Package the Messenger Too

We spend a great deal of time honing our value propositions and marketing collateral so they project a positive image of our company. But all that can be undermined in 10 seconds if the sales person (or supporting team members) who turns up to the sales meeting looks scruffy and unprofessional.

(Research shows 67% of a first impression is made even before you open your mouth to speak and it takes 17 subsequent encounters to undo the effects of a negative first impression.)

So here are some tips from my friend Sharon Kornstein of Image Design LLC, an image consultant, on how to best package yourself:

Knowing your best colors and most flattering styles is important. Some of us look better in the cool colors – blues, reds and grays. Others look better in the earth tones – browns, greens and gold. It depends on your hair color and the undertones in your skin. But knowing what is most flattering on you is only half the equation. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what effect we’re wearing has on the people we come in contact with? Here’s a quick guide:

  • Blue: Honesty, Trustworthiness, Organized.
  • Gray: Powerful, Business-like, Serious.
  • Brown: Friendly, Warm, Approachable.
  • Black: Authoritative, Elegant, Assertive.
  • Red: Exciting, Confident, Passionate.

Color is a significant component of what we present to the outside world, but other areas to consider when assessing your wardrobe are clothing styles, patterns and accessories.  Some tips to consider:

  • Pinstripes do make you look taller and slimmer, providing they’re the right width for your body type.
  • Darker colors worn as one part of an outfit make that part of the body seem smaller (note the popularity of black pants).
  • Accessories should always be at the same level of dress or casualness as the outfit i.e. no rubber-soled shoes with a business suit, no short-sleeved dress shirts with a tie and no small dressy handbags in the office.
  • Buy clothing in mix and match patterns to increase their functionality
  • Remember that hair is an accessory, and if it’s long or fussy tone down everything else.
  • Make sure your clothes fit and that they’re the right size. Clothing that’s too large will make your look heavier as will clothing that’s too small.
  • Dress for the level where you want to be, not for where you currently are.

So if you want to fully package your offering in 2006 keep the messenger in mind too!

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