March 11, 2008, 7:00 am

The Cost of Appearance

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Career
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We are living in a world governed by marketing. Every day, we are exposed to thousands of ads via tv, panels, posters, radio, phone, emails, internet, pamphlets, mails, etc. It is not about what it is but about what you think it is; it’s all about perception. Therefore, marketing become a second nature for many of us that work with people. You need to be smart, you need to look smart and you need to get other people think that you are smart (even thought some people only do the 3rd one!)


I recently started a new job and that has to do a lot with trust between two individuals; between the client and his financial planner. While I am qualified to do the job (I have the diplomas, I read about finance all the time and I even write about it!), that doesn’t mean that my clients will believe in me. Therefore, I have to sell myself. This is actually the case for everybody that wants a promotion as well. You have to sell yourself to your boss if you want him to see you the way you really are.

Clothes

Clothes might be the most important asset (or cause of failure) you may have. When you dress well, you inspire trust and competency. When I started my first job, I used to show up with Docker’s pants and a shirt or polo. There was nothing wrong with that, but I was showing the image of an average employee. Keep in mind that average employees earn average wages and have average positions.

Ties, nice shoes and new shirts; this is where I had to go through before starting my new job. Thank God I have enough suits already!

Diplomas

You will laugh, but until recently, I didn’t have my Bachelor diploma (dated 2003!). The truth is that I never give much importance to a piece of paper. Unfortunately, most people do! However, I can appreciate that they want to be reassured when they sit in front of somebody that will manage their money. It’s their right and it is good this way.

Then, I had to order my diploma and search for nice frames to put all the paper I have on the wall. Hopefully it’s going to look nice in my office!

Decoration

Then again, you may laugh but there is nothing less motivating than an empty desk. I got lucky on this one as my parents bought me some plants and I had stuff at home that I could use to furnish my office.

Other

The list may be endless, but here are just a few items: a blackberry, a laptop, a nice suitcase, a new hairstyle, a little radio to play classical music, a new golf set, etc.

After spending about $800 on my appearance, I am just giving myself a chance to have people listen to me when I want to help them out J

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Comments

wow – we’re on the same wavelength today – check out my post on http://www.nancyzimmerman.com about marketing/word-of-mouth.
I sure know what you mean, too, about creating The Look. In my role as a money coach, I had to actually *not* look like a banker, because I wanted to convey an extremely high approachability factor. I think I erred too much on the casual side sometimes. Plus, there are geographic differences – Toronto money-people probably need to have a different look than a Vancouver money-person.

First impressions can make or break a relationship. Clothes, grooming, gait, posture, desk, shoes … they all convey who you are. Your $800 investment is a smart move and should help in your new venture. Good Luck!

I agree that appearances make the difference. It is only a start though – at the end of the day what really matters is your performance in the role. However, when given a choice between two equal people for a bigger role, the one who presents themselves better will come out on top.