Expensives Tastes: Sales Slacker or Sales Superstar?

Devon-McDonald by

This year, I heard two conflicting points of view about “luxury items and sales reps” from sales management teams outside of our portfolio. In a conversation related to recruiting tips, one VP of Sales told me that during an interview with a sales candidate, he always looks at what the candidate is wearing and carrying. If a candidate is adorned in Prada and fine Italian leather, he takes this as a good sign that this candidate is money hungry, and they will do whatever it takes to maintain their lavish lifestyle.

I was intrigued. As a former recruiter, I’d be lying if I said that I don’t take into consideration how a person presents themselves. If this person is interviewing for a client facing role…are they nicely groomed, presentable, well-put together? These are all the things I observed and recognized, BUT I never thought that labels = drive when it comes to sales.
Interestingly, not three months later, I had the EXACT opposite conversation with a sales hiring manager. He told me about one of his new sales hires walking into the office on her first day with an over-sized Louis Vuitton over the shoulder bag — this surely was an expensive purchase. This manager said, “well that was a poor choice on her part — that indicates to me she is spoiled, rich, and doesn’t need to work hard because she comes from money.”

Wow – two VERY different opinions. Here’s my thought on the topic: it doesn’t matter what a person is wearing. On sales teams EVERYWHERE, you will face wealthy, hard workers as well as rich, lazy individuals who don’t have a care in the world about money, and will probably not add a lot to your expansion stage business’ growth. HOWEVER, you will also work with poor, hard working people who are striving to get ahead, and poor, lazy individuals who could care less.

Everyone is driven by something — money, prestige, pressure, a natural sense of competition, etc. In some cases, perhaps all of the above will apply. However, it’s not a safe bet to assume a sales candidate will be successful/unsuccessful based on the labels they are wearing.

What drives you?