April 7, 2011
In my continuing quest to get in shape, or as my nephew says, “Get buff,” I’ve taken up weight training … again. I was concerned about getting mangled because it’s been awhile since I last used the equipment. So I signed up for a one-hour orientation with the “fitness adviser.” I nearly popped a deltoid when she lumbered (not walked) in. She was at least fifty pounds overweight and looked like she had just rolled out of bed. I swear she was moving in slow motion.
My trainer certainly wasn’t the picture of fitness and my confidence in her credibility plummeted. Although she seemed to know what she was doing, it was hard for me to get motivated about training if she represented the final results. Ironically, later that day I overheard a conversation between two people who were discussing the fact that they were looking for a new cardiologist. They didn’t trust the advice of their current cardiologist because he was a chain-smoker who weighed in at about three hundred pounds.
You are what you sell. I know a general manager in the broadcasting industry who never buys from vendors who drive messy cars. The visitor parking lot is right outside his office window. When a sales rep is calling on him, this manager checks to see if the rep’s car is clean. After the meeting, he will even walk the rep out to his car so he can check the interior. If it’s dirty and full of fast-food wrappers, he will not do business with that individual. He believes that if a sales rep doesn’t care enough to maintain a professional image, he will be sloppy in his service delivery.
People who sell financial products are selling “hope.” Their customers are hoping for a lucrative financial future. This means that the person who calls on them needs to present a picture of success. He or she must be well-dressed in tailored clothing, drive nice cars and carry a classy-looking briefcase. Who do you think prospective customers are more likely to trust with their money–a sales rep who shows up in an old VW Beetle or a rep who arrives in a Lexus?
Regardless of what products or services you sell, your personal image is the first thing your prospective customers will judge you on. You must convey enthusiasm, professionalism and clearly support your products through your actions. If you don’t–you will not win your customer’s trust or their continued business.