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Friday, July 27, 2007

Dress for Success, Secure more Sales

In sales, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. People buy trust, they buy honesty and credibility, so you have to dress appropriately (I always try to dress a smart, remember, you can always dress down by taking off a tie or jacket).

When I first started selling many years ago, I had been a musician before. I entered the profession thinking that I was quite a snappy dresser. I used to wear pale blue suits, colored shirts and expressive ties and I was successful, but I was successful only with young people, I never reached first base with professionals, why, because I didn’t look the part.

A fortunate thing happened to me, after about a year in the business, a new manager was appointed as my boss and he came over from England. He took one look at me and told me to ‘get rid of the clown outfits’ and made me change my dress to dark suits, white shirts, lace up black shoes and conservative ties and that’s what I have worn ever since. Those changes moved my market, tripled my average sale and made me successful in the professional and executive market.
It’s the big things that count and the small things that make the massive difference. Think about things that we take for granted, dirty nails, bad breath, scuffed shoes, chewed up ballpoint pen and many other small things can turn off a potential client before you even start to sell.
If you go out and you have a beer with a client at lunchtime, before you go into the next client, get some mints or breath freshener because the first thing that the new prospect smells is beer on your breath and remember in the first thirty seconds they are going to make a decision, do they think you’re credible and someone they want to do business with. So dress for success, make sure your briefcase is the best briefcase you can afford. If you can’t afford a gold pen, get a gold plated pen, fake it until you make it, but look professional.

Remember to smile. You know if you smile, they’re going to smile back at you. Look into their eyes and greet them with a good handshake. Ensure that your body language is always open. People like to do business with people similar to themselves, so with the handshake give as much pressure as you’re getting from the other person. If they speak softly, so do you, if the speak quickly, so do you. Can you imagine if you naturally speak loudly all the time and meet someone who is quietly spoken, he is going to think you are not his type of person if you are loud, overbearing and brash? People like to do business with people similar to themselves. This is called NeuroLinguisticProgramming and in my 6 CD audio series called ‘
NLP for Sales’ I cover this comprehensively.

Next, you have to reduce tension levels and develop commonality. For me the easiest way of doing this is to get people to speak about themselves. For many years now, I’ve used a method called ‘past, present and future’. Starting with his past, I might say “this is amazing, you’ve got this great position with this huge company, how did you get started?” Now nobody’s asked him that question for years and he is really proud of his progress with the company, so he will spend some time telling me about this. The next question would be about the present situation. “So tell me about your position at the moment, how are things going, how many offices do you have?” This is the time to just keep quiet and listen. The next question is about the future and with this question you’ll learn a lot about you client and his aspirations, ambitions and goals for the future. “Where do you see yourself in five or ten years time or at retirement?” and you just keep quiet. Now he’s going to tell you about his dreams and his aspirations and if you are smart, you will pick up many buying signals. These are the emotions, these are the reasons that they’re going to buy from you, so remember to use past, present and future.

Right now I am an International motivational speaker specialising in sales and technology, but where I learned my selling was in financial services where I qualified amongst the top half percent of salespeople in the world at the Million Dollar Round Table ‘Top of the Table’ level.

I used all of the methods explained above and these are also detailed in my comprehensive 15 CD/DVD resource Sales Strategies for Financial Advisors (

For more articles, please take a look at my website and please download complimentary eBooks and software at

Frank Furness CSP CFP is a professional speaker and trainer specialising in sales and technology. He has educated, entertained and inspired audiences in 42 countries. His publications and sales CDs have been sold globally. He is the author of ‘Walking with Tigers - Success Secrets of Exceptional Achievers’ which is available from
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