Making the Sale: What is Appropriate Women’s Business Attire?

In the world of business, marketing yourself is very important. And we all are guilty of judging a book by the cover.

This is especially true in sales, where you are calling on customers and meeting people in networking situations. Doing sales is like going on a job interview every day, and when  55% of what people think of you is the nonverbal stuff, it’s very important to be wearing the right clothing!

This article is focused on professional attire for women. Because there are so many choices in clothing for women, I believe it is often more difficult to know what is appropriate for women.

Here is a list of various articles, links, photos, powerpoints and “how to’s” that are specifically focused on women’s attire.  If you know someone who just graduated from college and they are selling themselves at an interview with a potential employer, you may want to forward a link to this article.

I firmly believe that if you are in sales (even more than other professions) you have to know the difference between Business Professional Attire and Business Casual Attire.

Here are some good PPT slides with examples of the difference between business professional, business ready, business casual, and “casual casual” with different sections for men and women. Check out both men and women, so you can see the similarities.  With the concept of “business ready”, you can just put on your jacket /blazer (and change shoes if you have open toed sandals) and you’re ready to go in a moment’s notice…without being stuck wearing a suit all day.

The SalesHQ website describes what to wear to match your audience and accessories do’s & don’ts.  Here’s a quick overview of what to wear suits, shoes, jewelry, colors etc.

Business casual might be appropriate for what people are wearing in many companies, but on a sales call to a large company you are in much stronger position if you show up wearing business professional vs business casual.

The difference can be confusing sometimes. There are many fashion examples that might show a woman in business casual and call it business professional, but I believe that they made a mistake.…

Like this example when a women is wearing a bulky red top, with no jacket. If it doesn’t have a jacket over it, so to me she looks like an assistant, not the one in charge.

Compare it to the man who is wearing a suit jacket, shirt and tie (3 layers vs one layer for the woman.) If they both showed up for the same job, he would get the job because he is more professional.

Plus I think that blue, grey or black is better. Red is usually too strong unless you’re going for the close or you know that there will be hecklers in the room and you need more power to keep control of the room. Bright red can be intimidating red.

This infograph shows the right blouse with the suit, but then shows the wrong shirt (v neck, short sleeves) in the next frame. Compare it to the guy’s shirt right next to it. And he will have a tie over the buttoned up shirt. So that is 2 ways that top is wrong for the woman. If it doesn’t compare to showing the same amount of skin as the guys, you won’t be treated with the same respect (or have a change at getting the respect). While you probably won’t take your jacket off, you might. And if you have short sleeves, you won’t be “business ready”.

This visual is pretty good, but again I think he would get the job over the woman. See how she is hiding behind her hair… maybe it should be tied back or at least behind the shoulders.

Also notice how their body language is with their hands & toes. Who is more confident? Who could handle the job?

To me, she is hiding behind her hair (bangs) and her arms… and her feet say “I’m nervous.” Compare his posture to hers, where I think his hands and feet are saying, “No problem, I’ve got this.”

Business professional dress is more formal, more neutral.

What do you think? Do you agree with my examples of business professional and business casual? Do you have website links to add. I’d be interested to see what you think! Please leave a comment below.

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Star Brands

Star Brands A Brand Managers Guide to Build Manage and Market BrandsCarolina Rogoll’s new book, Star Brands: A Brand Manager’s Guide to Build, Manage & Market Brands is a  great resource for anyone seeking structured guidance on creating a brand plan.

Rogoll presents a five-step practical guide on taking a business and brand from conception… to realization… to success.

I like her five points – They are  very similar to the 4 M’s of Marketing that I use. I would combine point 3 and 4 (Crafting a Communication Strategy and Establishing a Marketing Strategy) into a single point, but a 4 sided star looks a lot more like a rectangle!! So I completely understand why she separates the two.

Carolina Rogoll - from LinkedInShe has a great background – real world experience (her LinkedIn profile says P&G experience since 2003) — combined with working as an educator in branding (School of Visual Arts In NYC.)

I also like that she uses case studies from famous brands, such as Harley Davidson and MasterCard, and  interviews withbusiness school professors, advertising agency leaders and former CEOs.

Star Brands is a practical book that business professionals and entrepreneurs can use as their own brand building “workbook.”

Of course, I can’t let a book review pass without mentioning my book. I wrote it to help the small business owner who wants to brand and market their business: Simple Steps, Big Results. It’s been my experience that learning lessons from big brands is very helpful – especially in theory – but when you’re dealing with a micro budget, sometimes lessons don’t translate from the million dollar brands.

Full Disclosure: While my Amazon link does NOT attach to an affiliate link, nor am I being paid for this review, I did receive the e-book for free in exchange for doing this review.

Mobile Friendly Websites

mobile friendly Google search results starts todayWe know that today’s the day for Google’s new analytics to kick in for their search results on mobile devices. Is your site mobile friendly? Click here to find out now.

If it is not, don’t feel bad, even some of the largest companies in the world don’t (or didn’t when this article was written just last Wednesday) have their act together yet.

Some folks I’ve talked to say “no problem, I’m on WordPress”, but just having your website set up on WordPress is not enough, you must make sure it’s mobile friendly!

If you think your customers find you or check your company out during a board discussion, better make this a top priority to get started now.

The April 21st Change that May Effect Your Website’s Visibility

If you haven’t heard about Google’s April 21 deadline, it’s time to read about it now. Here, here and here. Basically, your website better be mobile ready. Your website’s visibility is at stake.

“But hardly anyone reads my website from their mobile phone!”

If most of your traffic is still coming from desktops, and your website is not mobile friendly but does have good SEO, you may be okay for the short term.

However it’s estimated that about half the searches are made on mobile now.

Now is the time to revise your website.  Google is about to change their search engine formula for mobile results. While I’m not sure how they will give priority to websites that are mobile ready, I think that is the main point of this algorithm update.

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

It’s called responsive.  The website actually will change and show up differently if it’s viewed from a phone, a desktop or a tablet.  Even Android and iPhone phones don’t show necessarily show a website the same way.

Even if you’re on a WordPress platform, you may not have a responsive theme installed.

You can use this website to plug in your URL to check the responsiveness.

Don’t let your SEO tank, now’s the time to get responsive! Especially since mobile search is growing so quickly.

Building Community with Your Marketing

Chris-Brown Building Community Blogging TipsBlogging and Marketing Tips by Experts is a great example of building community. Marco Mijatovic from First Site Guide asked a variety of marketing experts to provide their three Top Online Marketing Tips for New Bloggers.

He complied them, with the author’s bios and made avatars of their photos (see mine to the right) to create chapter 7 in his book and a wonderful resource for those who are starting out with their first blog site.

His article is a great example of content pulled together from a community.

I haven’t seen this type of work in a while, in fact it is reminiscent of 2006 and 2007 when blogging was first exploding.

Building Community in the Viral Garden

I remember getting a big boost from the “D List”, a group of marketing bloggers banded together by Mack Collier to help promote each others’ content. He was one of the many who helped shape the path for building community.