talking about the weather, or about the fact new contract you just secured, you’re not prospecting, or working towards closing your next big commission. A watch is a visual reminder to value your own time, and a symbol of the respect that you have for others.

There are plenty of fine luxury watches out there, but no matter which you choose, make it sharp, make it stylish, and by God, keep an eye on the time, always.

Go Light on the Accessories

I’ve already made it plain that you need a watch, but outside of that, go easy on the accessories. You’re a salesman – not a pimp. If you’re decked out in more bling than an extra in a Lil’ Wayne music video, you won’t be taken seriously, and you certainly won’t inspire confidence that you’re the sales professional to close this deal successfully.

If you are going to accessorize, keep it simple, and wear pieces that speak to your accomplishments. A class ring, especially from one of the Ivy League colleges, is always a  welcome sight in business circles. You can also wear a simple gold or silver chain if you like – just keep it covered under your collar, until you’ve built up a relationship of trust between both your sales managers, and your clients.

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