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Sales strategies that will increase the bottom line

How Casual Dress Can Affect The Bottom Line

Posted by completesalesmanagement on August 22, 2008

By Robert Estupinian

As a sales consultant, I was recently invited to visit a company that was contemplating increase the size of their sales force.  As I have mentioned before in this blog, it is always important to review what has been done in the past as well as what is currently being done in order to obtain a good view of the opportunities and challenges that are present. 

This company focuses on selling B to B and most of the sales are obtained from the sales force going out and meeting with prospects face to face. What struck me rather odd was the attire of the entire sales team. All of them were dressed in a very casual manner.  As I asked about the dress code I was told that a lot of the business that they call on have the same dress down environment and that they were just matching what they encountered in the field.  As we continued to evaluate the performance of the sales force the numbers clearly indicated that it was mediocre at best.  I suggested that we analyze what was behind the low numbers before we brought in more salespeople. The first thing I wonder about was the dress code.

When a salesperson walks into a prospects office they are instantly conveying to that prospect who they are, who the company is that they represent, the quality of their product/ service, and many other non verbal communications.  often what occurs in many presentations is a cognitive dissonance between what the salesperson is saying and what they are conveying non verbally.  What they are wearing and their overall grooming speaks volumes and is often something that is taken for granted by management.

Research has shown that the way a person is dressed will impact their performance either in a good way or a bad way. Let’s take a look at two areas.

The confidence of the salesperson

One reason to maintain a professional and formal dress code is that it will impact subconsciously the confidence of the salesperson making the call.  Most people will agree that you tend to be more relaxed in your speech and mannerisms when we are dressed casually.  In contrast when we are dressed professionally and are properly groomed, you feel confident and usually are more mentally alter. These thoughts and attitudes show up in the presentation.


The perceived value of your product or service

Many years ago I saw a sizable real estate transaction questioned and almost lost at the end simply because the real estate agent presented the buyer with a low cost ball point pen at the contract signing appointment.  When a salesperson is selling a top end product their attire and all the other items they carry need to reflect that same level of quality.  Otherwise there is a subconscious disconnect that occurs in the prospects mind. Of course the prospect will never tell the salesperson that there is this disconnect.  Rather it shows up in lack of sales.


Now  I do not intend to state that improving the appearance of the sales force will automatically translate into higher sales.  Rather it will help in preventing additional distractions to take away from the sales efforts that are being made. When we look at some of the  top sales forces in the world we can see that without exception they all maintain a tight control over the appearance of their salespeople. Benchmarking and comparing against the best in the world is always a winning strategy





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