Updated: Aug 22, 2021
I know of a salesperson with a great body.
"Wait," you might say. "A great body? Shouldn't you be focusing on her other attributes?"
Well, no. Because that's really what she wants us to focus on. Of course, she posts on social media about other things. But every time she makes a major sale, she puts on a tight outfit and gets someone to video her doing a shimmy dance with her clients. Sometimes those clients play along, sometimes they look as comfortable as a mouse at a cat convention. But each time she has the opportunity, she is doing the bump and grind.
I get it. You know the old saying "Sex sells." But this only works sometimes. And sometimes it turns off the very clients you may be trying to reach. Colleagues may want to avoid the drama by referring potential customers to someone else. And since no one can remain young and sexy forever, it's best to avoid that as your main selling point.
Now there is something to be said for being unique. It's hard to stand out in a crowded field. But too many people stumble across something that works for the moment, and then they allow it to define them for a lifetime. Instead, I would encourage you to find something that sets you apart but won’t alienate a portion of the people you are trying to reach.
Some people have told me that they find her antics offensive and unprofessional, and others have praised her for it. So it it working, or isn’t it? Look: I'm not trying to pick on this woman. In fact, if this schtick is not impacting her sales, and she’s comfortable doing it, then obviously she’s not losing money or sleep.
But: It pays to do regular audits of yourself because you often will be the only person comfortable enough to be brutally honest with yourself. There's an old Bugs Bunny cartoon where it suddenly hits him that he may not be the most popular rabbit around: He sniffs under his armpits, and says "Do I offend?"
Madonna has been brilliant at redefining herself: Each decade produced a different woman. Now, I'm not suggesting you ditch your jeans for fishnet stockings. But we can learn something, here. If we are to be truly successful in life, we need to reexamine the messages we send.
It helps to ask what your goals are.
Do you want to be the top in your field? What image do you want to project? Maybe it's time to buy some suit jackets or trade in the flashy 'vette for something that doesn’t make clients wonder if they’re paying you too much. What books are you reading that will help you become a better person or better at what you do? What have you been putting off that needs to be done to clear your path to success? Read the New Year/New You articles that pop up in January (our firm really capitalizes on this). You never know what advice will resonate.
But perhaps the best advice is this: Be the person that you'd be proud to introduce to anyone, from the bank president to your grandmother... while still being unique, wonderful "you."