The presence of a great big middle class, which thrives on trust, openness, diligence and reliability, has made it imperative for customer-facing executives in the real estate industry to project the image of a knowledgeable, trustworthy and approachable professional.
A house deal is a once-in-a-lifetime deal for many families, hence it is all the more important that you hold and display these values. Your clothing guidelines emerge from these objectives.
Our previous post dealt with Clothing for the customer-facing real estate executive who meets corporate clients. This post talks about Clothing when these executives meet individuals as clients. This could mean householders or small companies, depending on the clothing, type of company and expectations of the company. We shall also talk of dress code for on-site executives.
Individuals as Clients
When it comes to dealing with individuals or small companies as home and office space buyers, the formal look is still very necessary. But remember, as a customer-facing executive, even the Softly Tailored Look can distance you from them and keep them in discomfort. Know your audience to decide whether to be in your Softly Tailored attire or tone it down to the Casual Tailored Look.
For the Casual Tailored look, you can discard the jacket, but wear a collared shirt and a tie if necessary. T-shirts are a strict No. When you take this Casual Tailored approach, you are creating a more casual environment, fostering closer relationships, your potential clients could open up more than if you were very formal. Overall, there is more ease in approach.
But don’t overdo it or you could risk lowering the image of trustworthiness. The real estate industry, even today is about having to establish its credentials for trust and integrity. Given the large monetary transactions involved, and part of it traditionally not leaving a paper trail, it is more important here than in any other industry to establish trust in the customer’s mind.
Stick to collared and full-sleeved shirts. A hint of softness and curves in the tailoring and pattern helps. If you are meeting a corporate and an individual client during the same day, it is quite easy to tone the look down. Take off your jacket, maybe even the tie, depending on the client.
Again remember, dress to match the customer’s dress code or a level above that. But, a groomed look is a necessity under all conditions. Nothing, not even a rainy day or a distant visit to a site is an excuse not to be at your groomed best when meeting individuals.
Some general rules apply in all cases. If your work involves a visit to the site, make sure your clothing is in the dark shades. Take care of your shoes. Leather shoes may not be right thing, so planning your day in advance from the Clothing point of view is very necessary.
When potential clients visit the site, the on-site manager or executives are there to greet them, take them around the site and show them the area, the status of construction and answer their questions. If you are such an executive, you would face the reality of both corporate and individual clients coming on a visit to the site.
Be in constant touch with the sales or customer-service executive so that both of you are up-to-date about a particular client. Similarly, update the executive with details of the client visit from your end.
When the potential client visits a fully constructed office to look for space, you can follow the same dress code that the sales or off-site customer-service executive follows with corporate clients. But, when the visit is to a site under construction, different rules apply.
Considering that it is a rough construction atmosphere, as an on-site executive, your attire would be less formal than that of the sales and customer-facing executives. You can be dressed in the Casual Tailored Look, but at the lower end of the Scale. Although you are not a construction worker, you are in the midst of a whole lot of construction activity. Not only do a suit or jacket and tie look out of place, they are unsuitable for the conditions in which you work.
It is also difficult to maintain the formal look in the heat of the day and given the rough, dusty and sometimes wet ground you need to tread on a daily basis, your attire will wilt within an hour.
So, go for the business casual dress. By that we mean, a dark trouser and a medium to dark shirt. If work pants in dark shades are available, they will do fine. Whites and other light shades make it difficult to maintain the look over time and more importantly at the end of the day. Wear full-sleeved shirts when it isn’t hot. But, during the hot summer months, you can get away with half-sleeved shirts too if your body hair is mild.
If your company has a uniform, it is the perfect solution to the on-site dress code. Company uniforms in this case can be a pair of all-weather, durable shirt and trousers with the corporate logo printed or embroidered. We do not recommend T-shirt and jeans, which water down the look to the point of making it uncomfortably casual.
As for shoes, although black is good, rough browns that go well with the construction conditions are fine. A pair of work boots is fine too depending on the state of construction. If the work has come to near-completion, when the site is neater than before, discard the work boots for a pair of hardy slip-ons.
Have a pair of spare clothing at hand. Keep an umbrella and a rain coat at hand for the rainy season and for winters, a hooded jacket. Make use of a deodorant since you will be working in particularly rough conditions.
But remember the objectives, you need to project the image of a hard-working, dependable person who is strong, fairly informal and efficient. Based on your image, the client will make inferences about the state and quality of the on-going work. Adopt a lackadaisical approach in your clothing and demeanor and the client will make the same inference for the state of construction. So, take care to project the right image and you leave a positive impression with potential clients.