Tonya Reiman

 Body Language Expert

Author, Speaker, Consultant, Spokesperson & Media Personality

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In this do or die field, if you are careless about your appearance, you die. You might be selling a combination computer coffee machine that also makes julienne fries, but if your appearance doesn't pass muster, your sales figures go down and takes you with it. This is one profession where that all important first impression counts for about oh almost 100 percent of client decisions. And this impression is made even before introductions are completed. Which means it is a purely visual process requiring no commentary.  

While your impressions of the client might not be that important, their thoughts about you are very relevant to the outcome. So part of your job description would be to make yourself irresistible. A dark coloured suit in good condition and impeccable fit, is a must have. There's no such thing as business casual in sales. You can't go wrong in a white shirt. A medium width tie that just stops short of choking, adds to your personality. Women should avoid dangerously low necks, ultra short skirts, and long hair left untied, if you want to be taken seriously. Neutral coloured suits with either slacks or skirts are just right for that professional look.  

Personal grooming is definitely called for. Shower, shave, scrub, scrape, scruff, brush, floss, rinse, do whatever it takes to look as fresh as a daisy. Also keep your teeth clean and white. Your hairstyle says a lot about you, so it would be a good idea to silence it with a neat, groomed look. Your shoes, briefcase or handbag should not appear scruffy and worn. Shabby chic will not be appreciated in sales. Your personal accessories should be limited to small pieces of jewelry for the ear for women, and it would be a good idea for men to desist. Any other visible body piercing might send strong signals of immaturity or irresponsibility, which though not acknowledged consciously, might wreak havoc at unconscious levels. Strong perfumes and colognes are best avoided as they can be distracting. The best scents are the natural ones – sandalwood for men, musky scents for women. Your hands are going to be on display a lot; so keep them manicured and clean.  

Your appearance is especially important if you are meeting a client for the first time. Subsequent meetings may be on a different level since impressions about you have already been formed and filed. Even so, it would be a good idea to maintain your smart look and not dress down drastically. This may prompt the client to believe you were putting on a show and you are not the suave, confident individual you led them to believe you were. Once seeds of distrust have been sown they can become rampant like dandelions and be rather hard to get rid of. So cultivate an image and stick to it.  

It would be equally disastrous if you were to go overboard with the wardrobe. It would definitely be a bad idea to flaunt designer clothes and accessories as if you wouldn't be caught dead without it. You might intimidate some clients, and disgust others. How you dress in your own time is entirely up to your inclinations, but at a meeting keep it simple yet classy. It would be a good idea to tidy up your car and keep the interiors clean in case you need to offer a ride, and it is accepted. It wouldn’t go with your image if you have to keep the client teetering on the curb while you haul armloads of stuff from the backseat into the boot.

Appearance in Sales

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