Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Accessorize to Project Expertise

At a “Profitability Tactics for Small Retailers” seminar I conducted for the retailing community in Patterson, California, I described the importance of staff dressing in ways that project expertise.
     One of the seminar participants was Kyle Guido, assistant manager of Patterson Auto Care. In response to my point, he shared a story that I include here with his permission and my gratitude:
     The State of California, which has stringent auto emission standards, reimburses owners of older cars for repairs they can’t otherwise afford. One way this program was marketed was to hold a well-publicized special event at the local community college. Auto repair shops were invited to set up desks at which they could schedule people who needed the reimbursement. Air pollution would be reduced, more drivers would be able to legally register their cars, and auto repair shops would get a little boost in business.
     Kyle came to the event wearing his NASCAR T-shirt and clean coverall pants. As Kyle tells it, one of the other auto shop managers came wearing a suit and tie. While Kyle arranged appointments in his paper calendar, he noticed the other fellow had an iPad sitting on the desk.
     Kyle admits he never saw the other fellow lift up the iPad. That’s because Kyle never saw the other fellow set up an appointment. As the event came to a close, Kyle returned to his pickup truck in the parking lot and spotted the other fellow opening the door to a BMW.
     Your shoppers love being served by experts. They judge the salesperson’s expertise even before the two start talking. The salesperson’s dress and body language say a lot as the prospective customer asks, “How much does this salesperson look like somebody who can solve my problem?” Customers will give greater credibility to the merchandise in a medical supply store when the staff wear white jackets and greater interest in cooking utensils when demonstrated by somebody wearing a chef’s toque.
     Desmond Morris, whose career work is central to the field of evolutionary psychology, wrote, “It is impossible to wear clothes without transmitting social signals. Every costume tells a story, often a very subtle one, about its wearer. Even those people who insist that they despise attention to clothing, and dress as casually as possible, are making quite specific comments on their social roles and their attitudes towards the culture in which they live.”

Click below for more:
Design Dress Codes Deliberately
Have Staff Who Show and Share Expertise

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