Real Estate as a formal industry with the rules and etiquette of a corporation is a recent phenomenon in India.
Prior to that, when land, homes and offices were still within reach and prices hadn’t ballooned to unimaginable proportions, it was the small office sethji who handled real estate deals with a mix of black and white money.
Black and white still exists, but with the emergence of Corporate Real Estate in India, the proportion of black has shown tinges of shrinkage. Some companies are taking the stand and placing deals in fully white mode.
Corporatization of Real Estate
This slow shift to the white mode is accompanied by expectations of ease and openness in handling the entire deal, demanding a different type of real estate executive altogether – a corporate executive in fact.
Now that real estate is a corporate industry, the Clothing, Grooming, Body Language, Etiquette and Vocal Communication guidelines that apply to the corporate world, apply to the real estate industry too.
As a real estate executive, you should be projecting a professional image, particularly through your clothing. But, there is a difference in how you dress for corporate and individual clients. At the same time, the real estate industry has two sets of executives, both of whom come in contact with potential customers – the sales and customer-facing executives on the one hand and the on-site executives on the other.
In this post, we shall deal with Clothing Guidelines for sales and customer-service executives who interact with corporate clients.
As a customer-facing executive, your aim is to project the image of an authoritative, knowledgeable person who is efficient and trustworthy. At the same time, you need to be friendly, approachable and helpful. Your clothing guidelines emerge from these objectives.
Companies which scout office space, office buildings as well as accommodation in the form of guest houses, homes or land for their executives are used to dealing at the formal end of the business scale. They expect the same level of professionalism that they practice and the image they project. As a customer-facing executive, the critical component of the image you project is your Clothing.
Land, house and office deals are about diligence, trust and openness, so you need a tailored look. But, they are also about a certain amount of flexibility, because of the nature of the industry. When it comes to real estate, one set of buildings or land is vastly different from another. Speaking of buildings specifically – office or otherwise – there is plenty of rough, hard work that goes into it before the smooth exteriors and the well-designed interiors are finally ready for moving in. In terms of clothing, this translates into a look that denotes more flexibility than the highly formal, smooth look at the top end.
The Tailored Look
As a real estate sales or customer-service executive, you must be dressed in your business formals – anywhere from the Softly Tailored to the Casual Tailored Look – depending on the client you approach. Tone it down to the middle to lower end of the Style Scale at the chosen level of look, so that you don’t look highly formal in comparison to your clients.
This translates to suits whether you are dealing with high value, multiple deals or smaller value, single deals with companies. Wear an unmatched suit in firm to soft fabric. Stick to the classic styles, but where the shape and styling is concerned, you can relax the rules. You can have straight, angular style lines and shapes mixed with some soft curves.
Jacket colors can be in the lighter shades. Shades of the shirt can vary from the light to the dark. The fabric itself can be soft and pliable and does not have to be firm. Depending on the company and the executive you are about to meet, you may decide to wear a tie or not. But if you wear one, the knot need not be as precise and tight as in the Fully Formal Look.
Slip-ons are fine for shoes and they give you the flexibility to change into tough, durable shoes in case you make an on-site visit.
Keep the client’s look in mind when dressing. Dress a level above the client dress code or to meet their level. So, if you are dealing with a financial services company, you will probably be more formally dressed, jacket and all and when you meet executives in the advertising industry, you may decide to discard the jacket or the tie.
Although your on-site office executive is meant to take care of potential buyers and show them the sample house, plots, the club house if it is already built and handle their questions, you may have to make the occasional visit to the site.
Take your cue from the client while keeping the season in mind. In general, you can take on a more casual look. You can discard the jacket and even the tie. But let the change be subtle or it will be unsettling for the client.
Given the hot weather conditions, it isn’t in your interest to be dressed in jacket and tie for an on-site visit. So plan your day accordingly and slip down the scale into the Casual Tailored look to meet these needs.
Carry a change of clothes in your office, if your work involves moving between site and office. This will help you shift gears mentally and physically through your clothing when you move from one location to the other.
Make sure that your car is as clean as you are in case you drive the client to the site. An untidy car with dust and litter makes a mockery of all your efforts at dressing for success.
Look out for our next post which deals with Clothing when meeting Individuals and for on-site executives.