Dress How Your Clients Would

Don’t automatically assume you need to wear your finest outfit when out on business.

July 29, 2016

Like it or not, what’s on the outside counts, too. Your appearance is partially responsible for whether you land a new client, some studies suggest, with one 2013 report from Columbus State University in Columbus, Ga., finding that real estate professionals who were deemed “attractive” by consumers tended to net higher sales prices for listings — and, therefore, higher commissions.

That alone may prompt you to take another glance in the mirror before you head out on business. What you wear is a big piece of your physical appearance, but don’t automatically assume you need to dress in your finest suit. Your image should match the market or niche you serve — which can take into account all kinds of styles — and that can help you attract more clients. (It certainly has for Sue Benson, a sales associate with RE/MAX Distinction Realty in Naples, Fla., whose pink ensembles have fueled her brand as the “Pink Lady of Real Estate.”)

Your niche and geographic area can greatly affect how you dress for the job. The way an ultra-luxury broker in New York dresses may be starkly different from an agent who is selling beachfront properties in Hawaii. Some pros find more casual attire — shorts and flip-flops! — fits best for their market, while others say their clients expect them to be dressed to the nines in designer labels.

Whatever the case, your workday often calls for adaptable fashion. For women, wearing high heels when showing acres of land in a rural area just won’t cut it — whether you’re catering to luxury property buyers or not. Emily English of Century 21 The Edge in Midland, Texas, learned that the hard way when her heels kept getting stuck in the ground during showings. She now keeps an extra pair of shoes in her car to switch out so she’s ready for different terrains during showings, she says.

The bottom line: Practical, adaptable, and fashionable are what most real estate professionals need in clothing. In this guide, practitioners across the country share their wardrobe best practices for their markets and offer tips on how you can do the same.

Explore the Fashions of Different Niches

Sue “Pinky” Benson: The Pink Lady of Real Estate

Emily English: The Suburban Agent

Gregory Burrus Green: The Beach Town Agent

Deb Kemp: The Urban Agent

Cody Lujan: The Rural Agent

Todd Newton: The Luxury Agent