Dressing for success – How your outfit affects your conversion rate in business

It’s been well established that certain elements, such as colours, can affect and even influence conversion rates in business (= your ability to turn a prospect into a customer). More often than not, however, you will see this discussion revolve around brands and websites. What can you as a man with a sense for fashion take out of this debate and apply to your business?

The importance of personal branding

Let’s diverge with quick a fact – humans bond to humans. The reason people do business with you is not that they like your brand (even though it can have human qualities as well), but because they like you.

This means that you and your personal brand are just as important as your business brand. And since you are the one who stands behind it, how you carry yourself and project your prescribed image onto others is going to directly affect your business success.

Much like the standard marketing mix and its P’s, personal branding has its own model of five M’s, the first of which is your physical makeup. This includes your pictures/portraits, name, label you give yourself and, yes, how you dress!

This is where the knowledge about improving conversion rates and psychology of colours intersects with branding (namely your style) and your success in closing new businesses.

Dress for business success – patterns & colours

Whether we like it or not, people are always evaluating. When you meet your prospective client (this can be face to face or through an online video), their eyes will automatically fall on your clothes. What they see will help them create an impression.

Since you want to make a good impression, you need to make sure your clothes aren’t a distraction for the prospect’s absorption of your message. If you dress too flashy, you risk removing focus from your face and words to your clothes. This is a problem as it reduces the effectiveness of your message and ultimately negatively impacts your sale.

Just to clarify, when we say sale, this doesn’t necessarily have to involve a monetary transaction – you can be also selling an idea or yourself at an interview.

What should you wear then? Let’s start off with colours.

Psychology of colours

From the psychology of colours and theory on sales conversion, we know that colours influence how your prospects will perceive and respond to your (marketing) message.

In business branding, this is a hard task because you must adopt a colour that will also resonate with your voice and brand personality. For our purpose, however, it’s fairly straightforward and simple.

In this article, we will consider the colours of your two most important pieces of your wardrobe – your suit and shirts.

High converting shirt colours

If you want the colours of your clothes to have the best positive impact on your conversion are, you should wear – pink, white, baby blue and yellow.

Low converting shirt colours

Conversely, you should avoid wearing the following colours on your shirt – black/grey, brown and green. Even though these colours might not be the ultimate deal breaker, their psychological properties are proven to lessen your ability to convert prospects.

As for the best colour of your suit – the safe choices are navy blue, charcoal grey and black. These will be easy to colour match with any of the high converting colours.

Avoid patterns on your shirt and suit

Once you have selected the right colour for your shirt, here’s the next piece of advice – avoid patterns. While they might be desirable in certain settings, business, sales and marketing is, for the most part, not one of them. They create a distraction for your prospect and defer from absorbing your message. The best practice is to stick with solid colours on your garments.

Where can you apply this?

Our business advice is best suited for dressing for marketing materials (pictures or videos) and attending business and sales meetings, but it could be applied even beyond this frame, such as interviews or presentations.

Naturally, there will be situations where the opposite may be required. For example, an eccentric, bold style making a statement might be desirable in the fashion industry. It’s therefore essential that you are familiar with your industry as well as your prospective customers.

Has it ever happened that wearing some garments ruined your sale? We would love to hear about your experience. Similarly, feel free to share also the opposite experience where certain clothes you were wearing improved your chance for business success.

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