How to negotiate more money without trying
I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase ‘dress for success’. Well, I’m here to tell you this is not just an old wives tale, it’s based in science.
There is now quite a bit of research conducted by reputable universities that has found that men and women who dress in business attire get better business outcomes than those who don’t. Not only do we adopt more strategic, big picture thinking but we also negotiate better.
Put another way, your comfy yoga pants while you work from home could be making your job harder! And also costing you a fortune.
In one particular study conducted in 2014 by Michale Kraus, an associate professor from Yale’s School of Management, they looked at “sartorial manipulation”, a fancy term for wearing clothes that have the potential to impact others around you. In particular they looked at who ended up negotiating more money while they dressed up or down.
Team A wore business suits and Team B wore sweatpants. Then both teams participated in mock real estate negotiations against other parties who were dressed in their standard clothes and unaware of the clothing manipulation.
The result? Team A in the business suits made a USD$2.1MIL profit, while Team B in the sweatpants made a mere USD$680K.
Don’t get me wrong, both teams made a profit, but as you can see, Team A in the suits did three times better.
3 X better!!!
At a macro level, researchers found that dressing up impacts your power and influence including signalling social rank, ability to command respect, perceived worth and ‘manipulating’ others perceptions of you.
At a micro level, dressing for success was even found to influence heart rate, hormones and stress levels. It’s that subtle, and that powerful.
“I firmly believe that with the right footwear one can rule the world.” — Bette Midler
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
What you wear has the potential to be helping or hindering your career. Your work attire has a huge impact on how you feel, think, speak and act – your confidence, authority and gravitas. And while in this piece of research they demonstrated how it impacted your negotiation power, it’s likely influencing every interaction you have whether you know it or not.
Dressing for success, looking the part and dressing for the job you want, not the job you have, are not just sayings that you might have heard a stylist say, they’re based in fact.
One final thought – negotiating a raise or a promotion rarely happens in the moment, it happens over a period of time such as in the three month lead up the official meeting. It’s not a case of turning up on the day looking like you’re the bees knees. It’s turning up, showing up and dressing the part in the three months prior at the very least.