The way people present themselves is a secret sales weapon. It gives them an edge within their industry. And all they have to do to activate that edge is change their clothes.
Strategically Suited helps you grow your business or advance your career by making a great first impression—and as a bonus, looking your best can give you a new and powerful confidence. With advice that can work for men or women, and an emphasis on staying true to your own style, longtime image and sales strategist Lee Heyward shows that when you up-level your look, you’ll feel great, have more fun—and close more business.
|Publisher:||Morgan James Publishing|
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
You Are What You Wear
My fourth-grade friend, dressed like a "cool kid," felt like a "cool kid," and was perceived as a super cool fourth grader. Now I'm sure a big part of this was because she simply IS an amazing human being, but even at 10 years old, wearing what felt like "cool kid clothes" was like buying an insurance policy.
You and I both know the secret to her success as a cool fourth grader: she believed she could BE a cool fourth grader based on how we prepped her for it. Her new friends weren't just reacting to her clothes. They were reacting to how she felt in those clothes.
Similarly, dressing in a way that gives you the secret edge to sales isn't just about dressing for your client or to make the best first impression. All of that definitely matters, and I'll get into that in just a moment.
Dressing strategically, whether you're in fourth grade or in your fourth year in business, is about how you appear to your client, but it's also about how you appear to yourself. You're dressing to feel a certain way in order to get a specific result.
Frequently, my clients tell me that they used to do sales calls in whatever they happened to be wearing, but after up-leveling their image, they now get dressed and wear clothes that actually change their mental state. They feel powerful and more confident in their ability to serve their client. It comes across–even when they're talking on the phone.
That's an important thing to remember as you read this book. The way you think about yourself–your self-concept–is driving every result you get both personally and professionally. There are a thousand different ways that you can use your image to increase your bottom line, but the key is to start by dressing for yourself. For your own mental advantage. Your mental edge.
Your Mental Edge
When you put on clothing that makes you feel like you can conquer the world, you gain something that only you can give yourself. It's completely unique to you. It's a mental edge over the way you were even just seconds before you put those clothes on.
Rhonda Rousey, one of the Ultimate Fighting Championship's highest paid fighters, does her own hair before every fight. Why is this remarkable? Because she has a team of people dedicated to helping her win. They are responsible for making sure that every possible thing she might need to think about or do is taken care of–including, theoretically, styling her hair. Her job is to rest, fuel her body, and go into the ring and win. But it turns out that a task as unremarkable as doing her own hair is actually one of the most important ways she prepares to win a fight. She does it the same way every time. She always does it alone. And it is the single action that she says transforms her into her fighting mindset. When her fight hair is done, she has her mental edge. She knows she can win.
In 2007, I started my business to help entrepreneurs increase sales simply by up-leveling the way they present themselves. Two years later, I was rolling along with quite a few clients, but my business wasn't growing as quickly as I had hoped. One day, I was talking with success coach David Neagle, my mentor at the time, and he said, "Lee, you always look great, but I'm curious why you dress the way you do."
I had an answer to this. I'd really thought about it. I wanted to dress in an approachable way. I felt that being approachable would be the best way to attract clients. And I wasn't wrong. Approachability is always important. But David then asked if I would dress the same way if I had already achieved the sales results I wanted in my business. The answer was NO. I would have more fun. I would be more badass. I would be quirkier. I would dress more like ME!
I went home and immediately switched to dressing as the "successful me." That same year, I tripled my income.
All I did was change my clothes–and that dramatically changed my income. The real impact was due to the mental edge I instilled in myself. And I know that's exactly why David asked me the question he did, to help me find my edge. To help me have 110% confidence in myself.
I tripled my sales because my own self-concept changed. I knew I could help more people, but I wasn't packaged to stand out. By dressing as the successful me, I was properly merchandised, like Ariat boots. Now, not only was I confident in my abilities, but so was my potential client.
You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression
You've heard a thousand times how important it is to make a good first impression.
But in my experience, your first impression is your first sales opportunity. Everyone you meet may not be a potential client, but they might be, or they might know someone who is. The way you present yourself sets you up for sales success no matter where you go.
Let's start by talking about first impressions. Upon meeting someone for the first time, the impression you make on them is formed in seven seconds. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7. That's not a lot of time.
Typically in seven seconds, you haven't even had an opportunity to open your mouth and speak. Research has shown that the impression you make on someone is mostly made up of your appearance and nonverbal cues.
A Harvard study conducted by psychologists Nalini Ambady and Robert Rosenthal rated college professors based on one group of students' first impression, and then another group of students' impression after having them as a professor for an entire semester. The first group only watched 10-second video clips of the professors with no sound in order to form their impression. The second group took their class for an entire semester. The study showed that the first impression made from 10 seconds of silent video created almost the same impression as that gleaned from students who had an entire semester to form an opinion about the professor.
Ambady and Rosenthal's study created a term called "thin slicing." It means you make very quick inferences about the state, characteristics, or details of an individual or situation with minimal, or thin slices, of information. Judgments made by thin-slicing are often as accurate–and sometimes more accurate–than judgments made over a long period of time.
Genetically, we are hard-wired to make quick decisions–everything from how much you feel you should trust someone to whether or not to buy a certain house. These decisions are made in a matter of seconds by a type of unconscious thinking called rapid cognition. Malcolm Gladwell wrote an entire book about this called Blink. It's all about the kind of thinking that happens in the blink of an eye. In fact, his entire book was inspired by police officers stopping him because they thought he was someone else.
When Gladwell was asked in an interview about where the idea for Blink came from, this is what he said:
"Believe it or not, it's because I decided, a few years ago, to grow my hair long. If you look at the author photo on my last book, The Tipping Point, you'll see that it used to be cut very short and conservatively. But, on a whim, I let it grow wild, as it had been when I was teenager. Immediately, in very small but significant ways, my life changed. I started getting speeding tickets all the time–and I had never gotten any before. I started getting pulled out of airport security lines for special attention. And one day, while walking along 14th Street in downtown Manhattan, a police van pulled up on the sidewalk, and three officers jumped out. They were looking, as it turned out, for a rapist, and the rapist, they said, looked a lot like me. They pulled out the sketch and the description. I looked at it, and pointed out to them as nicely as I could that in fact the rapist looked nothing at all like me. He was much taller, and much heavier, and about fifteen years younger (and, I added, in a largely futile attempt at humor, not nearly as good-looking.) All we had in common was a large head of curly hair. After twenty minutes or so, the officers finally agreed with me, and let me go. On a scale of things, I realize this was a trivial misunderstanding. African-Americans in the United States suffer indignities far worse than this all the time. But what struck me was how even more subtle and absurd the stereotyping was in my case: this wasn't about something really obvious like skin color, or age, or height, or weight. It was just about hair. Something about the first impression created by my hair derailed every other consideration in the hunt for the rapist, and the impression formed in those first two seconds exerted a powerful hold over the officers' thinking over the next twenty minutes. That episode on the street got me thinking about the weird power of first impressions."
The Impression of Increase
There's nothing hard about dressing in a way that attracts opportunity. In fact, it's a complete misconception that in order to "dress for success," you have to wear stuffy, boring, or uncomfortable clothing. You're not going to feel uncomfortable–in fact it's the complete opposite. You'll feel more comfortable than you've ever been because you're dressing as the most powerful and confident version of yourself.
The idea is to use your first impression as an element of showmanship. Showmanship is about a show. A transfer of energy. The act of conveying an impression of increase.
The idea behind the impression of increase comes from Wallace Wattles, who wrote The Science of Getting Rich. He says, "The desire for increase is inherent in all nature; it is the fundamental impulse of the universe. ... Every living thing is under this necessity for continuous advancement; where increase of life ceases, dissolution and death set in at once."
No sale occurs without the impression of increase. You don't buy anything unless you think you'll be better off having it, even if it's just momentarily. If you go to the grocery store and buy gum, it's because you think your life will be better once you have it. More specifically, your breath will be better. Whether you sell yourself or a product, the impression of increase comes from its packaging, merchandising, display, and advertising.
When you make a sale, you help someone. If you're a professional service provider, you can't help a client that hasn't hired you. But your impression of increase can run deeper than just making a sale. The way you package yourself can help you make more money. But it also allows you to help more people.
Here's an example. A few years ago, I hired my mentor. He helped me revamp one of my service offerings, which I then sold to a lawyer. I revamped her image, which ultimately helped her accelerate her own sales cycle. She instantly got more clients, allowing her to serve a larger population of people who needed legal advice. And it all started with my mentor portraying an impression of increase that sold me. That one offering increased the lives of a bunch of people. It became a cycle that increased the life of everyone it touched.
What about you? Do you give off an impression that offers continuous advancement to your potential clients?
What if simply changing your clothes could give you an impression of increase, or attract opportunity?
Just recently, I took my daughter to school and walked out at the same time as one of her classmate's fathers. I was wearing a bright blue dress. You couldn't miss me. I'd actually never really talked to this gentleman before, and he didn't know what I do for a living. We struck up a conversation, and by the time I reached my car, he hired me to work with his wife and later himself. What if I had worn gym shorts like everyone else dropping their kid off at school? I'm sure we would have said hello. But I doubt it would have converted to a sale. Instead, I was wearing a great dress. It made me unique. It made me stand out. It changed the first impression I presented. And ultimately, that dress helped me make money!
That's what a good first impression can do. It can lead to new relationships, new clients, and, most importantly, new sales.
If I told you I had a magic wand that would instantly give you the power and confidence to close more sales, would you take it? Probably! The thing is, I do have a magic wand–and so do you: it's made up of your clothing and overall outward appearance. It's not only a magic wand; it's your secret sales weapon.
One of my favorite examples of the power of first impressions comes from the master of showmanship, Elmer Letterman. Elmer Letterman is a famous sales tycoon from the 60s. If you can ever get your hands on his book, How Showmanship Sells, be sure to buy it, as it's out of print now.
He says, "The most important sale I ever made in my life started with the influence of a pair of my handmade shoes."
While Elmer was standing in a hotel lobby during an event, a complete stranger came up to him and mentioned that Elmer's shoes were the "handsomest pair of shoes I've ever seen in my life." So Elmer offered to introduce him to his boot maker. At the time, most people spent $8 on shoes, including the self-made millionaire Elmer happened to be talking with. Elmer's shoes, however, cost an unheard of $125. He goes on to talk about how, throughout the night, this complete stranger would bring friends over to Elmer's table to check out his shoes. Because of his striking shoes, Elmer built a relationship with this gentleman (Mr. Lefcourt) that ultimately helped him launch his insurance career. The connections Mr. Lefcourt introduced him to, bought $1,250,000 in life insurance in one night. Not bad for a night's work in the 1960s. Not bad for a night's work today!
One of my favorite sayings from Elmer Letterman is, "Opportunities are man-made."
Based on a first impression led by a pair of shoes, Elmer created a $1,250,000 opportunity for himself. Not only did he create the opportunity, but he landed it! He purchased those shoes for $125 and made $1,250,000 because of them. Now that's a heck of a return on investment!
First Impressions Are a Sales Opportunity, Even if You've Already Made the Sale
In my work, clients have often already bought from me before they ever see me face-to-face. When I am finally face-to-face with them, whether it's in person or online, my first impression is a sales tool in three ways.
First, presenting myself well furthers their confidence and belief that they've made a good investment to work with me. They aren't wasting brain activity thinking about whether or not this is going to be a good use of their time and money, and therefore aren't going to ask for their money back.
Second, the first impression I make starts to plant the seeds for future business. Most of my clients stay with me for a few years, so the impression I make is laying the foundation for the extended lifetime value of that client. Let's look at the numbers. Let's say your ideal client pays $5,000 to work with you for their first engagement, but then continues to work with you to the tune of $50,000. That one client has brought in $55,000 in revenue.
If you could simply change the way you dress and easily make a $55,000 sale, it would totally be worth changing your clothes.
Lastly, my first impression also determines whether or not my clients refer me to people they know. People refer professionals that they like and trust. When my client has an amazing experience with me, they will tell other entrepreneurs about it, resulting in increased sales for me.
The Bird Shit Lawyer
Your first impression can have a lasting impact on your bottom line. But just as a great first impression can land you business, a bad one can lose you the opportunity. Let me tell you about the attorney I once worked with but probably won't, ever again–and why.
A few years ago, my husband and I refinanced our house. In order to sign the paperwork, the attorney met us at our house. When I arrived home, there was a white car covered in bird poop parked in my driveway.
I'm an inquisitive person and I am dying to know what happened to his car on the way to my house. Maybe he was attacked by pterodactyls. Or the geese in the pond down the street had an uprising. I'm thinking this will be a great story based on the impressive amount of bird excrement on his car.
So I walk in my house, introduce myself, and immediately ask what happened to his car.
He says, "Oh, nothing. I live downtown and have to park under a tree where birds poop on my car every night."
Needless to say, I'm pretty disappointed in the story. I'd never seen such an impressive display of bird poop on a car, so I was ready for something good.
Our closing begins and he takes us through the necessary steps of paperwork to sign. But the entire time I'm thinking, really? Birds poop on your car EVERY NIGHT and you don't do something about it. You passed three car washes within five miles of my house (the kind you can drive through!), why wouldn't you stop and wash your car?
This guy's car has nothing to do with his ability as a lawyer. Everything went fine with our closing. But none of that really matters, because I will never refer this guy. For starters, I have no idea what his name is. I call him the "The Bird Shit Lawyer." I don't know what firm he works for, which is probably a good thing, because the presentation of his car tainted the firm's overall image for me as well. His first impression killed any possibility of additional sales with me, or the possibility of me referring him to people I know.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Strategically Suited"
Copyright © 2017 Lee Heyward.
Excerpted by permission of Morgan James Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Your Secret Sales Weapon,
Chapter 1: You Are What You Wear,
Chapter 2: Gain an Edge in Your Business,
Chapter 3: Can New Clothes Really Make You More Money?,
Chapter 4: The Trap of the Perfectly Good,
Chapter 5: The Freedom of Success,
About the Author,