It’s been ages since author John Malloy penned the bestselling book “Dress for Success.” It was back in the ’70s, in fact. With businesses — from tech companies to major corporations — instituting everything from casual Fridays to casual dress codes for every single day of the week, the idea of “dressing for success” may seem a bit antiquated.

Not so with the sales industry. No matter how much dress codes have evolved, if you’re in the sales business you still must consider the importance of dressing the part — especially if you have clients and prospects in a wide range of companies.

Steve Cody, co-founder of Peppercomm, a communications and PR firm, said what you wear could be a deal-breaker in some situations. He recently shared that his company has gained and lost clients because of what his team was wearing. “It’s critical to wear the right clothes at the right time at the right place,” he said. “We’ve actually lost pitches because our team either over or underdressed.”

Here are 4 tips on getting the dress signals right before meeting with a client:

  1. Consider the prospect. You can make a few assumptions when determining what to wear before meeting with a client. Have an appointment with a financial institution or a Fortune 500 company? While you don’t necessarily have to wear a complete suit with a tie or scarf, a crisp white shirt and dress pants or a tailored skirt can be ideal for your presentation. On the other hand, more casual attire can be more appropriate for a tech company. Dressing appropriately is one step in making yourself relatable to your prospects.
  1. Don’t overdo it. While it’s important to relate to your prospects, don’t go overboard in trying to imitate them. Don’t show up in cowboy boots or a three-piece Versace suit if you know you’ll feel stiff and uncomfortable in them. Along the same lines, don’t overdo it with the cologne. You don’t want to cause a distraction.
  1. Simply ask for advice. Cody of Peppercomm does. I always ask a prospective client how our team should dress before making a presentation,” he said. “It’s that important.”
  1. Follow norms for the region. If your sales territory includes different regions, by all means, take that into consideration when dressing for your appointments. New York, for instance, will have a completely different vibe than California, Texas or Florida. When in doubt, it doesn’t hurt to go back to Step #3.

Times have changed for those working in the sales industry, and not just the rules about how to dress for an appointment. MonsterConnect can help you streamline your operations with our sales prospecting enablement tool. Contact us to find out how.

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