This Realtor Changed His Attire And Saw His Life Change Before His Eyes

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Advantage

In 1987 the movie "Wall Street" hit the movie screen. In 1988 author John T. Molloy wrote the book "Dress for Success". From the late 80's through the mid 90's a lot of business people thought that a shirt and tie or a knock out business suit for ladies equaled success. 

To me, this is like saying that every business person in the United States should drive a BMW without regard to where one lives or what the culture of an area may be.

I read an article in the Realtor magazine in the 90's that really hit home to me the importance of looking at ones audience and knowing how to fit into that audience.

The article was about a Realtor in Florida by the name of Michael Davis (see I told you it impacted me!).  Mr. Davis was stuck at a certain sales volume that was in the range of 4-5 million dollars per year.  He drove something like a Mercedes, wore two and three piece suits, and advertised he was a top producer.

Out of frustration Mr. Davis contacted Hobbs Herder advertising for a complete analysis and makeover.

To make a long story short, Hobbs Herder gave him a list of changes. 1) Get rid of the suits and start wearing classy polo shirts and casual slacks, 2) Get rid of the Mercedes and buy a Land Rover, 3) Get rid of "Look at me advertising" and use advertising photos that include your children and or something you like doing.

Michael took the advice and within a year his volume was up 50%. By the following year his sales volume had more than doubled. He realized that for years he had failed to connect to the people he was helping.

The point here is to dress equal to your average client/customer and area.  Dress way over the norm and a client may feel they don't measure up or may feel you are making too much money on them.  The same goes for the car believe it or not. A Realtor in the rural town of  Moses Lake, Washington years ago purchased a Cadillac as a way to reward herself.  Her income dropped considerably that following year.  She got rid of the Cadillac and her income started to rise again.

No one wants to hear how great we are and that we are part of the "Multi-Million Dollar Club".  All they want to know is "what are you going to do for me?".

I had my own experience with attire. I wore a suit and tie in a small town of Idaho for 17 years. I remember that I would feel "less than" if I didn't wear a tie on a given day of the week.  My income was good but never great.  Several years ago the suit and ties were given to Good Will and I started wearing nice Polo shirts and nice casual pants. I did it because I just got tired of being someone that wasn't me. My income has increased every year since and I had a record year in 2006.

I started talking to a very important representative of Carl's Junior restaurant in 1998 regarding a new location for them in Idaho.  We spoke on the phone for 3 months before we met.  When we finally met the first thing out of his mouth was "Thank you for not wearing a stuffy tie"!  He was dressed more casual than me! We hit it off and I sold Carl's Junior a location here in Idaho.  I still have a very good relationship with them.

Bottom line is look at the average person you are working with in your market place.  Does the image you portray compliment the average type of people you will be working with or could it be giving off a message that isn't good for you?

Don't be what you may think you have to become to be successful.  The media tries to convince us we have to look a certain way.  Forget the media and just be who you are. Be yourself and be a person your clients can relate to in your attire, the car you drive, and how you promote yourself.

Be prepared, you never know what kind of people you may run into!

 Posted By: George Tallabas - Boise Idaho Real Estate Agent - Associate Broker 
with RE/MAX Advantage, Canyon Counties #1 Brokerage in sales and listings
specializing in Boise Idaho Real Estate and Southwest Idaho Real Estate.

 

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Native Idahoan and Boise Idaho Real Estate specialist serving Boise, Meridian Eagle, Nampa, Caldwell and the surrounding Treasure valley area of southwest Idaho. Specializing in residential, investment, land and commercial real estate. Search thousands of MLS listings at Boise Homes for sale and learn all about Idaho by visiting Search Idaho Homes

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Rainer
184,664
George Tallabas
RE/MAX Advantage - Nampa, ID
Idaho Real Estate
LOL....thank you Kaushik, have a great evening!
May 08, 2007 09:43 AM #220
Rainer
8,031
Tina Furtado
Moving to Marana - Tierra Antigua Realty - Marana, AZ
Realtor Tucson, AZ
I can't read all these comments but I had to pipe in here. Thanks so much George! As a new Realtor, I hear so much about looking successful to then become successful. I have to say, that line of thinking always made me wonder. If I look too successful, isn't the seller who is trying to hold onto as much of his return on investment in this lagging market going to strongly insist that I lower/slash my commission to give him a break?  Also, looking successful costs lots of money up front and as a new Realtor I have to look at my return on revenue ratio for all my marketing. Thanks George, from letting me know that my gut feeling has some merit!
May 08, 2007 10:28 AM #221
Rainer
184,664
George Tallabas
RE/MAX Advantage - Nampa, ID
Idaho Real Estate

Thanks Tina....I really appreciate your comments.  Dear, just remember the KISS formula and know that I am not calling you stupid dear.  I just mean to keep it simple.  By that I mean simply focus on relating to your clients.  Just dress good but simple and relate to those around you. Have a great day!

May 08, 2007 11:10 AM #222
Rainer
1,439
Robert McMurry
Century 21 Showcase REALTORS® - Boulder Creek, CA

Good points George.  I'm glad you pointed out the importance to "dress equal to your average client/customer and area."

 

Regards,

 

Robert

May 08, 2007 08:14 PM #223
Rainer
184,664
George Tallabas
RE/MAX Advantage - Nampa, ID
Idaho Real Estate
Thank you very much Robert....I appreciate your comments.
May 09, 2007 04:56 AM #224
Rainer
47,378
Jeff Fulgham
T.U.P. Realty - Tupelo, MS
Broker E-Pro ABR
I live in Mississippi and things are a bit more laid back here. I can usually be found in blue jeans and a polo. Some times I will even be caught in a pair of docker shorts,.
May 25, 2007 06:11 PM #225
Rainer
184,664
George Tallabas
RE/MAX Advantage - Nampa, ID
Idaho Real Estate
Good for you Jeff!  You are a man of the people...LOL  Have a great weekend!
May 26, 2007 10:39 AM #226
Rainer
5,908
Emilie Cueva
Prudential California Realty - Pittsburg, CA
REALTOR- SRES, AHWD, QSC

Hi, George!

Yes, it is very true that one's attire could sometimes if not all the time either make or break the message one intends to convey. It is always a good move to dress up appropriately to be able to relate effectively to the targeted market.

Thanks for posting this...

Jun 16, 2007 07:12 PM #227
Rainer
184,664
George Tallabas
RE/MAX Advantage - Nampa, ID
Idaho Real Estate
Emilie - you are very welcome and thank you for your comment. Have a great week.
Jun 18, 2007 02:15 AM #228
Rainmaker
223,433
Brian Brumpton
Keller Williams Boise - Boise, ID
Boise Idaho Real Estate

George,

Interesting take on matching your clients, I agree you can intimidate people with the way you dress, I would rather be over dressed than under.  I try to dress the way I want the people I do business with to dress.  I like my shirt and ties and most people who deal with me have come to expect it.  So it's become a branding thing.  I'm not sure on what potential clients think, although if you know how to develop rapport with prospects clothing should not be a factor. 

And FYI if you read the Pursuit of Happyness, you will find that was a part about him getting the job in a dirty tank top and pants with paint on them was entirely made up.  He carried a suit with him at all times.  The night in jail did help him land a job, and it was because he used it as a way to identify with the hiring manager about ex-wives.   

 

Jul 02, 2007 06:15 AM #229
Rainer
342,573
Anthea Click
Fresh Perspectives - www.InsideNashvilleHomes.com - Franklin, TN
Nashville Home Stager - Selling Nashville, TN homes quickly!

George,

So true! Relating to people is key. If you're selling multi-millon dollar homes, than ties are very appropriate but or the average Joe nice dress pants and a polo are professional, comfortable, and most of all approachable. Just how I would describe you based on your picture. Way to go!

Jul 02, 2007 09:57 AM #230
Rainer
184,664
George Tallabas
RE/MAX Advantage - Nampa, ID
Idaho Real Estate

Brian - Like I said...keep it simple my friend.  Every area is different and all I can tell you is what I wrote is fact and I have not wore a tie in years yet my business continues to fourish and grow each year.

Anthea - Thank you dear and as I wrote, I sold Carl's Junior a very expensive commercial property and no ties were involved and my attire was complimented.  I feel comfortable wearing what I wear whether I am selling a mobile home or million dollar mansion.

 

Jul 02, 2007 12:54 PM #231
Rainer
63,870
Joyce Heffner-Williams
Keller Williams Clients' Choice Realty - Monument, CO
Owner/Broker/EcoBroker - Monument Real Estate
Great advice!  Thanks for the sharing...
Aug 21, 2007 03:36 AM #232
Rainer
184,664
George Tallabas
RE/MAX Advantage - Nampa, ID
Idaho Real Estate
Troy - You are welcome and have a great day.
Aug 21, 2007 03:50 AM #233
Rainmaker
217,470
Yvette Chisholm
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Rockville, MD
Associate Broker - Rockville, MD 301-758-9500
Interesting advice....play to your audience.  In my area, people judge you by the car you drive.  As Lenn Harley says...'you can wear jeans if you carry a Gucci Purse!'
Aug 22, 2007 11:56 PM #234
Rainer
184,664
George Tallabas
RE/MAX Advantage - Nampa, ID
Idaho Real Estate
Thank you Yvette!  Have a great day with your jeans and Gucci Purse!
Aug 23, 2007 01:43 AM #235
Rainer
7,252
Angel Ochoa
Success Realty Inc. - El Paso, TX

When I began as a teacher and then again as a realtor, I wore shirts and ties, no suits, our city is way too hot, but nice.  In both cases, my clients connected to me more when I dressed casually, yet respectfully. 

Sep 09, 2007 05:48 AM #236
Rainer
184,664
George Tallabas
RE/MAX Advantage - Nampa, ID
Idaho Real Estate
Angel - Thanks for the comment and keep up what works for you.
Sep 09, 2007 05:53 AM #237
Rainmaker
179,177
Ann-Marie Clements
Candidate for an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership - Saint John, NB
Ed.D. candidate, Innovative Proactive Principa

Hi George,

Interesting article on clothing appearances... In my living all over North America & Italy, there is a given culture you must abide by or you are outcasted for the area...  Thanks for your input on attire... ;>))

May 13, 2010 04:24 AM #238
Anonymous
Monica

Casual here in Northeast Florida....spring/summer dresses, golf attire if on the golf course beach attire if networking on the beach....St Augustine is a tourist town so you don't see anybody in suits.... site agents are casual...polo shirts and chinos.....

May 14, 2010 03:39 AM #239
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