This article is a bit of a departure from most of the content on this site, as we won’t be diving into any sales skills or personal finance tips. Instead, in this article, I want to talk with you about the idea of polish. When I did my research on this topic, most of the pieces in the same vein as this one (“how to look put together and polished”) were targeted at fashion, not polish. Although a sense of style can certainly be part of your polish, it is not the central tenet.
Preparation is the key to how to look put together and polished. In this article, we will delve into the three points of focus needed when preparing yourself for your business life.
- Why you should strive to be more polished
- The benefits of being more polished
- How to go about it without wasting all your money
In the context of this article, looking “put together and polished” refers to the apparent quality of someone that comes to work looking prepared and dressed professionally. Most importantly, being put together and polished relates to a frame of mind.
Why You Should Care: Discipline and Signaling
Why should you care about how to look put together and polished?
In my article on One-on-One Coaching, I introduced my coach, George.
George has a passion for discipline that he focuses on in all of our one-on-one coaching sessions. I believe that being a veteran profoundly focuses his view on the subject.
In George’s eyes, freedom is born out of self-discipline.
In our training session, George encouraged me to practice self-discipline both at home and at work. Discipline is a muscle that needs to be exercised, and he shared with me three easy “workouts.” These behaviors would, he believed, allow us to remind ourselves that our mind is in control of our body’s desires (and not vice-versa).
With a little work, he said, we can remind ourselves not to coast on autopilot.
How to Look Put Together and Polished: George’s Signaling
George, my coach, started at the dealership as a used car salesperson around three years ago. The first impression he presented was excellent, working long hours and talking to every customer with respect. In the beginning, George sold many cars, quickly earning the admiration of the used car manager. I observed him from afar, noting his presence when speaking to customers and the aura of professionalism that he had.
After a few months, I had my first real conversation with George. I had come to the used car department to have a buyers guide printed, and the used car manager was at the 7/11 down the street. Overhearing that I was waiting, George came to me and told me he could print the form that I needed. I followed him to his office, and he pulled up the admin logins to get the paperwork printed.
I was impressed. Here was the new guy, with the knowledge of a sales manager. He was useful. When sitting across from him, I noticed his shirt. More specifically, I saw his shirt sleeve seam. Although the shirt was the same branded store shirt most salespeople wore, his shirt sleeve seam was sharp. The shirt was bright white, with crispy sharp seams!
Why did this affect me?
No-one else at the dealer had the level of polish George’s shirt had. Here was the new guy, doing the sales managers job, with a shirt that looked more polished than the General Manager.
About a year after he started, George was the used car manager. A year after that, he replaced the new car sales manager.
How to Look Put Together and Polished: George’s Discipline
George’s shirt signaled to me that he cared about how he presented himself while at work. He carried himself with intention.
The shirt signaled to me that he was someone to look up to and a man of character. When I asked him about it, he said that his crispy sharp shirt seams were the product of “not coasting on autopilot.”
“Every night, before bed, I lay my clothes out on the iron. In the morning, 10 minutes before I head out the door, I turn on the ironing board. When it’s hot, I iron my shirt and pants, with special care taken to make sure I’m presentable. Taking the time to do this prepares me for the day, and makes sure I’m prepared”
Not only did his shirt signal to his customers and his coworkers that he was a professional, but it also self-signaled as well. The shirt reaffirmed his perception of himself.
Having ironed clothes is an essential part of how to look put together and polished. I don’t recommend going cheap on this one, instead I think it’s worth spending* a little more to get a quality iron and ironing board.
The Benefits Of Being Polished
In my previous article about closing deals, I mentioned the “Demonstrated Desire to Sell”:
You are the dealership’s representative. If you seem disinterested, tired, frustrated, or aloof, your customer is going to question how much you truly want to sell them the vehicle. The customer will then wonder how “fair” you are pricing a car if you don’t really care if you sell the car or not.
I implore you to perk up. Drink some coffee and remember why you came to work today. When you are sitting across the customer, they should have a distinct impression that you will do anything to sell this car. This type of attitude makes any deal you offer much sweeter, as the customer believes you when you tell them an offer is fair.
The benefits of reading this article (“How to Look Put Together and Polished”) revolves around the way that your customers will see you. If you come to work with your hair neat, your shirt ironed, and your shoes polished, you come across as someone that is at work with a purpose.
How to Look Put Together and Polished: Customer Impression
When you take care of yourself, your customers notice.
After meeting with George for my most recent coaching session, I pledged to him that I would take my polish more seriously. His advice was clear:
“I think it’s just little tweaks you need to put into action if you want to be more polished. It will take a decision to start, and a dedication to follow through. Polish is not about some grand action, it’s a collection of little steps. Little steps that you care about.”
The impact that it has had on my customer’s perception of me has been reason enough to keep going. Here is a recent review:
“Everyone is very nice in dealership. My sales rep Andrei provide an exceptional professional customer service experience since the first day I preordered my car until I pick up the car from dealership!”
- DealerRater Customer Review on 9/25/18
How to Look Put Together and Polished: Defeating Overwhelm With Preparation
So is all this polish just for the customers? No. One of the great rewards of being more polished reveals itself internally.
Every job has stressful parts. Stress is often rooted in a lack of preparation, as it can be rooted in the overwhelm you feel when you can’t get everything done.
Overwhelm is the enemy of mental preparation. Once overwhelmed most people will need to leave a situation before returning to an agreeable state. The key is to avoid overwhelm if at all possible.
How so? With routine. Routine is the pattern of behavior, repeated daily, that ensures that all your ducks are in a row. When your routine is on point, you can go into situations without mentally juggling everything that still needs to be done.
To be consistently polished, you need a steady routine. Every day should have a pattern that you follow so that your polish becomes a habit. Polish is a battle of small steps. It’s a process to build up your routine to take care of this little things. I still remember when, after two years, my boss took me aside and recommended I take care of my nose hairs. I had never even thought about nose hairs in my life until that point! Now using a nose hair trimmer is part of my polish.
When you work on looking put together and polished, you will naturally feel more prepared at work. When you feel prepared, you will be less susceptible to overwhelm, and stress will no longer be your enemy.
How To Look Put Together and Polished Without Breaking The Bank
Now that we know why you should care and the potential benefits of looking put together and polished, let’s talk about how not to break the bank.
Step 1: Realize This Isn’t About Money
This article (“How To Look Put Together and Polished”) is not about spending more money on clothes.
If your clothes are falling apart or stained, then you should spend some money to replace them. Your clothes should be clean and fit well.
More than anything else, the idea of how to look put together and polished involves caring. Do you care about how you present yourself at work?
There are some products that can help you look more polished.
Step 2: Review of the Products to Help You Look Polished
Although looking put together and polished isn’t about money, a few things have helped me get myself set up:
A Quality Iron and Ironing Board ($50-$200)
The reason that you want to spend a little extra on these items is that the quality of them makes them more pleasurable to use, and therefore more likely that you will iron your clothes every day. I’ve also found that these higher quality models (linked above) last longer.
Tie Stays (<$10)
These things are worth their weight in gold, especially since using this link you can usually get them below $10 including shipping. Tie stays are fantastic for keeping your tie looking fresh when you are out on the lot since they hold down your tie and stop it from getting caught on everything.
Now, many salespeople these days have stopped wearing ties, which I can understand. You should wear attire that suits your customer’s preferences. A tie still signals “I’m here, and I’m a professional,” which can help when closing deals.
Collar Stays (<$20)
Sticking with the accessories for a moment, I recommend you pick up some collar stays. These will keep you looking polished and put together since your collar will stay down all day, regardless of how much you are running around.
Nose Hair (<$25)
Nothing is more distracting than a wild nose hair. Use these trimmers!
How to Look Put Together and Polished: Review
If you want to succeed, you need to care. You need to care about how you perceive yourself, and how your customer sees you.
This simple guide on how to look put together and polished hopefully gave you a few tools to get started on your journey towards showing that you care about your professionalism. I hope that you take this advice and run with it.
*Note: These are affiliate links in this article, so if you do decide to follow my advice you help support the blog with your purchase!
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