A lady called me last week to tell me about her house and the fact it wasn’t selling. She went into a lot of detail about how she had chosen which agent would be instructed to market her house whilst I listened intently, expecting to hear, as usual, a tale of low commission and high valuation. But not in this case. No, this lady had chosen her estate agent based on what they were wearing. Here’s how she described them:
Estate agent #1 – a man who wore a “cheap suit” and “no tie”. She noted this last point with disgust.
Estate agent #2 – was a young lady – “very pretty but she was dressed for clubbing”. Really?! I was intrigued. What exactly was she wearing? “She was wearing a black cocktail dress and pink shoes!” she exclaimed, clearly shocked.
This is like Goldilocks and the Three Bears I said – was the third one “just right”? “Yes!” she cried, and went on to describe the ‘perfectly dressed estate agent’.
Estate agent #3 – wearing a smart suit, a dark blue tie, plain white shirt and clean shoes. This last statement seemed to clinch it for her, apparently.
Whilst this lady seller was clearly in her later years, this tale is nevertheless a lesson in appealing to your target market. I could have tried to explain to this lady that it was less important that the agent dressed for her, than it was that he/she should dress for her buyer, but it would have fallen on deaf ears. For this lady, the service she would be receiving was being judged by the presentation of the agency employee. She was in effect, judging the book by its cover, in judging the effectiveness of the agency by the suit (or lack of it). But don’t we all do that, to a certain extent? Presentation is so important after all, whether we’re talking about the waitress’s uniform, the headmaster’s suit, or the outfit your daughter insists on wearing to the party. Because we judge a book by its cover, and this lady seller was absolutely right – if you want to be seen as professional, leave your clubbing shoes at home.
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