Dear Mr. Molloy:
Two years ago I opened a small retail establishment specializing in tools used in woodworking. While I’m not competing with the large box stores I do sell many of the same tools and accessories to many of the same customers as the large box stores. Our staff is more specialized and many of our tools are only used by experts and as a result are more expensive .
The majority of my clients are contractors, those who make custom furniture, artists who work in wood and serious woodworking hobbyists. We run classes for many of our clients and as a result, we have moved from a small out-of-the-way retail establishment to a larger more centrally located area.
I’m happy to report that we’re doing rather well. The reason I’m writing to you is we are considering putting our salespeople in uniforms. Our object is to make them look professional. What type of uniform would you suggest?
Name and Address Withheld
Your store is so specialized that you might try a non-uniform uniform. An obvious example would be a uniform of off the rack clothing, for example; jeans worn with matching plaid or solid colored shirts with a company logo. If all the clerks wear the same jeans and the same shirt they would be easily identified particularly if their shirts were easily spotted.
You might also consider letting your employees choose their uniform at a meeting, while guarding against anything tasteless, inappropriate or too costly. The best way to accomplish this is to limit their input by letting them choose from several uniforms that you’ve already selected. I also strongly suggest that you choose a uniform of traditional colors and color combinations. Research shows that a majority of the general public trusts people wearing things they expect them to wear. For example, they would not trust an artist wearing a traditional business suit but they would trust an artist who looked like an artist.
Before you commit to a uniform, take pictures of several of your employees wearing it and ask your customers if they think these clerks would be helpful. Although you will probably receive a positive answer, if over 20% of them say no, choose another uniform.
Remember the primary object when putting your people in uniforms is to make them easily identifiable which will allow customers to recognize them and ask for help.
If you decide to choose a non-uniform uniform avoid any nontraditional colors, I would avoid green, orange, purple and even some shades of red because next year or next week that shade can change and the one your people are wearing may be unavailable. I would stick with traditional colors which are always available e.g. blue, beige, white etc.
One final word on uniforms, if you have enough people it’s safer to purchase your uniforms from a traditional uniform manufacturer who will guarantee to keep that uniform in stock for an extended period of time. In addition they may have chosen uniforms for someone in your business before and have feedback on those uniforms.
Dear Mr. Molloy:
I have a 15-year-old son who is driving me crazy. He and his friends are constantly texting each other even when they’re in the same room. I’m convinced that they are losing out on personal relationships. Since you are an expert on nonverbal communications you should be able to help me prove to him and his friends that they are making a mistake.
A Worried Mother
For the last year I have been speaking on popularity. The reason I’m doing this is I am introducing my new book, “Becoming Popular.” It will be out in several months. I’ve been researching the subject of popularity almost 23 years. I started when I was researching sales and discovered that buyers are much more likely to listen to and buy from salespeople they like. I immediately started researching how to make salespeople likable when interacting with a buyer and went from there to making salespeople who worked with clients all the time, likable all the time.
Once the executives in companies knew I could do that they wanted me to teach popularity skills to them. They think it’s an essential business skill. I went almost without effort from teaching primarily executives to teaching everyone. Our research uncovered the fact that people who could read others are much more likely to be popular and that’s a skill that comes from personal one-on-one interactions. If you don’t have that you’re not going to be popular. Even though I tell teenagers as soon as they come in the room where I’m speaking that in high school and junior high popularity depends on looks more than anything else but as adults it doesn’t. They fill one audience after another. It seems that all teenagers want to be popular, so you have a wonderful case.
To My Readers.
I have to start by telling you I only accept a limited number of speaking engagements. I have two versions of my most popular presentation, “Popularity and Sales” a 30 minute to one hour version often given as an after dinner speech and a longer version which I generally advise against.
I also teach audiences to make a good first impression when they are selling themselves or any other important product in business and in most social settings. This is my audience’s favorite speech because I guarantee if they do as I instruct at least 85% of them will be able to make a good first impression when interacting with the general public, a member of the opposite sex, important people in their lives and so forth. In fact, they will be able to charm almost everyone they meet neighbors, friends, coworkers and in some cases the people who once intimidated them.
If you wish to engage me as a speaker, please email your request to; success.molloy@gmail .com. Do not send your request to this blog. On the other hand if you want me to answer your questions, send them to the blog not to the email address. I personally read the questions for the blog, while an aide forwards emails he thinks I should read.