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.