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The "Dress Down Friday" Myth


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To be politically correct today, many organizations have set Friday's apart for their staff to dress down. For selling and service industry professionals, this is a major mistake on the part of management. Research conducted in the ‘90s by John Malloy, the author of the acclaimed Dress For Success series, we learn that people have a picture of how sales and service industry professionals should look.

According to Malloy; when a banker dresses down on Fridays, customers don't see the image they have in their mind of how a banker should look, so trust levels are reduced significantly, making it tougher to close sales. Malloy also teaches that sales representative should dress one level above their prospects to give the impression that they are experts. Dressing down makes one day of the week that your representatives may not be seen as industry experts and that could be costly to your organization.

Often a younger sales representative or service professional will grow a beard or goatee to look more mature to prospects, customers or clients. However, additional research by John Malloy suggests that wearing facial hair can cost a sales or service professional as much as 30% in sales success, because a large number of decision-makers find beards to look sinister or offensive. They see the representative wearing a beard or goatee as not being as trustworthy as a representative who is clean-shaven . In a recent study reported by Fox News, over 90 percent of the women surveyed prefer men to be clean shaven over those with facial hair. You need to ask yourself if allowing staff members to dress down or wear a beard is worth the lost revenue to your organization.

VIRDEN THORNTON is the founder and President of The $elling Edge®, Inc. an Ohio consulting firm specializing in sales and sales management training, personal coaching, advisory services and publishing. Clients have included Sears Optical, Eastman Kodak, IBM, Service Linen Supply, Bank One, Jefferson Wells International, and Wal-Mart to name a few. Virden is the author of the “best selling" Building & Closing the Sale, Prospecting: The Key To Sales Success and Close That Sale, a video/audio tape series published by Crisp Publications a division of Thompson Learning. He has also authored a client acclaimed Self-Directed Learning series of sales, coaching, telemarketing, and personal productivity manuals. To obtain a substantial discount on two of Virden's latest books, 101 Sales Myths or Organizing For Sales Success, go to:

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