In a world where first impressions are lasting, your personal presentation speaks first so you will need to make a positive impression fast. The most important thing to remember is that ‘people deal with people they like and are like them’. What this means is that the ‘deal’ will only be done if the personalities/relationships of the individuals lineup. This is why it pays to be personable and approachable, and posses an ability to adapt to your client and surroundings.
Different industries and professions call for different attire. Some companies have uniforms in place for their staff to show a certain company image of being united and professional. Other companies prefer their staff to dress themselves in accordance to company’s brand and position. Whichever method you belong to there are some basic guidelines;
Make sure your clothing is clean and ironed beautifully. Best to do this the day before to ensure you are not rushed the day of. If you wear a uniform, know when to get a replacement as wear and tear is actually a reverse image of what your company is trying to create.
Wear and tear not only applies to your clothing but also to your personal belongings ie: bags, handbags, shoes and props. If these items are getting worn out replace them immediately.
If you have an occupation where you’re mostly on the road, get into the habit of keeping spare clothing in the car. A long day of driving around and seeing clients should not be to the disadvantage of your last client for that day.
For those that don’t not wear a uniform, the image you want to create must be respectful and business-like. For men a suit, collared shirt, silk tie, nice socks and shoes. For women a suit, blouse and heels are always winners. Dresses for women are acceptable, if the look remains business-like. Once again, your clientele and the company image will determine the look.
Accessories like jewelry should be kept to a minimum and in accordance to your company standards. Remember, even though you’re dressing to your 9s, you’re still at work and representing a brand. Ladies, wrapping a silk scarf around your handbag is fine as this displays a level of sophistication which is a good thing.
First impressions are everything, so it’s very important that your attire is presentable ie: no wrinkles, stains or worn out clothes. You’re a role model, an example, even a product that your client is investing in. Whether you own a cafe, are an architect or a service associate in a retail store, follow etiquette and dress codes. Quality clothing will make a lasting impression so for those that can choose their attire invest, invest and invest! Think handmade items from artisans in England and Italy, bespoke or custom made clothing, and designer items. These outshine the rest and will not only impress but boost your confidence too.
Put simply, appearance is an appreciation for your client and the meeting. Lorii Myers in Targeting Success explains this concept excellently – Your appearance, attitude, and confidence define you as a person. A professional, well-dressed golfer, like a businessperson, gives the impression that he thinks that the golf course and/or workplace and the people there are important.
It’s pretty easy for the lads! Men need to be cleanly shaven or maintain a well-groomed beard. Have regular haircuts to look polished. Make sure your hands are clean and well manicured.
Women seem to be effortless with this task compared to men. Always have your hair, makeup and nails done. Your look needs to display that you’re naturally beautiful and didn’t need much effort to look that way.
Body shape for men and women is very important if you are conscious of your overall look. Clothing actually sits and appears to look better on athletic builds than any other body shape.
Up next: A guide to meeting the next client – Part two