Updated December 18, 2018 for minor content and product selection modifications to keep this article current.
What are deal sleds? For those not in the know, deal sleds are expensive slip-on shoes. Usually, these are some type of loafer made out of leather, satin, or other plush material traditionally adorned by bankers who are always “closing deals”. Historically, Gucci and Ferragamo produce the most sought-after editions and are considered to be the standards for these confidence trotters (pictured below). While these used to be personal hype devices for high-class bankers in the early 2000’s to early 2010’s, now the secret is out and the entire consulting world is murmuring about deal sleds. Consultants across all industries, and at most of the top-tier firms are wearing deal sleds to client meetings and to the home office in order to signal they are “crushing it”. Deal sleds have hit a tipping point of evolving into a wider trend that is sure to end in some form of harakiri once clients start to catch on.
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To be honest, I like the idea of these, only if they’re someone’s personal lucky charm. Now that the proverbial cat is halfway out of the bag, it tends to come across as douchey and pompous. If I was a client who knew about the concept of deal sleds, I would take it as a signal of overconfidence and feel the need to prove those damn deal sleds wrong if only to challenge their perceived power.
If you really want to rock the deal sleds, I say wear some sick monk straps to the client meeting, then sport the deal sleds at the office as a not so quiet nod to you being the man for closing a deal. Or even better, set up an incentive program with your group where the person who closes a deal is gifted deal sleds, and can only wear them on days he is closing and the third Friday of every month because wearing them too frequently will certainly drain their magical influence. This could be done in a small ceremony bestowing the sleds on the deal closer at which point they can parade them around the office in a stride of pride, finger guns and all.
If you are looking for something similar to the Gucci's and Ferragamo's of the world, but don't want to shell out $500+, check these out for under $350.
What do you think about deal sleds? Too much? Perfectly fine? Give us your opinion in the comments below!