By Peter Ricci
In the most recent Gallup poll of professions, 20 percent of respondents surveyed had a high opinion of real estate agents, compared to 70 percent for doctors and 84 percent for nurses; could that be because of certain “outlier” agents who taint the profession?
We’ve heard the complaints – those who don’t return calls promptly, keep their clients waiting for information and, a surprisingly common one, those who don’t dress professionally. People, flip flops and sneakers are not professional shoes (just one complaint about professional dress we’ve heard)!
A Professional Appearance in Real Estate
But of course, no matter the adversity, there is always hope, and we have three easy steps for agents to follow to ensure they are projecting a clean, respectful, professional appearance (which isn’t limited to clothes).
1. Dress for Your Market – No, we’re not going to completely forbid jeans from the workplace; rather, opt for a business attire that suits the particular market in which you work. Do you sell properties in Lake Forest, Hinsdale or the Gold Coast? Then a suit, or slacks and a jacket at the very least, should be strongly considered; however, if you work in Wicker Park, the West Loop, or a similarly young, hip region, then dark wash jeans and a sharp blazer could do the trick as well. So project that professional appearance, but craft it based on your market.
2. Avoid the Glitz and Glamour – As much as you may want to show a serious, professional appearance to your clients, be careful not to overdue it, particularly with business cards and “For-Sale” signs. As Jerry Fowler wrote in a delightful piece on RealtyTimes.com, you want those images to resemble the real you, meaning, the professional the clients will be working with. “People don’t want to hire a beauty queen to sell them a house,” Fowler wrote, “they want a professional.”
3. Act Like a Professional – You may present yourself as the most immaculately-tailored professional this side of Don Draper and Michael Weston, but if you do not act in a respectful, genuine manner, that professional appearance will reveal itself as nothing more than a facade; so, leave the off-color jokes and sales banter aside, and show yourself to be the serious, determined professional that modern real estate so clearly demands.