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Hey, Good Lookin'!

Every customer's crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed salesperson.

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This story appears in the November 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

I'm ever amazed by the undignified mien of many sales reps. Out of the hundreds I've met over the years, only about 10 percent have projected an image that inspired buying confidence. Salespeople have shown up late or not at all, looking like they'd slept in their cars or wearing suits even moths would reject. Sales pros in the 10 percent club have been men and women, youngish and more mature, but they've had much in common: All were well-dressed and well-groomed, and had a relaxed and courteous communication style. I trust these people with my clients' money, the biggest compliment I can bestow.

Your sales reps are hired to fly the flag of your brand and champion your business. Their image is your image, and if they blunder, your company suffers. "If a salesperson is poorly groomed or their clothes aren't pressed, the product is cheapened, and the sale is in jeopardy," warns J. Kevin Hand, president and CEO of Hand & Associates, an image enhancement company in Los Angeles. Hand says executives view a positive image as essential for success. "It's the packaging that makes the ultimate difference," he says.

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