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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had an interesting conversation with my sister a while back.

She is a higher up at a large home builder. Her company was looking for an agency to handle the sales on a new community.

I happened to catch her on the phone after she had lunch with a potential company for the contract. She mentioned that it was a surprise when the man representing the company wore a polo shirt and shorts to the meeting. Granted, it was the middle of summer but she was wearing a suit and they were not dining at TGI Fridays. He mentioned he was playing golf later that afternoon. She felt it was unprofessional.

Her decision was not to go with his company even though they had a great track record. She said that maybe it was a bit old fashioned but this was 40 home contract with future potential. In a slow market, when a potential buyer is making a 500k + decision, it takes a real professional to get pen to paper.

Was this decision a little old fashioned? Personally, I think a suit always works, why take a chance. Playing golf isn't an excuse to arrive dressed inappropriately. I don't think there is anything wrong with taking a break for golf in the afternoon, just change into the polo and golf shorts at the clubhouse. Not everyone plays golf.
 

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I wouldn't show up for that interview in shorts, to say the least. However, if one is good enough and has the proof of a track record to back it up, one might get away with it.

If she declined as a matter of principle, that's one thing. But any other reason might be misguided. But, as you alluded to, what is most important is getting folks to sign on the dotted line. I can only presume that, polo and shorts notwithstanding, he otherwise did not blow her away with his presentation/selling himself, either.
 

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The company has a "great track record" for a reason. I certainly don't think I would be declining business transactions with such a company because of the way a company representative was dressed, unless the deal was going to be made with another company with an equally good track record.

Heck, I wouldn't care if the guy was wearing a dress if his company could help me make money. I'm sure my competitors wouldn't.

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I'm not sure what you are talking about ....

when you say 'an agency to handle the sales.' Do you mean an advertising agency or some sort of new home sales team. If you mean an advertising agency then that agency's function would be to provide credible brochures and other collateral literature plus various media advertising. But ad agencies have nothing to do with the actual sale. I ran an advertising agency for 25 years, and as a potential account executive for your sister's company, I can tell you I would have been suited up for the meeting. Agency creative people are notoriously over casual dressers, but no agency in their right mind would send a creative type to an initial meeting. Playing golf later on is no excuse. I would've wanted her to feel she was the most important person I was to see that day. A note to the agency principal(s) should be sent which informs them of her decision and why she came to this decision. Agency selection is determined by other factors also: agency presentation, the clients they have served in this same general field, literature develpment plan, media selection, budgeting etc. For a large account, these are not factors which can be determined at one sitting. But at an initial client meeting, I would want to make as professional appearance as possible.

If you are refering to other services than those supplied by an advertising agency, I can't comment. However, I think the initial appearance of any one looking to win a large account would be of utmost importance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It was for real estate agencies but knowing her, I'm sure the same expectations are there when doing business with any company on a large scale.

I doubt she made the decision based on dress only but most likely the few she choose to meet with had similar track records of success.
 

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I would not base the decision solely on the polo shirt, but letting a woman come to lunch while he shows up in a polo shirt and SHORTS would be enough to make me question his social skills. Can he really understand people and communicate your product to them if he understands people and polo situations so poorly.

He obviously was not a super-salesman at least in this situation.
 

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I think dfloyd's insights here are spot-on and especially his sentiment that he would have dressed and behaved in such a way as to make your sister feel as if she were the most important person he was going to see that day.
Perhaps these guys do have a great track record, but sometimes number two tries harder.
 

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Clothing is one way in which we signal how important we feel the event is to us. If I show up somewhere in a suit as opposed to shorts, then I am signaling that this event means more to me because wearing a suit takes more effort and shows more attention to detail than wearing shorts would. The same applies in business situations. I would much prefer to deal with someone in business attire than with someone in casual attire because my assumption is that the person in business attire is taking business more seriously. Therefore, I might have done the same thing your sister did.
 

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I don't know, it's a hard call. Yes, the guy was a buffoon to dress that way, but the question is how much significance to place on that. I'm sure we've all met people who have the opinion "You're not paying me to dress well, you're paying for a great product or service and I can definitely give you that." I'd have to take all factors into account. Would this guy be dealing with the public himself? Would your paying clients care about how he dresses? Many things to consider.
 

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While reading this thread I'm amazed, or perhaps not, at the nastiness directed toward someone for whom the only thing we know is what he was wearing at a lunch meeting. The guy has been called a "meathead", a "bufoon", and a "jackass". Whether he is any or all of these things, I don't know. And that's just it, I don't know.

I would not have gone to a meeting dressed that way, but it really says nothing about that particular fellow or his company. It may be the way they do business. Who knows. But business is about results and making money, and that company either is or it isn't, regardless of how the guy was dressed.

I think that some have this false perception that just because someone is dressed in a suit that somehow they are more "professional" or will do a better job. While that may be true in many cases, at the end of the day how someone is dressed may tell you nothing. I know quite a few "jackasses", "buffoons", and "meatheads" that dress very nice. In fact, I know a couple who would definitely do better at business if they concentrated more on business and less on their clothes.

On the other hand my wealthiest friend (I call him my one rich friend) is one of the most casual dressers I know. He is more likely to be wearing jeans and penny loafers with no socks than a coat and tie, yet he is President and CEO of an advertising company while his wife is a Vice-President of a real estate development company. They live in a multi-million dollar home in a Maryland suburb of Washington D.C., and for fun he and some buddies chartered a 747 and catered a swank airborne party for their friends while flying up and down the east coast.

I can see him going to a meeting dressed like the guy in the OP. My casually dressed friend makes money AND he makes money for people who do business with him. And isn't that what business is all about?

Just a thought.

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I wonder . . .

I wonder if the guy knows he lost the job because of the way he dressed? Either he didn't understand or care about the norms of such meetings in this business or she didn't. Given the we know he has a good track record, I wonder if she is new to the job or to the area. OP? At the very least, he doesn't seem like he is hustling to get this job.
 
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