Although it’s very common to say that looks don’t matter in a sales job and you shouldn’t judge anyone with their looks, the reality is that looks does matter. Now we are not talking about physical beauty or the very concept of being beautiful or handsome but we are talking here about a general appearance of people. Whether we like it or not, the human mind makes decisions whether they can trust someone in a split of a second and generally they make this decision by judging the appearance of a person. On your first encounter with another person, you must come across someone who can be trust worthy, dependable and has the best interest of the other person.
There are some reasons why you should care about your looks. The following points will reinforce the point put forward:
If you’re attractive, people assume you have other positive traits as well.
Due to an effect called the Halo effect, people tend to make positive assumptions about someone based on some other positive points. In this case, a good appearance can make people automatically assume that the person will have some other positive traits. We all can agree how useful it will be in an interview.
Based on your facial features, people make an assumption about your leadership skills
Masculine faces, characterized by features such as a squared face, strong jawline, pronounced eyebrows, and thin eyes and lips—are typically judged as more dominant. Dominant-looking individuals are more likely to be judged as leaders, but they’re also rated as appearing less trustworthy. n the other hand, stereotypical “feminine” features such as a round face, big eyes, small eyebrows, and full lips—tend to cue associations of trustworthiness.
The Right Clothes Can Increase Your Chances of Being Promoted
According to a survey by OfficeTeam, 80% of executives say an employee’s clothing choices will affect his or her chances of earning a promotion. Dressing right for the type of organisation you work for can increase your chances of getting promoted. Different organisation have different dressing standards. Wearing jeans and t-shirt with a quirky quote may work in a start up with a hippy culture but is a strict no no in a management consulting company or a bank for that matter.
Now coming to the topic of why grooming is important for salespersons. Let us understand the anatomy of a salespersons job. A salesperson is trying to sell products or services that his or her company makes to another company, group or individual. They are asking someone to willingly part with their money and buy the product/ service. One would only buy from a salesperson if he or she appears trustworthy, reliable, and can cultivate a relationship with the buyer. The product performance or service guarantee comes later. The initial thought that goes through a buyer is that whether or not the buyer’s best interest is with the sales person. We have just now established that people make split second judgement about whether they can trust you or not based on your appearance. Truth be told, you cannot do much about your face or your height etc. But you can certainly do something about the way you dress, the way you style your hair, the accessories you wear etc. The goal is to look trustworthy to the buyer. But don’t just fool them with your appearance. You should actually have the best interest of the buyer if you want to do repeat business with them.
A sales executive is often the first point of contact between an organization and a prospective customer
The good impression that the sales staff creates in the mind of the prospective customer in his first meeting often paves the way for subsequent meetings and future sales. The first impression, therefore, is very crucial. One needs to ensure that the sales person is well groomed to leave a positive impression in the prospects’ mind. Grooming involves not just the physical appearance but also the other finer personality traits like body language, mannerisms and etiquette. In today’s competitive business scenario, managers and business owners cannot afford to overlook the grooming of their sales personnel. Here, are a few compelling reasons why a business owner or entrepreneur should pay attention to see if his sales force is well groomed or not.
Helps in creating a good first impression
A sales person has to look presentable. If a customer is not pleased with the way a sales person looks, he may not connect with the person. In the case of a retail store, the customer entering the store may not walk up to the sales person. In other cases, the customer may not like to continue his interaction with the staff and may cut the meeting short. Personal appearance is the first puller. People judge others by their external appearance. A person?s clothes, at least to a certain extent, reveal his personality and character.
Increases the likeability factor of the staff
No customer would like to deal with a staff member who does not have a professional body language and lacks polite manners and good etiquette. A well-mannered and well-behaved sales person always leaves a positive impression of himself and is often sought after by customers. He can better handle tricky situations and difficult customers. Body language, which includes facial expressions, gestures and postures, conveys a lot about the staff and his credibility. He, should, therefore, be careful not to convey anything undesirable to the prospect unknowingly. A proper grooming session for the sales people can ensure that they are properly trained and made aware of all these essential points.
Builds brand Image
How the staff presents himself on the job not only impacts his own success but also reflects on the whole organization and affects its good reputation. A shabbily dressed or untidy staff can ruin the reputation of the whole organization. On the contrary, a well-dressed and well-groomed salesman executes confidence and reflects a professional attitude, not only of himself but also the company he represents. It contributes to building trustworthiness and respect for the company and the brand.
Makes the sales people more confident
Good grooming habits are also essential for the confidence level of the staff personnel. Good grooming makes the staff more attractive thereby boosting their own confidence. Needless to say, a sales person with high confidence can contribute better to increasing the sales of the company.
Now we will discuss about how a company can improve the overall grooming of their sales staff or how you as a salesperson can groom yourself better.
Make personal grooming a part of their training program
All companies provide some sort of training to their sales force and this mostly includes technical training to help the sales force to know about the company, the product or services they sell, about their customers etc. But it is important for companies to also include personal grooming sessions for their sales force. I am not talking about just a soft skills session which covers topics like communication, body language etc. Here I am suggesting broader soft skills by including how to dress appropriately, how to keep your hairs and beard, how to groom your overall personality, how to approach and talk with the customers, how to eat when dining out with your clients etc. These training will provide an overall grooming mind-set to the salesforce.
Make such trainings periodic
A one off training will not be sufficient for your sales force to improve their overall grooming standards. It is important to have such periodic trainings and also take feedback from the sales force about these trainings. Grooming standards change and so should the trainings for these. The trainings must be industry relevant.
Make grooming accountable
Shabby, ill dressed, bad mannered sales force should be checked. A sales force is the fist point of contact for a company to its customer. One cannot afford to leave a shabby experience for the customer in today’s competitive business world. They need to find out the best groomed sales persons among their sales force and reward them appropriately. It is important here to use positive reinforcement to develop the habit of self-grooming rather than negative reinforcement. Sales personnel should not be punished for not maintaining grooming standards but rather those who maintain and excel in grooming should be rewarded appropriately. Your sales force should see grooming as a way to advance in their career and not as a deterrent to keep their jobs in place. Having a growth mind-set towards grooming will benefit both the sales force and the company.
Now that we have established that grooming is important and companies should pay attention to grooming their salesforce and making them accountable for their grooming standards, let us now understand how you as an individual can groom yourself better and appear more professional
You need to dress according to the people you are going to meet. If you are meeting top executives, a suit with a tie is a must. Make sure you have a professional haircut and no visible tattoos on your body. Tattoos on your wrist will not be a big problem. If you are pitching to a new age startup, you can dress up in smart casuals or business casuals and appear more hip. Its more about grooming according to the clients you are likely to encounter.
Here is an interesting video of dressing like Harvey Spectre, who is a character in a TV series called Suits and is widely admired for his impeccable dressing sense: Harvey Specter Style
For women, here is a video that will give you the basics of dressing up for work: 10 WORKWEAR ESSENTIALS Every Woman Needs to Own
Watch how you eat
You eating tells a lot about you. Meeting top executives usually involves dinner or a lunch. It is important to remember all those fine dining etiquettes about how to eat with a spoon, how to chew and how to tip the waiter. In a sales meeting, you are representing your company and you will be judged continuously especially if it is a new client. Here is a link to a video that I found interesting: Basic Dining Etiquette. You can find similar videos and learn about the same sitting at your home. Practise it at your home to perfect it!
Improve your communication skills
Your communication is as much about grooming as your physical appearance is. A well-groomed person with poor communication skills is as good as a pizza without cheese. No one likes it. In your training sessions, you will be given communication lessons and theories and we all know how boring it gets. It is on the individual level how they take forward what they learnt in those trainings. Communicate with your fellow sales colleagues or with yourself. Watch videos of famous orators on YouTube. Here is a one which I find will help those who want to improve their communication skills: How to speak so that people want to listen.
Looking good isn’t self important, its self-respect.
Studies have found that a person’s credibility, professionalism, intelligence and sophistication levels are judged solely from his or her personal appearance. However much one may ignore the fact still remains that a person’s appearance does influence the opinions of people around him. Of course, looks and personality are not the only factors which contribute to a sales person’s success. Knowledge is crucial for a sales job but more only knowledge is not sufficient. You need to match it up with your grooming skills too. Nevertheless, they play a crucial role in pushing up sales.
Owners and managers need to educate their sales people about the importance of grooming and how it can impact not only their own careers but also the growth of the company. A company’s responsibility does not end with providing uniforms for their sales people. Companies should lay down grooming policies so that the staff members know what is expected from them. Companies and organizations must also make sure that the staff, especially those in the sales department, knows how a professional body language, polite manners and good etiquette can be used to win over customers.
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