We live in a vein world. We’re judging each other all the time. It happens everywhere, when you’re walking down the high street thinking “Jesus what is she wearing”, reading what other people write on Twitter, going on a first date or applying for a job. It is known that someone makes their mind up on a person in the first ten seconds of their meeting. So in our industry, where it is very much face to face, first impressions count completely.

Much of our work is done face to face. I work for a company which details with residential work. Which means I step into many people’s houses every week, hoping to convince them to spend their hard earned cash with me and the company. To make the very best first impression, we work in suits and arrive in cars. This won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but the feedback we get from customers who are impressed with our level of smartness is great. They often seem surprised and say that they expected a scruffy jeans wearing lad to turn up in the company van. It does help us win business too. A professional sales person helps portray a professional overall business.

I have been privy to some of the other sales people in our industry when the customer has booked two reps to come at the same time and battle it out. I have seen reps who stink of smoke (whether the customer smokes or not, this is bad!), wearing silicone ruined work shirts, wear their shoes in the house without protectors on, swearing, not doing even a half-arsed product demonstration or sales pitch. When I see these sorts of people going about their business it is reassuring to me that I know that how we operate as a company is the right way and we are being as professional as possible.

And be on time! If you’re a sales person going on a lead, get there on time! Non of this “I turn up a little late to show that we look busy” crap! The customer never likes to be kept waiting, no matter what “reason” you give. Our industry has a reputation for being unreliable, so doing what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it, will already be a nice surprise for the customer and help your cause no end. If you’re going to be late because of something that is out of your control, at least give the customer a quick ring to say that you’re going to be a few minutes late. Reassurance is better than nothing at all!

I know that to most of you this sounds like common sense and will do many of the right things and avoid many of the wrong things. But for our industry to have maintained a fairly shoddy reputation for this long, is a clear sign that there are still far too many unprofessional people out there working in our industry, spoiling it for those trying to do an honest and decent job.