As a millennial, I’m always on the go and like to be comfortable while moving and getting things done. However, I’ve seen the line become blurred between business casual/comfortable to business slummin’ it. My parents taught me many things about getting dressed. For instance, match your socks. (I still have not mastered that skill by the way.) My dad always said to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. I took his advice to heart from a young age. When I was little, I would wear colorful clothes and paint my face in hopes of getting David Bowie’s job. Once I realized that wouldn’t’ work out, while I was in college I took an office job as a receptionist and always made sure to wear a blazer. I didn’t want to stay at the receptionist desk, I wanted to be the boss (#bosslady). My mom always said, “Make sure your hair is always nice looking and your face is clean. You aren’t doing it for others, you’re doing it for yourself. If you look good, you’ll feel good.” #truth. Words of wisdom by my mother. I mean, that’s real life. If you’re dressing for success, chances are you’re going to be successful. #lookthepart. Which brings me to the fine line of business casual and business slummin’ it.
[bctt tweet=”If you’re dressing for success, chances are you’re going to be successful.”]
What We See Is What We Believe
SVN’s Executive Vice President of Organizational Development, Solomon Poretsky, asked a crucial question in an email he addressed to our company recently about his first hand witnessing of business slummin’ it. In the email he wrote:
How would that advisor do if a conservative 60-year old client wanted him or her to come over right now? And I know the answer… Most of the time, they wouldn’t get the business.
His email prompted this blog post because it got me thinking. Poretsky is right. If you’re trying to snatch a listing and meet your potential client for the first time in his Class A building in khakis and a polo, he may wonder if you’re serious about the job. Most of the time, the people who work in Class A buildings are suit-and-tie kind of guys and pencil skirt and blazer kind of gals. Showing up in anything less than what they require their employees to wear would be a strike against you.
Now, appearances aren’t everything. Step off your high horse before lecturing me about how we should focus more on what’s inside and not outside. Yeah, I get it. I preach that to my daughter all the time. However, there is no denying that people judge you in the first :30 seconds of meeting you based solely ON YOUR APPEARANCE. Be real with yourself right now. I know it’s true, you know it’s true. It’s real life and the world we live in. Of course if you’re knowledgeable, you have done your homework prior to the meeting and come prepared (plus carry the SVN logo. JK. No, but really though). If you’re dressing for success you’re more likely to overcome any prejudgment, knock out the meeting and walking away with a signed listing agreement.
[bctt tweet=”If it makes you look good chances are you’re going to be great.”]
Dressing for Success – Based on Your Audience
Justin Langlois, one of the “L”s of SVN|GLL, said in a meeting the other day, “Know your audience and dress for your audience.” This is great advice. Just like wearing a suit to a Class A building can help get the listing signed, dressing a tad down for an industrial warehouse will help in the same way. Guys in industrial typically don’t wear suits. They’ll be in pants and a short sleeve button down. If you show up in a suit, it won’t hurt. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. However, when you link up with the industrial guy to list his 100,000 sq ft warehouse, don’t be afraid to wear comfortable shoes, a polo and khakis. People like when other people reflect what they see in the mirror. It makes them comfortable. So, when you show up in something similar, it isn’t intimidating to him like a corporate guru walking up in a suit.
Granted every situation is different and clients do vary. So, you need to feel out the client. You can generally tell a person’s personality by how they speak. If their emails are perfectly proper, I’d assume it’s a pencil skirt and blazer kinda owner. If her emails are relaxed, don’t be afraid to leave the blazer out of the attire for the day.
There is one thing I cannot get on board with- wrinkled clothes and ripped denim. I own some ripped denim, but I don’t wear it to the office even when I’m dressed casually on a Friday with jeans and a cute pair of pumps. Just no. It’s too casual and falls in the business slummin’ it. Also, IRON YOUR CLOTHES. I actually see this in a lot of older guys for some reason. Either take the time to do it yourself or get a Swish (it’s an at home dry cleaning machine and it looks amazing) or get it dry cleaned. Come on. This just looks sloppy. You’re an amazing agent and once you put on that starched shirt and wrap that stylish neck tie around you, you’re going to look amazing, too. Which WILL directly affect how you broker.
Not Vanity If It Makes Deals
Business wear is ageless and timeless (claps for you pointing that out S. Poretsky **thumbs up**). I know the majority of my Gen Y colleagues agree. We’ve grown up with advertisements in our face non-stop and put value into our appearance at work and at play. Most people think we are vain for it but wasn’t it Benjamin Franklin who said in his autobiography, “Most People dislike vanity in others whatever share they have of it themselves, but I give it fair Quarter […] it is often productive of Good to the Possessor and to others that are within his Sphere of Action: And therefore in many Cases it would not be quite absurd if a Man were to thank God for his Vanity among the other Comforts of Life.” Yes, be modest once you’ve achieved something just don’t let modesty hold you back. Putting value into your appearance can seem vain but you know what? If it makes you look good chances are you’re going to be great.
[bctt tweet=”Dressing For Success as a Millennial in CRE”]
So, invest in some great suit pieces, mix them up and start rolling in those sexy money making deals. With your new found look, roll those shoulders back and stampede into the world making paper. You won’t regret it (neither will your bank account).
About Kathryn Juneau – After breaking into Commercial Real Estate in 2011, Kathryn became licensed in 2013 and began specializing in senior housing. In 2014 Kathryn became and Advisor with Sperry Van Ness | Graham, Langlois & Legendre, LLC. She has represented large users of medical and industrial space in an array of real estate transactions. Kathryn’s reputation of tenaciously protecting her clients’ interest, savvy negotiations and cutting edge marketing strategies has built her a solid foundation of corporate clients through her real estate advisory services. To contact Kathryn, you can email her at email@example.com, call her at 225-367-1515 or follow her on Twitter at @KatJuneau.