Wearing A Blue Suit Drives Higher Win Rates


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Periodically, we do deep research on what drives winning. A couple of years ago, I revealed some of the research in, “In Examining 27,357 Wins, 95% Of Sales People Did This One Thing.”

Those conclusions are still valid. But we’ve learned some new thing. One of the most remarkable observations is that wearing a Blue Suit drives win rates that are about 2+ times higher than any other color suit. Digging into the research, I always wear suits in calling on customers. (Yeah, I’m very old school.) I have 5 blue suits and two grey suits. I rotate them, so during a week, I might wear a blue suit about 3 or 4 times and a grey suit 1 or 2 times.

I win deals when I wear my blue suits. To be fair, I also win deals when I wear my grey suits. But after several years of studies, I found I win more deals when I wear a blue suit than when I wear a grey suit. Since I win more deals wearing a blue suit, I’m retiring my grey suits and will wear blue suits only. My winning should skyrocket!

Now, those of you that are paying attention might say, “But Dave, you are wearing blue suits 2.5 time more than you wear your grey suits. So you should be winning more in blue suits because you are wearing blue suits much more often.”

Others might pose the question, “Are they buying because you are wearing a blue suit? Is that the primary reason that drives their decision?” They would realize the reasons I win may be very different from what I have concluded.

It might have nothing to do with blue suits. It may be my charm and devilishly good looks. It might be because the solution I have proposed produces the best value for what the customer is trying to achieve. It might be some other things.

Unfortunately, the literature is rife with faux research and insights. Most no more valid than my analysis of what color suit I wear, but all accompanied by masses of data that may be correlated but have no causal relationships.

And worse, these “experts” suggest if you do this thing, it will drive your win rates, response rates, whatever it is you want to achieve; when the reality may be something completely unrelated.

These faux researchers don’t do the work, they don’t ask, “What caused you to buy?” They don’t test different premises, they don’t try to understand, “These are the things that cause these outcomes, not doing them causes negative outcomes.” They don’t assess, “Did they take this action for theses reasons or was it for other reasons.”

These researchers just want to fool you into thinking that correlation create outcomes, not looking at what really caused the outcomes.

Even worse are the people that read and believe this horse-shit. Many of you may run out and buy blue suits (if you do, look for a dark navy blue, Super 140-150 wool).

When we read research, it’s our job to think about it critically, not just blindly believe it. Is the research based on understanding what cause things to happen, or understanding the why. We owe it to ourselves, our companies, our customers to be skeptical.

But too often, thinking is hard. It’s easier to just do what we are told creates success without assessing can it create success for us. And when that doesn’t work, to look at another piece of faux research, or for some other miracle cure. Plus, these provide convenient excuses for failing to produce results.

All I can say is there is just too much crap and bullshit and too many people accepting it blindly. Just stop and think and do the work, it’s much more difficult, but produces better results–at least that’s what the research says.

Afterword: My favorite faux research company has just published a “thoughtful” piece of research concluding “swearing with the customer,” causes you to win more. They analyze shared swearing, swearing by the customer only, swearing by the sales person only and swearing at the customer. They come to the conclusion, like my blue suits, that swearing drives higher win rates. (The underlying mechanisms are very obvious and have nothing to do with swearing, but they can’t be bothered with understanding this. They maintain it’s all about swearing.) All I can think is WTF?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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