Clothes That Connect

97 Degrees and 85% humidity. 

Heat index of 106 degrees. 

And we want those fine folks on site to wear a wool suit while we sit behind our desks all day in an air conditioned office.

I've just come back from NAA in New Orleans, so maybe I'm a little heat sensitive right now, and correct me if I'm way out there, but there is something on the whole that is illogical about this train of thought.  Don't get me wrong, here.  I'm all for professionalism, quality work attire, and I fully understand how important it is for our people to look the part.  I'm just saying that maybe a suit jacket in the summer is a bad idea, and for quite a few reasons.

1.  The comfort of our employees - This is not to say that we should let our leasing consultants come in wearing flannel pants and a hoodie, but to get the highest performance out of an employee, they have to feel some modicum of comfort, and wool in the summer doesn't bring that comfort.  If you don't believe me, just ask any kid who had to wear a marching band uniform in the nasty August heat.

2. The connecting perception of our customer - Professionalism is important when it comes to attire, but sometimes a that suit coat can be a real distance-maker.  As psychologist Maslow pointed out, people want to belong to a group.  Because of this we gravitate to people who sound the most like us, act the most like us, and, most importantly, those who look the most like us.  While the suit does give your team visual credibility, it also does not attract or encourage the personal connection if your prospect is in jean shorts and flip-flops - a powerful ally in closing the lease.

3.  High energy workplaces and non breathing materials do not make for good smelling employees.  Summer is our busiest season and we fully expect our employees to be in overdrive for this 4 1/2 months of constant motion. By two pm in the warmer areas of the United States, most of us don't want to stand anywhere near each other. We know that smell is almost 60% more effective than any other sense that a human being uses.  How the heck do you expect people to close a lease when they smell like a Turkish Bath by midday?

So do I think your people should be selling apartments in beach attire?  Hmmm... while the idea of bikinis in the leasing office probably holds some value, for the sake of sexual harassment lawsuits, I'd probably pass on that idea.  I say, go the khaki shorts/skirts and polo shirt route.  It's got an air of summer professionalism and a down to earth connection ability.   Also that particular summer professional wardrobe is going to be a heck of a lot cheaper on your budget than buying lighter wool thread count blazers.  Additionally, our team won't look the same as the other 3 sweaty and red-faced leasing teams the prospect has already seen that day.  Your team will be cool and relaxed and having a good time because they're not overheated, and they'll have an edge on closing that lease!

"Thank You, Heather!"

A Marketing Plea - Can we move Independence Day?