7 months ago
February 21, 2017

The Only 3 Fashion Rules Salespeople Need To Know

Looking to take your sales game to the next level? Try elevating your clothing, too. Keep in mind these 3 fashion rules for salespeople.

Rhys Metler

The Advertising Specialty Institute just published a new fashion guide for anyone interested in a sales career. The feature, “The Ultimate Guide to the Stylish Salesperson’s Wardrobe,” has comprehensive advice for salesmen and women, but also covers what’s become well-trod ground.

While fashion do’s and don’ts can be a valuable form of sales career advice for the fashion challenged, there are really only three fashion rules any sales person needs to know, whether you’re trying to close a deal or looking for the best sales jobs in town.

Obviously, clothing alone won’t help you find sales career opportunities—however, dressing inappropriately could get you banished from sales recruitment agencies. While some people might think it’s snotty to judge someone by their clothing, knowing how to dress is simply part of being a grown-up. So if you’re looking for sales career advice to push your career forward, do not commit a fashion faux pas.

Fortunately, we can teach you everything you need to know about fashion with three simple rules!

Rule #3: Always Dress for the Occasion

If it seems obvious, that’s because it is.

We don’t need to create an exhaustive flowchart of possible clothing options, styles, and accessories, and then match them to a specific type of event or meeting. Not only is dressing for the occasion vital sales career advice, but also one of the most basic rules of fashion. While some people can get away with bold fashion statements, most sales people choose to blend in with the crowd. 

You don’t want to overdress or underdress; you want to find the outfit that’s just right for the occasion.

Rule #2: Know Your Audience

A software salesman at an ultra-hip startup in Santa Monica, California might be able to go to a meeting wearing a t-shirt while most sales people would feel underdressed in anything less than a tie or formal dress. If you’re selling heavy equipment in the American south, then you might get laughed at for showing up to a worksite in a suit and tie, or a pantsuit and heels if you’re a saleswoman.

This doesn’t mean you should totally change the way you dress every time you meet a new client. It’s a delicate balance, but a necessary one. 

Rule #1: Know Thyself

Finally, there’s the single most important rule of fashion. This might sound trite, but that doesn’t make it less true: be yourself.

Rather, be yourself, within reason. Obviously, you don’t want to show up to a meeting with sales recruiting firms wearing your favorite Dr. Who-themed cocktail dress, nor would you go to close a deal wearing your favorite flannel shirt. Save those outfits for the weekend. 

Both men’s and women’s fashion provides opportunities to express yourself in small ways. Women have more freedom in this regard, with a wide number of accessories at their disposal to accent their wardrobe, from shoes and handbags to nail polish and jewelry. Still, men can use a favorite tie or watch to put a personal touch on business casual, too.

So long as you don’t cross the line into tacky, feel free to personalize your wardrobe (so long as you’re following rules two and three).

Of course, your talent and connections have far more bearing on your sales career path than the clothes you wear.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.