I’ve become known in this industry for wearing a suit and tie. In fact, some people laugh at me because of it. I’m used to that. I’ve become known in this industry for wearing a suit and tie. In fact, some people laugh at me because of it. I’m used to that.

Many years ago I was part of a small group of cleaners that met each week to discuss some joint-market ideas. Each week the cleaners would complain about the economy and moan that customers won’t pay their price (not much has changed in 15 years). I walked in carrying a briefcase and a positive attitude and they literally laughed at me and said, “Who do you think you are, Zig Ziglar or somebody?”

Well, at the time I didn’t know Zig Ziglar, but since that time Zig has been on my stage and I have done many projects with his organization. In fact, I just talked to Tom Ziglar on the phone this morning.

I’m not here to tell you to wear a suit, but let me ask you this… Can people tell that you are the best at what you do by how you dress? How you groom yourself? Or are you cutting some corners there that you know you shouldn’t cut?

11 Assumptions

Did you know that every person you meet makes as many as 11 immediate assumptions about you before you say a word?

They judge how successful you are, whether you know what you are talking about, whether they can trust you and much more. You do it. I do it. We all do. In fact, be aware of this the next time you meet someone. Notice how your mind automatically begins to make assumptions based on your experience.

These are hidden, pre-programmed assumptions that happen automatically. Here are the 11 assumptions people make about you:
  1. Trustworthiness
  2. Economic Level
  3. Educational Level
  4. Social Position
  5. Level of Sophistication
  6. Economic Heritage
  7. Social Heritage 
  8. Educational Heritage
  9. Success
  10. Moral Character
  11. Future Potential
Remember that only 15% of success in business is due to technical knowledge, while 85% is due to people skills and a professional image.

Here’s something I use that may be helpful to you: may I present The Professional’s Modular Dress Code.


Shirt: Knit golf type shirts with an embroidered logo look best in my opinion. To get the best quality shirts you will have to buy them direct, and your employees will need to launder them regularly. Uniform companies offer these types of shirts, but they are generally not as sharp as those you can buy from a retailer.

Pants: Professionally pressed Khakis.
Belt: Casual woven belt.
Shoes: Tennis shoes.

Residential Cleaning Consultations

Shirt: Long sleeve Oxford button down with embroidered logo. Professionally pressed.
Pants: Khakis, professionally pressed.
Belt: Casual woven belt.
Shoes: Loafers

Note: if you are cleaning and doing consultations the same day, you can simply keep your loafers and your long-sleeve shirt on your truck.

Commercial and Referral Source Visits

Wear a sport coat and tie. If you get serious about the way you dress, you will attract serious prospects. Prospects will not ignore you as easily. If you are doing residential cleaning evaluations, you can simply add a sport coat and tie to the routine you are already wearing.

It’s considered tacky to wear a tie with a shirt with a logo, so make sure your sport coat covers it. 


One would think that he shouldn’t have to mention this, but experience has taught me otherwise. I routinely bump into business owners that have hairs growing out of their nostrils, dirty fingernails, and bad breath. Let’s think about it this way: the more pleasant-looking, smelling, and sounding, the more time a prospect or a client will be willing to spend with you. The more time you spend with your prospect or client, the deeper you will be able to penetrate with your message. Here’s a quick checklist:
  • Hair cut and combed nicely.
  • Face cleanly shaven.
  • Teeth white and clean (mints in pocket, briefcase, car).
  • Clothing professionally pressed! This is one detail that I see violated over and over. If you are too cheap or too lazy to press your slacks, you don’t deserve the Mercedes Client!
  • Shoes are clean and shiny.
  • Fingernails are clipped and clean.
  Remember that “work is theatre and every business is a stage.” You must adapt to your client’s expectations. If you want Mercedes Clients, you should dress appropriately to interact with such a person.