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Car salesmen are in a league of their own. The preconceived stereotype of a car salesman is that of slick selling and a lot of coffee drinking. Attitude and being able to communicate with customers is important, but appearance also plays a huge role. Competition in this industry is fierce. A typical car salesman usually wears a smart suit. But what type of suit works best for earning trust and making that sale? Research has been done on this…
Robert Willemsen, presentation trainer, and author, regularly researches the relationship between a person’s appearance and behavior. As part of this research, he visited over twenty car dealerships as a mystery guest requesting a brochure. He then had several suits put together based on the clothes the dealers were wearing, got men to model these outfits, and photographed them. He showed the photo series to a few hundred people and asked respondents to pick two men: one with whom they would most like to speak with about buying a new car and one they would prefer not to speak with. Respondents had to choose a person based solely on appearance.
The first salesman wore a blue suit and scored the highest. Ninety percent of the respondents wanted to speak with him, and only 10 percent responded negatively. The second salesman also wore a blue suit but paired it with a bright yellow tie. That was less popular, with only fifty-four percent opting for him. He dressed the third in a bright yellow jacket and a black T-shirt. Almost three-quarters of the respondents chose not to engage with him.
To be honest, the results don’t really surprise me. He used two extreme colors in this survey: yellow and blue. Now, blue is known for being a color often worn in business environments. Research has shown this color makes people appear smart. Studies have also shown that it is the best color to wear when going for a job interview, partly because it radiates professionalism and gives the impression that you are a team player.
While yellow is the complete opposite. This color is not at all businesslike, and previous research has shown that it mainly radiates creativity. In some professions, the yellow jacket could score very well. I am thinking yellow is more suited to salespeople in an art gallery or a craft/ hobby type shop. In a creative environment, a basic, dark blue suit will probably score less well. So, as always, it depends on the environment.