For better or worse people we meet during the business day are sizing us up so quickly, that we often haven’t even said a word before they have decided whether to do business with us. We’ve all heard of love at first sight, what about business deals at first sight? If that were the name of this article though it should be “Lost Business Deals at First Sight”, since unfortunately that is the problem with many peoples’ visual image. They more often sabotage a possible business deal than enhance it.
We can all agree that we’re most likely to buy things or do business with people that we trust, people that we’re comfortable with, people that may remind us of ourselves. The key is that we need to keep our authentic self while still appearing consistent with our customer’s perception of us. The best way is to start with our customer’s image in mind and adjust it to suit our needs. Are your key clients in conservative industries like banking or insurance? Then you want to dress in neutral colors, classic styles and simple accessories. Are your clients in the fashion or beauty industry? Then you need to be trendier, more colorful and creative. Technology industry calls for casual and comfortable, while manufacturing would be practical and professional.
Always consider your ideal client when building your business wardrobe; buy styles that flatter you but are in keeping with your client’s perception and industry standards. If you are like me and are involved with meeting different types of people throughout the day then dress for the most formal of those meetings. You can always remove a jacket or tie and roll up your sleeves if the situation calls for it. But you can’t pull one from thin air! Besides you’re less likely to get eliminated from consideration because you are overdressed.
There are several key looks you should avoid in any situation: ill-fitting or worn out clothing, shoes that are inappropriate or in poor condition (this is a key detail for many people and can be a deal breaker), odd-color nail polish, tattoos or extra piercings, overly bright or unflattering colors, and large patterns. If you dress with your more conservative clients in mind you can add accessories and trendier pieces without sacrificing the integrity of the real you.