3 Tips To Help Your Team Learn To Appear More Professional
Perception is everything. Anyone on your dealership’s team whose job is “customer facing” delivers an unspoken impression of your business every time they interact with someone. Customers, vendors, the general public. Even those whose job does not call for traditional customer contact still represent your brand when they are out and about. Do they need to appear more professional?
For some of us, professional appearance is top of mind every day. Others — truck drivers and equipment yard employees, for example – don’t necessarily think “professional appearance” as they go about their work. But all of us — from transport truck drivers to salesmen, service writers, and parts counter reps — can take steps to buff up our physical appearance and our demeanor.
Here are 3 areas in which your team can appear more professional:
Do we have to say this? Personal hygiene matters.
If you’re a long-haul trucker and want to skip showers, shaving, and clean clothes, you’re welcome to make yourself as uncomfortable as you like. But when you stop for fuel, food, or overnight, you will encounter other people. Offending them while representing your company is a poor business practice, to say the least.
If you look and smell questionable, it calls into question the care with which you operate your rig or handle customers’ products. That’s equally true whether you work for a big national carrier or you’re an owner-operator.
Surely no one on your dealership’s team is this insensitive, but personal hygiene can slip in more subtle ways that are equally detrimental to your image.
If you spill on a tie, you can take it off. If you spill on your blouse or shirt, people will overlook it (unless it looks suspiciously like yesterday’s spill). After all, spills happen to all of us. Dirt and grease can happen around your dealership, too, especially in the shop or yard.
If there are times when your service writers or parts counter folks are likely to become less-than-presentable, give them lockers or a closet where they can keep a clean shirt and pair of pants. Just as in the example above, grubby people make customers wonder about behind-the-scenes attention to detail.
It could well be that nobody at your dealership wears a suit and tie – these days, we all seem to be less formal, even in business situations. But when you appear more professional than your competitors, you can significantly elevate your dealership’s brand.
So consider the details when it comes to attire. No matter how hot it is, or what your job, T-shirts and flip-flops are out. For anyone who works directly around your trucks or construction equipment, shorts should be out, too. Dressing safely is always the most appropriate.
Dress up your demeanor.
Nothing says “great service here” than a smile. Smiles are free, and they’re easy to deliver. If you’re a natural introvert, or you’re having a down moment (or a down day), you may be shocked to discover that smiling at someone else instantly improves your mood. And it certainly improves theirs.
Ratchet it a notch by using their name, too. “Hi, Janice” tells your customer she is so important you’ve made an effort to remember her name. If you’ve never met her, say, “Hi, I’m Joe Smith and I’ll be your service writer today.” (You’ll learn her name once you start writing up her service ticket, then you can use it later.)
Always be on time. It’s just as rude to show up significantly early as it is to arrive late. This applies to delivering a machine to a customer’s jobsite as much as for other appointments. Other people have schedules, too, and their time is as valuable as yours.
And always keep your promises. All too often, things fall through the cracks because we’re overly busy and we get distracted. Or we haven’t made follow-through a priority. And yet doing what you say you will is one of the simplest ways to appear more professional.