What The Military And ZZ Top Both Know

As I return again from Surfaces, I have a renewed optimism that our industry is regaining some lost momentum. While attendance figures are not yet announced, traffic in both the showroom and educational events seemed to me to be significant. One observation stands out in my mind.

I feel that the personal appearances shown by both the vendors, as well as the attendees, suggest that the herd has been thinned and that the survivors have a renewed commitment to their respective businesses. Not long ago, too many of the vendors dressed more like they were heading to the golf course than working possibly their most important three days of the year. This season, there appeared to be far more vendors mandating a professional appearance by their staff members.

The attendees also appeared to me to be generally more businesslike in their manner. The days of the “day tripper” wandering the aisles in search of the next free giveaway to stuff into their free tote bag appear to be dwindling. Let’s hope so! Tire kickers are not productive for any business. Today’s attendees seem more focused on their firms, and less on the party, than in the recent past. If so, something good is coming from the bad economic times we have all experienced.

The manner in which we present ourselves does matter. Proper presentation of yourself screams that this event is important to me. I’ll be casual when I’m off duty. The military many years ago realized that there was an appropriate time for a full dress uniform, as well as for fatigues, because behavior is affected by appearance.

No matter whether you are male or female, customers will respond to you in a manner directly related to the image that you are presenting to them. What impression is your customer receiving? Remember, as the iconic rock band ZZ Top so elegantly stated: “There’s something women like about a sharp dressed man!”

Tom Jennings

Tuesday, January 31, 2012