Over the last 12 months, I’ve acquired a new addiction… shopping. And it’s not because I love clothes. The reality is I don’t care for them at all. At home, I walk around in .com t-shirts and basketball shorts because it’s super comfortable.
If it were up to me, I would wear that all day… including in business meetings.
But over the last 12 months, I’ve noticed that when I dress nicer, I seem to be getting larger business deals. Mainly, it’s because people assume that I’m well off based on how well I dress.
Funnily enough, I’ve done all right for a while now… but it’s only in the last 12 months that I’ve been dressing extremely well. I’ve always dressed somewhat decently because I’ve learned that it builds trust and credibility. And dressing well helped grow my consulting rate from $100 to over $1,000, all because of clothes.
As I don’t do much consulting anymore, I thought it would be a fun experiment to take wardrobe to the extreme and see what spending six figures on clothes would do for my business.
Before I get into what I learned, keep in mind that you too can achieve similar results without spending this much money. I’ll show you how towards the end of the post.
So, let’s get started…
How do you spend $162,301.42 on clothes?
That’s a good question. And to be honest, I never thought clothes cost that much either.
So I’m not buying anything that looks crazy. I buy so I can I attend a ton of business meetings and functions. The sad part is suits, jackets, tuxedos, and briefcases aren’t very affordable.
Plus, I meet with a lot of the same people often, so I try not to wear the same thing over and over again.
Suits like the ones below range from $2,000 to $7,000 a pop…
Briefcases like the one below start at $3,000…
Shoes like the ones below start at a $1,790 and can go up to $5,500.
And it doesn’t stop there. Add the accessories from belts to ties to tie clips… it all adds up.
Even my white dress shirts end up costing around $750.
Now that you understand how one can spend that much on clothes, let’s dive into how it’s helped me generate more income.
How fancy clothes can make you more money
People believe what they see. If people think you look successful, in their eyes you are successful.
It sucks because I would have rather spent the $162,301.42 on a charity than clothes, but I know I need to grow my business as it will make me more money in the long run. This will allow me to donate more money to charity.
Nonetheless, I have a closet full of nice clothes that I try to wear whenever I leave the house. I receive compliments from random strangers almost every time I walk out of my door. And some of those people ask me what I do for work.
Sadly, none of those conversations have turned into business deals because let’s face it… the average person you meet on the street typically can’t write you a six-figure check. Most people don’t own a business, and most people aren’t high power executives in the corporate world.
Where having nice clothes really helps is in business meetings. I’ve had so many meetings over the years that I know I can close roughly 1 out of 4. The biggest reason I can’t close at a higher percentage is that most people feel the prices I am quoting are absurd.
I have been tracking every meeting I attend for the last four and half years. I have a big Excel sheet with my closing ratios, average pitch price, company name, people within the meetings, their job titles, etc.
What I realized is that when I started to dress extremely nicely, the people in these meetings felt I was extremely successful. For that reason, they wanted to be associated with me, and it’s helped to increase my closing ratio from 25% to roughly 40%. That means out of every 10 meetings, 4 result in the companies signing up with me now.
The difference is huge! It was so huge that financially it brought in an extra $692,500 in revenue. It’s especially astounding considering that nothing else changed—not my pitch, not the prices, and not even the type of companies I was meeting with. The only difference was clothes.
How clothes can help build relationships
I rarely ever go to the store to buy clothes… because I hate shopping. But once, when I was in Dolce and Gabbana in Beverly Hills, a few basketball players walked in.
I didn’t know who they were or what they did. I just found it odd that they were walking around in small packs. One of them walked up to me and told me I had “swag.” I wasn’t very familiar with the term “swag,” but I took it as a compliment.
He asked me what I did; I gave him my standard spiel about me doing crap on the Internet; and he told me a bit about himself. He is the financial manager for a lot of the popular sports players out there. He teaches them how to save and invest money.
He took my number because he wanted to learn about how the Internet works, and he also gave me his corporate code for any Starwood Hotel so I would save a few hundred dollars per night anytime I travel. It may not sound like a big savings, but when you consider that I’m on the road for at least 200 days out of the year, it really adds up.
As some of his basketball colleagues were roaming around, one picked up a cashmere hoodie that was going for around $2,000. He asked me what I thought of it. I told him I liked it so much that I had already bought it. When asked what I was going to wear it with, I said gym shorts as I plan on using it while I run.
He thought I was crazy, and to some extent I am. After that, however, I received a few dozen texts from him and his friends, who gave me free NBA ALL Star tickets worth around $4,000, a few free courtside tickets to some Miami Heat games, and a few new business opportunities.
But could it just be me?
When I first started this experiment, I decided to do it with a friend because I wanted to see if it had a similar effect on someone who didn’t have as much money, experience, or business contacts.
A friend of mine, Mike Kamo, decided to do the experiment with me. His results were astonishing as well. But before I get into the results Mike saw, let me show you how he dressed a year ago…
Mike spent a bit under $10,000 on clothes, and now he dresses like this…
Mike came from a car dealership world, and he specializes in sales and sales management. After attending a few tech events dressed like in the image above, Mike found that people started coming up to him and asking him what he did.
While attending tech events, he consistently got compliments on his clothes, and a few of those people hired him to help them build their sales teams and fine-tune the process.
He did this on a revenue-sharing model, and it worked so well that he started to hit six figures in monthly income.
Now, you may say that he could have gotten the same results with his old clothes, but he didn’t. He has always been a confident and outgoing person. But when he approached people at tech events in a t-shirt and jeans, the people were nice to him, but no one wanted to work with him. Why? Because they felt he wasn’t successful.
To make the experiment even more interesting, Mike recently purchased a Lamborghini.
He usually drives a Mazda, but one of his buddies, who owns a Lamborghini dealership, asked him if he would buy a car as a favor. Mike didn’t care to make a purchase like this, but the dealership team had to sell one more car to hit their monthly sales number. And if they hit that number, Lamborghini was going to give them a big check for moving volume.
The dealership was willing to lose money on the car, so Mike bought it. Granted, once he drove it off the lot, the car depreciated, but he can still resell the car and make a profit of $12,000 to $13,000 after taxes, which he is planning on doing.
Like most of us would do, he decided to drive it for a bit and post a few pictures of it online. Can you guess what happened after he did that?
He received 107 Facebook requests from business owners. Most of them wanted him to invest in their businesses, but five of them offered Mike a portion of their business in exchange for advice. Mike moved forward with one of the companies, which is also providing him with a $50,000 upfront fee for his time.
That’s not too bad, considering all he did was post a picture of himself in a fancy car.
If you want to run the same experiment, you can do so on the cheap. Clothes don’t have to be expensive. I went to the extreme as I tend to do a bit too often. The most important part about fashion is how well the clothes fit you.
And if they don’t fit very well, you can pay a tailor to help adjust the fit.
The sad reality is that people judge us on how well we do based on things they can see. Clothes being one of those things. And based on Mike’s experiment, cars are also one of those things people judge us by.
By no means should you spend over $100,000 on clothes or anywhere near there… I just took the more efficient approach and went with brands that could send their employees to my home for a fitting while I was working because I didn’t want to step away from my computer.