“Empty pockets never held anyone back, only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.”

Norman Vincent Peale

Allow me to set the stage.

A custom-fitted suit has a unique, empowering feel as it sits comfortably against your body. It’s the statement you make about who you are and what you value regarding your appearance.

Anyone can stroll into their local department store and pull a suit off the rack, but to truly “pull off” the suited look, one visits a tailor. A custom tailor can enhance all of the best features through the fit of the suit.

Off-the-rack department store suits don’t offer much in a variety of styles; even the most formal stores will not have every suit style available on the rack. With a custom tailor, your suit can be made according to any style and with any fabric. There’s no limit to what you can ask for; custom liners, pockets, lapels, buttons, and monogramming; whatever you desire, a tailor can deliver the style and material you want.



A true sales professional thinks before they act. They plan, prepare, and practice as they build a structure of success. They lead with intention, becoming the example. A great sales professional is precise with their decisions by aligning their vision and values to earn the respect of their clients. With purposeful intent, they engage in heartfelt activities, benefitting those around them. And this is what your clients and prospects crave, right? They deserve a sales professional who is heartfelt, sincere, and fills out a suit with empathy, emotion, and excitement.

Sales professionals are effective in opening business conversations as they speak the language of leadership. This language clearly conveys their ideas to their audience. They use language which precisely explains their thinking to the hearts and minds of those whom they wish to move to action, their clients and prospects.

A true sales professional understands how to create and deliver their value proposition in a way that captures the heart and mindshare of their clients. Inside the book “Creating and Delivering Your Value Proposition” by David Pinder. The first paragraph inside the introduction nails it, “The term value proposition is used ubiquitously in business today and its original meaning has been dissipated into vague sales and marketing notions that are a million miles from its intended meaning and use.”

“If you don’t know the value you bring to your current clients, then how do you know the value you can bring to your potential clients?”

Sales professionals know the “why” behind their value proposition and use this to create heartfelt alignment with their clients and prospects.

How well do your clients know your value proposition? It’s about serving and delivering a measurable amount of value at all times. Live it, walk it, talk it, and broadcast it for everyone to hear. 

Sales professionals are not empty suits in the eyes of their clients and prospects!

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According to the Urban Dictionary, an empty suit is someone puffed up with their own importance but having little effect on the lives of others. A true empty suit conjures up the image of a business suit of clothing without a person in it who really doesn’t know what he or she is doing. 

How well are you demonstrating competence as a sales rep? 

What happens in the first meeting with a prospect, as they share their heartfelt problems and all you can add to the conversation is a stream of buzzwords, canned pitches, and sales jargon?

In a split second, this becomes painfully obvious to them that you have no empathy and no clue around their concerns, issues or how you may even help to solve their problems.

This, my friends, is an empty suit.

You’re dead in the water!

“Empty Suit, Empty Chair, Empty Promises”

A few giveaways…


People can smell sincerity the minute you walk in the door or open your mouth. Conversely, they can smell insincerity just the same. If you truly mean and believe what you’re saying, then it will come across as sincere.

Sincerity in sales means listening without an agenda. Faking sincerity will get you exposed! Empty suits come to the business table with their own hidden agenda. They’re wrapped up and too busy thinking about quotas and promotions as they reek of commission breath. It’s not about you; it’s about the wants, needs, and expectations of your clients.

Sincerely focusing on you and your best interests will get you exposed as an empty suit. All you’re doing is crushing your client’s hopes, dreams, and goals.


Without substance, one can’t add business value. Sales reps must discover what business problems are troubling buyers and then offer them sound advice. A true sales professional is always helpful. Instead of pushing buyers to buy, offer advice, and best practices within your area of expertise.

Empty suits fail to zero in on specific business challenges their buyer faces. They fail to demonstrate they understand as they care more about what goes into their wallet and their bank account.

Lack of substance plus low business acumen combined with poor business conversational skills leads to empty suit syndrome.

A sales professional who lacks substance fails to capitalize on the following conversations:

  • The challenges the buyer faces
  • The pain points these challenges present to them
  • How much, in quantifiable numbers, remaining in a status quo mindset will cost them and their company.


Lack of spark, an empty suit – what the heck are you talking about? 

What happens when your client has an issue, a concern, or something to address that may make you feel uncomfortable? Do you hit it head-on or avoid it as you fill them up with excuses?

An empty suit lacks the sparkle in their eye, that je ne sais quoi if you care to get fancy, that separates them from the professionals.

An empty suit fails to go the extra mile for their clients. It shows that their actions speak louder than words.

They fail to ask questions, listen closely, and ask more questions. They struggle to engage people in talking about their passions. The passions that get their eyes to sparkle. It’s about being humble, curious, and giving a rip. Three things an empty suit struggles to comprehend.


There’s absolutely nothing wrong with dressing the part. The problem lies when it’s all style and no substance. Expensive Armani suits are no substitute for business acumen. Fine clothing is not a substitute for brains.

I encourage all of you to look in the mirror and ask yourselves:

  • Are you sincere with your clients?
  • Are you bringing substance to your clients?
  • Do you have that sparkle in your eyes with your clients?

Don’t suffer in silence as the empty suit leads you down the road of obscurity.

Larry Levine outbound sales specialist

About the Author:

Larry Levine is an OutBound 2021 speaker. Larry is the best-selling author of Selling From the Heart and the co-host of the Selling From the Heart Podcast.

With 30 years of in-the-field sales experience within the B2B technology space, he knows what it takes to be a successful sales professional.

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