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David Nacco
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Dumb Question... How Should I Dress?

David Nacco
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Chattanooga, TN
Posted Aug 14 2019, 14:46

So I may be over thinking this or maybe this actually does matter as much as I think it does, but I am in the process of getting my real estate salesperson license. I’m on track to be licensed next month and I’m curious about how I should dress my first time meeting with brokers to interview. Is it appropriate to wear something like chinos and a nice button up dress shirt tucked in and dress shoes or should I be in a full suit? I was thinking I need to buy a suit to interview with them but I also don’t wanna stand out as being over dressed compared to everyone else and come off as a try hard or something but I don’t wanna look like a bum or a slacker showing up in something more business casual.

Long story short, I think I should buy a suit before interviewing with brokers but is this really necessary?

Also just out of curiosity, if I can only afford to buy one nice suit at the moment, would it be better to go with a navy or grey? I’ve been told black is too formal to wear every day. I feel like navy is the way to go if you only have a single suit?

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Dustin Allen
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Dustin Allen
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Replied Aug 16 2019, 07:02

@David Nacco

Suit without question for the interview. Nothing like out dressing the broker who is pretending to interview you. You are really interviewing them. As far as day to day, shirt and tie should be fine. Don’t sweat the labels, if it looks good on you then wear it.

I would put the suit on again for closings. People are making the biggest financial decision of their lives, generally, and you should dress like you respect that.

Labels and variety can come later. Don’t go spend $5k on clothes just to get started. Your car should be clean and dent free but again don’t sweat the label.

Good luck on your journey and become a VA loan expert. You can probably do very well with service members and have a unique value proposition for that market.

Dustin Allen - REALTOR® Logo

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Ola Dantis
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Ola Dantis
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Replied Aug 16 2019, 07:22

@David Nacco It is an interesting question. I think dressing to match the audience (the broker) is usually a safer option here. If the office is more casual, then its ok to dress to match that, but if there are more formal-suit and tie then match that. 

However, when meeting with clients, I must say that the saying: "dress as you want to be addressed" rings so true here. You can never go wrong with being suited and booted 🤵

Hope things work out for you! 

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David Nacco
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David Nacco
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Replied Aug 16 2019, 08:05

@Dustin Allen @Ola Dantis Thank you!

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Ola Dantis
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Ola Dantis
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Replied Aug 16 2019, 08:10

Pleasure is all mine 

🤗

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JD Martin
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JD Martin
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ModeratorReplied Aug 16 2019, 08:26

If you only own one suit it should be Navy. Dark enough to use for somber/serious events but not black, which is really hard to pull off and can send the wrong message anyway. A navy suit can always be toned down with the right kind of tie. 

As to what you should wear, since RE is a professional field I would dress professional. I have seen plenty of realtors that wear suits all the time. They may leave the jacket in the car but they always have button down long sleeve dress shirt and a tie. 

I once heard: "Dress for the part you want, not the one you have/are getting". It's worked out well for me. These days I rarely wear a tie, or even dress slacks, but I'm much closer to retirement than starting out and am practicing for the part 😜

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JD Martin
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JD Martin
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ModeratorReplied Aug 16 2019, 08:37
Originally posted by @David Nacco:

@Frank Wong Thanks for the input, I myself just turned 24 so I do look younger as it is. But I also carry myself in a very professional manner when it’s time to work. I have heard that it’s not uncommon for a certain agent to get picked by a client because they showed up in a designer suit with a Rolex on and drive a Mercedes even though the other agent is more qualified in terms of actual skill as experience. Have you found this to be true generally especially with upper middle / upper class clients? Do you think as I start seeing steady commission upgrading at least a few suits, shoes and watches to nicer designer brands and maybe getting a nicer car actually contribute to a pay raise?

You don't need a Mercedes and a Rolex. Your car needs to be clean and sensible. If it's got 3 color fenders, borrow someone else's car. If it's got huge smashes all over it, same. Otherwise, it could be a 300k mile Toyota Camry as long as it looks the part. Clean and neat and wouldn't make anyone question your mental fitness.

Also, on the suit: good materials and proper fit. 100% wool suit. High cotton content shirt - 100% will wrinkle like hell, but majority polyester or similar holds odors and looks cheap. I like a 70-90% mix, just enough man-made that it doesn't take an act of Congress to keep it reasonably wrinkle-free during the day. Good quality smooth leather shoes - brown works great, you don't need black - that you can put a shine to. Belt color = shoe color. Everything should fit you properly. Go to a suit store or a higher quality department store that has a men's department with assistance - doesn't have to be expensive, but it needs to fit right. Most suits will need some alteration to fit properly. Get the alterations done. If you are not cut thin go for plain-front pants, no pleats. If you are slight, get pleats and padding in the jacket. 

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David Nacco
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David Nacco
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Replied Aug 16 2019, 08:54

@JD Martin thanks for the advice. Yeah I definitely wouldn’t get a back suit as an only suit. I feel like it makes you look like you are going to a funeral or a formal dinner party lol

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JD Martin
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JD Martin
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ModeratorReplied Aug 16 2019, 09:30
Originally posted by @David Nacco:

@JD Martin thanks for the advice. Yeah I definitely wouldn’t get a back suit as an only suit. I feel like it makes you look like you are going to a funeral or a formal dinner party lol

It's not just that - it's a power play. There's no suit color darker than black, and (perception again) the darker the suit color the perceived greater level of power. Wearing a black suit implies "I'm at the top of the food chain". Dumb, maybe, but true. Navy is dark enough to convey confidence and perceived personal value, but leaves space for others. 

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Joe Splitrock
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Joe Splitrock
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ModeratorReplied Aug 16 2019, 11:23
Originally posted by @Account Closed:

@David Nacco

Be you. Nobody else. I accepted an award in front of 400+ other investors last year wearing a $12 Guns N Roses shirt and $40 pants. ~75% of those people in that room had either benefited from and/or specifically requested my advice but never had met me. The presenter had toured extensively with Tony Robbins and Bill Clinton... in my opinion, the surprised looks said more about them than me. I could’ve worn a suit, but it just ain’t me. I’ve been successful because I’ve found my niche and dominated the crap out of it. Not because of my outfit.

I would not wear a Guns and Roses t-shirt to a broker interview, but no doubt it would lead to surprise looks. I am just not sure surprise is what you want in a first impression.

Clearly the difference in your case is you never met these people face to face. You were able to gain credibility by your skills. In a face to face interview or client meeting, people will make their first impression within minutes of meeting you. If you don't make a good impression, it doesn't matter how good you are. 

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Replied Aug 16 2019, 11:49

@Joe Splitrock

Definitely wasn’t suggesting that. The suggestion was be yourself and wear what you’re comfortable with. There is virtually no situation in which I’m comfortable in a 3 piece suit,... and that always shows up in a negative way. Last time I wore a suit was my wedding, next time will be my funeral (I think?!). If a decent pair of pants and a dress shirt (tie optional, I do have a few great ones!) aren’t enough, I simply don’t attend.

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Haseeb M.
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Haseeb M.
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Replied Aug 16 2019, 12:35

@David Nacco

Dress like your clients, just a step up. First meeting is more important than the subsequent ones. Good grooming habits can help.

More importantly, take genuine interest in their needs and be patient.

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Dennis M.#5 General Landlording & Rental Properties Contributor
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Dennis M.#5 General Landlording & Rental Properties Contributor
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Replied Aug 16 2019, 13:03

Take a cue from the great jimmy Napier . Dress how they dress . Talk at the speed they talk, carry yourself the way they carry themselves . Act how they act . People want to business with people that are like them !

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David Nacco
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David Nacco
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Replied Aug 16 2019, 13:52

@Dennis M. Great tips never thought that deep into it.

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David Nacco
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David Nacco
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Replied Aug 16 2019, 13:54

@Haseeb M. Thank you I’ll keep this in mind. And yes I always would put their needs first. I’m not the type who tries talking people into buying things I’d rather them spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on something they love not something that makes me a big commission

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Henry Lazerow
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Henry Lazerow
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Replied Aug 16 2019, 21:02

Wear chinos and a dress shirt with sleeves rolled up. That's the go to business casual look. Safe for interviewing brokerages. Remember you are interviewing them pretty much every firm will take you. 

I do 10 million a year and wear nice jeans and a t shirt most of the time. Often the agents who wear the dressiest clothes actually close the least deals. Clients want someone relaxed not at all pushy and fun to work with not stuffy. Most important answer your phone! So many agents don't answer until a property is gone you got to be fast.

There was an agent at my old firm who would wear all designer suits with various $300+ belts and he did under 2 million a year it was funniest thing. 

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Jonathan R McLaughlin
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Jonathan R McLaughlin
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Replied Aug 17 2019, 03:45

@David Nacco

“One step sharper than the client” and in a job interview he client is the hiring person/office

You are doing three things:

1) showing respect to the business and people by dressing up

2) demonstrating an understanding of their culture and market by closely matching

3) conveying your professionalism and personality

If they are in jeans and Polo shirts go with dress shirts/ tie and jeans

If they are in dress shirts slacks go with tie and blazer etc and so on

If they are wearing blazers go with a suit, maybe with a less formal colo shirt then white

Once the environment is business casual in any form hard to go wrong with a well fitted suit

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Lee Kozokas
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Lee Kozokas
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Replied Aug 17 2019, 04:06

@David Nacco You need the suit man. Dress like you run the place. Gray is versatile