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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   September 2008

Polish Your Professional Appearance

Make sure every aspect of your life -- from clothes to cars -- says success

In today’s society, many people judge a book by its cover. This is particularly true in the mortgage industry. How you look, act and even where you do business can mean the difference between being on top and just being part of the pack.

There are a number of ways to create a successful impression. It doesn’t require spending a great deal of money but it does require being prepared for all the situations you might face.

Clothing: When it comes to business, the industry standard is still a suit and tie. In the last few years, every industry has become a bit more casual, but a person dressed in a quality fitted suit will stand out.

Men should purchase one or two suits from a quality store that does custom alterations. Take advantage of alterations to make sure the suit fits right.

Women can mix and match more than men and thus should get one quality, custom-altered suit that includes several pieces, including pants and a skirt.

Invest in quality shirts and try them on with the suit if possible. Mix and match colors with your accessories to make the suit look like a whole new outfit. If you feel good in your clothes, you will project a confidence that will draw people (and business) to you.

Spend some money on shoes that reflect your position. Invest in comfort but don’t forget style. Try on shoes with the socks or stockings that you will wear and walk around in the shoes to make sure they feel right.

Personal appearance: Get a good haircut that will work for both the office and the weekend. You want to relax when you are away from work, but you never know who you might run into.

Speech: Practice your sales pitch by recording it. You will be able to hear what you actually sound like and make corrections to the way you sound and present yourself during the pitch.

Avoid verbal filler. “Ah,” “um,” “like” and “you know” all bridge a gap in your communications when there is a pause. Let the pause happen instead. Using verbal fillers will make it sound like you don’t know what you are talking about.

Vehicle: There is no need to purchase a new vehicle, but do take care of the one you have. You never know when a potential client may be riding with you. Clear out garbage, vacuum weekly, and keep the windows clear inside and out.

Office: You need a location that projects your professional status. Keep your office separate from the rest of your house. Otherwise, consider renting a space for an office or work your meetings into your client’s location.

Accessories:  Nothing says "I’m a professional" quite like a business card. You can have one created and printed inexpensively at your local office supply store. It is also possible to print your own business cards, but make them professional in appearance (and remove any that misprint).

Looking the part is a mix of attitude and appearance. Dress the part with your clothes, cars and space to project the air of confidence needed to win clients and customers.


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