The Proper Dress Code For People Who Work in Sales

Posted on October 29, 2019

Ryan Stewman



One of the things that we discuss a lot as salespeople is proper dress code. In sales, how you dress is the name of the game. You must dress to impress, of course, but sometimes we can overdo it. 

The way you dress and the way you look overall as a salesperson, matters in every single deal. 

If you look like 10 million bucks, the customer will judge you like they’re part of your fortune, and that you just want their money. They can give you a really hard time. 

If you look like you got drunk, passed out and slept next to a garbage can last night, the prospect will not trust you or give you their business. 

How you smell matters to your prospects also. If you smell like cigarettes and shit sandwiches, people won’t want to be around you. Therefore, they won’t give you the time to close them. 

I always have Listerine strips in my pocket. They’re little mouthwash strips that come in a tiny packet that I use regularly throughout the day.

I also make sure that I have on cologne and my clothes are clean. This is another reason that I don’t smoke cigarettes or stand around onions or microwave fish—I want to smell clean. 

On the subject of dressing right, let me give you an example of when dressing too nice can cost you a sale. 

If I go back to the finance area in a car dealership and I notice the finance guy, who is wearing slacks and a tie is also wearing a spendy Rolex, I’m going to re-review and re-negotiate every single item on my paperwork. Not because I’m a pretentious asshole but because I know that if a guy who works at a car dealership has enough expendable income to throw away $20,000 or $30,000 on a watch, I better watch how he’s writing my deal. He’s gotta be hiding money in there somewhere. 

Now, if I go to that same finance guy who is wearing slacks, tie and a button-down as well as an $8,000 Rolex, I won’t think twice about it. That’s a reasonable investment for him.

I went to an investment meeting once where one of the hosts was about 25 years old. I wore the typical entrepreneur uniform to the meeting: black shirt, jeans and shoes with no fancy colors or anything extravagant. 

This guy was wearing a $10,000 suit, gold chain and Gucci loafers with crazy patterns on them.

On top of that, he had a $20,000 Rolex, so altogether, his wardrobe was somewhere around $50,000. 

As an investor, it just didn’t sit right with me that someone would invest $50,000 in their wardrobe and expect me to trust them with my cash. I would never invest $1,000 in my daily wardrobe, and I don’t own a $20,000 watch. I literally have a collection of Rolexes and none of them cost me $20,000. 

On the flip side, I once went into an insurance agent’s office. The agent had on a band T-shirt with jeans and sneakers. When I left, I felt like the guy didn’t care enough to at least dress normal in a business setting around me. 

Now, you might think I’m a pretentious or picky asshole when it comes to how salespeople dress, but I’m not alone. As a sales professional, I have noticed these details before, and I know others have.

The reason they call me the Hardcore Closer is because I am the master of handling objections.

The easiest way to handle and get around an objection is to avoid the objection upfront. Your clothes and appearance have everything to do with creating objections.

So, if I know that how I look and smell might create objections, I’m going to dress well and smell good so those objections will not come up. That’s one less conversation I have to have that gets me closer to the sale.

That’s the key to handling sales objections proactively.

Whether you realize it or not, the way that you dress, the way that your hair looks, the way that you smell, the car that you drive, and the watch you wear, etc., all matters in the eyes of the prospect. If you’re doing your damnedest trying to impress them instead of close them, you’re gonna get in trouble. 

Here’s the proper dress code for the sales professional. 

  1. If you’re in a business that allows you to wear jeans, wear nice jeans—as long as they’re clean, normal length, and not baggy or too tight. They should be fashionable and appropriate. If you do wear jeans, ask yourself what kind of shoes you should wear with those jeans. Sneakers should never be a thing unless you sell sneakers. And when I say sneakers, I mean, hightop basketball shoes. I prefer loafer shoes like Vans. If I have to wear dress shoes on the job, I go to a place like Nordstrom or Aldo to find something that’s fashionable yet not busy or flashy. You don’t want to wear Gucci loafers with diamond rhinestones, or Christian Louboutin shoes. Wearing those gives off the signal that you’re making too much money off your prospects. It makes them nervous. 
  2. If you can’t wear jeans to work, make sure your slacks are custom-fitted. Don’t wear baggy pants. Even if you don’t have a lot of money, it’s easy to get custom-fitted slacks. You can buy a pair of $50 slacks from Kohl’s, TJ Maxx or Ross, then take them to a tailor who will take in the ass, measure your length and make sure that your crotch isn’t hanging—all for about $30. You don’t wanna look like you just bought those pants for the job either. The pants should fit you perfectly like they were made for you. 
  3. The same thing goes for a shirt. If you work in a professional sales environment you most likely need to wear a polo shirt or button-up shirt. In this day and age, suits are not a must for most of us. I am not a fan of the tie, but you can wear one if you want/need to. If you’re going to wear a button-up shirt, make sure you iron it. Your polo shirts need to be ironed as well. 
  4. Don’t forget to comb your hair. There are too many products these days on the market not to have good-looking hair at all times. I’ve used Bed Head by TIGI Linea for years. But whatever you use, get your hair under control. 
  5. Lastly, men, if you have a beard, don’t forget to shave and trim it daily. Nobody wants some sloppy-ass beard with a bunch of crumbs in it talking to them. Keeping your beard groomed also signifies that if you’re willing to take care of yourself you’re probably willing to take care of your customers, too. 

Remember, dress to make an impression. Don’t dress to impress. 

When you care about your dress code as a salesperson, you level up. The next level up from being salesperson is becoming self-employed. If you’re interested in starting your own business, apply to join our program here 

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