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Selling Design: Rick Segel

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Selling Design: Rick Segal

BY INDESIGN TEAM

Published in the July-August2012 issue

Many of us make the assumption that a well-dressed and well-cared-for person has more financial strength than the person wearing dirty jeans, a T-shirt, or unkempt hair. We also tend to judge people by the car they drive. Someone who is driving a late model Cadillac, Mercedes or Lexus is believed to have more money than someone who is driving a 10-year-old Buick. However, this is not always the case anymore.

We are living in the age of “stealth wealth.” Do we have to look any further than Steve Jobs as the perfect example of the type of behavior that downplays the importance of materialistic adornments? The real problem is that rich people just don’t look like rich people anymore — or perhaps they do. When people are comfortable in their skin and know what is important to them, they don’t need the impressions that appearances can create.

On the other hand, we know that many people love to collect the trappings of a successful life. Think about the 30-something who leases the premium auto because it makes him feel good … or the woman who is constantly trading up her diamond for the personal high it gives her … or the couple who stretches to get that bigger home, just because they want it.

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Let’s not judge people by what is important to them; let’s learn to appreciate that every person has the potential to become our best customers. That person wearing the dirty jeans deserves the respect that your business has to offer, the same respect that Richard Gere had to insist upon in the movie Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts went into a high-end store and was ignored.

The bottom line is this: Who gives us the right to decide who our customer will be? We win some, we lose some, but we dress for them all.

Rick Segel, retail trainer and best-selling author

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