Culture Scan

At the intersection of real estate, media, and pop culture.

Style Class: Here to Help Refine Your Closet

Tired of your clothes? Image consultant Rose Jubb is here with wardrobe tips to help liven up your look.

Homes need staging; so do real estate pros.

Gone are the days of matchy-matchy suits and skirt sets. Modern trends are emerging in the world of professional workwear that celebrate more casual looks.

How adaptable are today’s relaxed looks for a real estate professional?

Well, the short answer is that it depends on your ideal client. The long answer involves a little dreaming, a little scheming, and a little style math.

Since 2000, membership of the National Association of REALTORS® has increased by more than 75 percent. That’s nearly double the competition, but also double the reason to distinguish yourself. Whether there’s a boom in the market or a dip, putting your best foot forward is important to your success.

Goals, Clients, and Your Unique Image

Article after article about sales success say quality leads are the hardest hurdle to jump in meeting your business goals.

So how can you jumpstart a lead-nurturing process that will help meet your goals? There are a lot of tactics for doing that, but one you shouldn’t forget is to establish and maintain a professional style with your ideal client in mind.

I’m not talking about narrowing your clientele in a way that runs afoul of fair housing law. I’m talking about stylistically meeting your customers where they are. If you’re going after the tatted, nose-ring crowd, your boho sensibility might work out just fine. Maybe your clients are also your tennis besties. If so, athleisure might be the laid-back style that works for you. Or maybe you’re aiming for the investor crowd, so a more polished look is in order.

In other words, you can become a visual magnet for the right leads. “Like attracts like,” says Portland, Ore., agent Kris Whitby of Lovejoy Real Estate. “If you want to attract a certain kind of client, you have to dress the part.”

Discrepancies in formality can set the wrong tone in those all-important first three seconds when people are determining whether they can work with you. You read that right: You have three seconds or less to make a first impression.

Once you’ve settled on a niche and a style, you can refer the clients who aren’t your jam to brokers who would serve them better, and they’ll return the favor. Juicy client referrals and good sales energy are yours for the taking!

Your One True Self

With your personal style rules in place, how much can you bend the rules? By all means, apply a little personality to the mix to stand out and be confident, but only if you remain true to yourself. Often, I see sales professionals trying to up-level their style and accidentally hopping to a completely different style personality. Though they look the part, they don’t feel like themselves. And that’s a shame, because when you don’t feel like yourself, you don’t act with confidence.

So, if you feel most like you in beachy, unstructured clothing but want to polish your look for high-end clients, you might use the same color schemes you love in a more tailored outfit. Add a scarf or tie with a subtle sea vibe, and you’ve “leveled up” without leaving your personality behind. The clients might even ask you about your accessories, which will give you the chance to tell your story and build stronger bonds.

Style Tips for Any Market Level

The primary things people need to know about anyone they do business with is 1) Do you know your industry? and 2) Are you trustworthy? This is especially true in real estate, because it’s such a personal interaction. Style can’t cover up a gap in either of those areas, but assuming you have both those boxes checked, don’t let lack of style stand in the way of landing business.

I’ll leave you with a few style tips that are important to every client.

First, let the sloppy go. It’s not cool in business. It’s not fashionable in business. It’s not stylish in business. A sloppy look automatically makes your mind and your business sloppy in the eyes of your ideal clients. So save the ripped jeans, most denim unless it's really clean and tailored, ill-fitting pants (style is fit), and wrinkled shirts for non-work related activities. In fact, I would argue those items don’t have a place in your closet when you run a business because you’re constantly walking around as a piece of your own marketing. But one step at a time.

Second, make sure you have little structure in your wardrobe. For work functions, trade the cardigans, tee-shirts, and polo shirts for crisp button-ups and blazers. Trade the flouncy dresses for something with a more tailored fit. Trade ill-fitting clothing (too tight or too oversized) for something that fits well.

You’ll still be yourself, just a slightly upgraded version – one who’s your wearing confidence on your sleeve. And dang it, confidence sells!

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