Dress for Success in Direct Sales
There was a time when the concept of dressing for success was all over the news and media. Public speakers shared tips and ideas in dress for success seminars. Radio talk shows interviewed dress for success authors. Television shows invited guests to demonstrate ways viewers could dress for success.
But like many fads, this one seems to have gone by the wayside. The problem with that is it’s still important to dress for success when you’re in business. Even if your business is direct sales.
Sometimes we treat direct sales more casually than we might treat another business such as working in an office or a retail store. But selling directly to your customer never eliminates your need to be professional in everything you say and do, as well as how you look.
Dressing for success goes beyond simply the clothes you wear although that’s an important aspect of it. But dressing for success also encompasses your personal hygiene, hairstyle, shoes and more. Anything that affects the way you look to others affects whether or not they’ll do business with you. Sure, you can sell to your family and friends regardless of what you wear or how you look. But there’s going to come a time when your family and friends can’t support your business any longer. You’ll want to expand your customer base. And when you do, that’s when you’re going to want to do everything possible to present a professional public image.
Now don’t think that professional has to mean stuffy, stodgy or shrewish. Professional simply means neat, clean, well pressed and attractive. You can still wear your funky jewelry and your casual slacks… though you might want to avoid blue jeans except in certain settings.
The idea is to look your personal best. But only you can decide what that truly means. Here are a few things to take into consider where your image is concerned.
• Shower or bathe regularly. Body odor is very offensive to others and you certainly don’t want it to drive your customers away.
• Comb your hair, keep your make-up in order and keep your nails trim and neat.
• Brush your teeth and make sure your breath smells fresh. If there’s a chance it might not, use a breath mint or spray rather than gum which can be annoying.
• While casual clothes are perfectly acceptable, opt for business casual rather than overly casual sweats or jeans. Wear shirts that are neither too low-cut or too short, and pants that cover you fully.
• If you choose a skirt, be sure it’s a reasonable length. Above-the-knee lengths can be flattering, but consider whether you’ll be sitting or kneeling and plan appropriately.
• Minimal jewelry is better than too much. Several bangles are fun for a night on the town but if you’re doing a presentation where you use your hands a lot, they can be distracting. The same applies for every aspect of your apparel. YOu’ll want to look your best without drawing attention to any one aspect of your appearance.
The idea is to think of your customers, what they expect, and how they perceive you as a direct sales professional. Since you can reasonably be going into their home, you certainly don’t want to offend. It’s better to err on the side of conservative and save your wilder, freer look for times with your family and friends when you’re not trying to earn a living or sell products.