Oftentimes new agents aren’t sure what to wear to consults or seminars. So, they sheepishly approach us with this question, “So, uh, what should an insurance agent wear, anyway?” Good question. There are lots of things you could wear. You should look nice – business or business casual. But…more than that, you should be picky about the colors you choose. Why? Because there is scientific proof that the colors we wear affect our first impressions. Certain colors simply rub people the right – or wrong – way. Seniors specifically respond better to different colors than other age groups. This means if you dress in just the right hues, you’ll have a higher chance of being successful in client interactions. The power is in your hands to influence your client’s first impression of you, and it’s all based on what’s in your closet!
What do colors mean?
It’s known that colors have a great deal of symbolic value; for instance, your favorite color might say a lot about you as a person. In fact, many cultures across the world demonstrate similar if not identical color value indications, proving that different tones can have a deep subconscious effect on people. Of all the colors tested, seniors 65 years and older responded best to these (from most to least popular):
- Blue (Intellectual): communication, trust, efficiency, serenity, duty, logic, coolness, reflection, and calm.
- Purple/Violet (Spiritual): spiritual awareness, containment, vision, luxury, authenticity, truth, and quality.
- White (Total Reflection): hygiene, sterility, clarity, purity, cleanness, simplicity, sophistication, and efficiency.
- Orange (Physical/Emotional): physical comfort, food, warmth, security, sensuality, passion, abundance, and fun.
- Yellow (Emotional): optimism, confidence, self-esteem, extraversion, emotional strength, friendliness, and creativity
- Black (Total Absorption): sophistication, glamour, security, emotional safety, efficiency, and substance.
Colors have such a way of influencing our responses because they’re subconsciously calling upon our internal values. If you want a successful interaction with your client, consider their values so you know which colors to amp up. Studies recently have shown that the seniors of America, now the Baby Boomer generation, generally value control, inclusion in processes and decisions, social identity, family, health, and community. A smaller portion of this sample also noted tradition and religion as key values in their lives. When it comes to the broker relationship, seniors want to feel that they have autonomy and respect.
Seniors responded overwhelmingly in favor of the color blue, as its symbolic values are too appealing to ignore. Since Baby Boomers like autonomy and being in control, the communication and trust aspects of the color blue make it more engaging.
The second-best tested color was violet, or purple, as it indicates authenticity and truth. These are a few values heavily appreciated by seniors because they greatly believe in making informed decisions. Another strong contender for the second-best tested color was white. This symbolizes clarity, sophistication, and efficiency. These can play to the normative values of seniors like tradition and religion.
Orange and yellow can be used as supplemental hues and not main colors of focus. While they did test well among seniors, these colors were statistically low on the list. This is probably because they are so busy and distracting.
So, What Should an Insurance Agent Wear?
With all this in mind, we recommend starting with a base neutral color. Black or grey are good options to indicate neutrality and efficiency (plus, black goes with just about anything). So, a plain black or gray suit, that would work perfectly as a foundation! Then, top things off with a cool blue, purple, or white shirt/blouse. For accessories such as scarves or ties, choose something with a hint of any of the previous colors mentioned. You can even add a warm color into the mix to try to increase subconscious call-to-action behavior in your clients. Yellow and orange are good options for this. Remember: don’t get too crazy with colors! Mixing too many can make you look too distracting, undoing your chances of making a good first impression. Even if red is your favorite color, it isn’t the best color to wear when interacting with seniors.
You have the tools and the power to shape your client interaction exactly as you’d like, and it all starts with that vital first impression! When you wake up tomorrow, think twice about the clothes you wear to work. It could mean the difference between a huge commission and a lost client.