Active Rain March 2, 2011

People Buy Your Appearance Before They Buy Anything Else

I had a newer agent ask me yesterday if his wearing an earring was a bad idea. He had friends who said he shouldn’t.

It reminded me of my pre-real estate life as a sales manager for a publisher in the early 1990’s and the battles I had with some of my more youthful charges about dressing professionally. I recall a young, pretty 20-something who dressed like she was going to a nightclub and not a business meeting: short skirts, teased hair, lots of jewelry, and fingernails painted like the Sistine chapel. It was kitchen table sales, and when I accompanied her on calls, I would see husband’s eyes glaze over and wives get annoyed and impatient. Ironically, the agitation was not at her specifically- but they didn’t buy. I recall how offended she got at the notion that I was proposing that she not be herself. It is touchy. 

Like it or not, people judge us by our appearance. I could care less if a guy has an earring. But I’m not everyone. It speaks to judgment and credibility. If you have to ask yourself if appearing a certain way might put off a potential client or make you less than credible, the answer is probably yes. We sell homes to regular people. We aren’t selling high end art, interior design, or some other thing where dressing for the part is more Lady Gaga than Margaret Thatcher. Therefore, anything that might distract or draw attention to ourselves and off the subject at hand is a potential problem. 

It isn’t that somebody would say “I didn’t buy the house because the agent wore an earring.” They just might not buy what the agent said. In an industry where our product is often the trust in our word and advice, appearance, therefore, is part of our value proposition. If you don’t have the smarts to dress wisely, why would I bank on your real estate advice? I think my new agent’s friends gave him sage advice. 

With our audience in Westchester, you don’t have to think or vote conservative, but yes, dress conservative.