Not to sound superficial but I dig these transformation pictures. It’s touching to see a person’s dignity restored after they’ve fallen on rough times. Right or wrong we’re judged on our appearance: Is this person successful, happy, confident, competent, educated. Often times our own conduct changes accordingly.
I took a visual survey of my clients yesterday. 15 professional salesmen. Lots of black shirts (when did black become the official color of the service industry?). Tennis shoes. Carhartts. Jeans. Polos. A few hats. A few goatees. The uniform of the trades.
I asked the group: Would you wear these clothes to a job interview? Someone said, “We’re not applying for a job.” And then the point hit home.
When you’re in sales you’re always applying for a job.
A sales appointment is an interview. Customers are interviewing candidates–searching for the right fit, the person that will be the greatest asset, help them make the most progress, and is the most credible. Salespeople should prepare for an appointment as if they’re preparing for a job interview:
Step up your appearance game. People rationalize their way out of improving their appearance (“I have to get in an attic” or “Dressing like a service technician helps me build trust.”). But when you apply for a job you design your appearance in order to make a positive and professional first impression.
Prepare for the interview. Before an interview you research the company, double-check your facts, bring relevant materials, rehearse sample questions, get a good nights sleep, and show up early to the appointment. If you want to be hired, because you want to be hired, you work hard to be better prepared and crisper than other candidates.
The WOW factor. It’s important to share your uniqueness when interviewing. You want the potential employer to know that you’re bringing skills and experience that are uncommon and valuable. You demonstrate scarcity.
People hire Progress. Employers hire candidates that help them progress, move forward, attain goals and objectives. During an interview you’ll talk about your wins, share success stories, illustrate unique solutions. You’ll work very hard to demonstrate your ability to help a company move forward.
Follow-through. Smart candidates follow-through with open issues, thank you letters, and respectful phone calls. They demonstrate care and that they’re motivated to earn the job.
There’s nothing genius about these recommendations. They’re tried and true for anyone applying for a job. Unfortunately salespeople in the service industry disregarded them every day. We’ve become lackadaisical about our pre-call preparation, our professional appearance, our presentation skills, our follow-through. We’ve forgotten that before you can sell anything the customer has to hire you.
A recommendation: Stop trying to sell and start applying for jobs.