Written by: Tom Hackelman – an expert in the area of personal branding.

What can we learn about personal branding from ZZ Top?  Using their song, Sharp Dressed Man, as the backdrop, we can learn a lot.

For years, the professional dress of the modern salesman was a suit.  Sharp and tailored, the suit represented corporate America.  You could work for a small 10-person company, but a good suit, shirt and tie combination would still help you stand out.

Today, salespeople dress far too casually to be taken very seriously.  We have shifted from casual Friday to casual every day.  Don’t get me wrong; many of these salespeople still dress appropriately with a nice polo and slacks, but I have to raise the question:  Does this style create the image in the mind of your clients that you want to project?  Does it project leadership?  Credibility?  Does it command respect?

Dave Lakhani, in his book, How to Sell When Nobody’s Buying, writes:

“When I’m dressed better than my peers, better than my competition, and when I do it consistently, I stand out in a crowd.  I look like the leader, and your clients want to buy from people who meet their expectation of trust.  When you see CEOs on television and when you meet them in person, they are wearing the uniform of a CEO.”

Part of the story you are crafting – your personal brand story – is tied to how people perceive you.  Dressing according to your personal brand adds tremendous credibility to your narrative.  It sets you apart from the crowd and signifies you as someone people want to do business with.

Start being a sharp dressed man or woman – whichever applies!