How well are you selling you?

Unless you truly are a multimillionaire or someone who has ‘opted-out’ and who has no need for clients to buy your products or employ you to provide services, than by all means live your life in boardshorts and tee shirts. If not, you need to be cognisant of the fact that people buy people, says Jackie O’Fee. 

Almost every morning I listen to an inspirational TED talk or YouTube podcast as I apply my make-up. I consider it a kind of active meditation, and because I don’t pay for the premium YouTube, I’m often interrupted by advertisements.  

Some of these ads are from larger corporations selling some kind of consumer product, but a far greater number are from online marketers who, I think, are trying to sell me a way to make money online by re-selling products bought on Amazon. 

 At least, I think that’s what they are selling as mostly I wait the required three seconds and press the “Skip Ad” button.  But those three seconds give me an insight into the person on the screen who is trying to sell me the lifestyle of my dreams. You know, where I can work only minutes a day from a beach of my choosing. 

 While I understand their need to make a rapid connection with ‘someone like them’ if that includes the way they dress, I’m obviously not who they are targeting or are they missing something? 

There is a real call to authenticity in the workplace which I applaud. As a small business owner I’ve been subject to plenty of BS around how: ‘If your goal isn’t scaring you, it isn’t big enough’, and ‘If your business isn’t growing, it’s dying’, etc.  

And I am happy to report that although I once drank that particular brand, I no longer have a desperate need to prove myself in that arena. And perhaps that’s what these YouTube advertisers are keen on demonstrating – that they are authentic.  

The problem for them is that if you are selling someone a pathway to the “ultimate lifestyle” you probably need to look like you yourself have achieved that.  

To be recording a video in a scruffy hoody in what looks like your basement or while putting your child into the backseat of your old car is hardly testimony to your success.   

 So, that brings me to that authenticity. If you are someone who prides yourself on being down to earth, approachable and low key, if you don’t want to buy into the whole ‘keep striving’ ethos does that mean you still need to ‘dress for success’? 

Here’s the thing; unless you truly are a multimillionaire or someone who has ‘opted-out’ and who has no need for clients to buy your products or employ you to provide services, than by all means live your life in boardshorts and tee shirts, otherwise you need to be cognisant of the fact that people buy people.  

The way you dress is a reflection of who you are and if that is a note of discord for the people you are trying to sell to or work with, then you may be losing business.  

One of the key things to consider when dressing for your work life is the people you are hoping to do business with. That, however, does not mean you need to dress like your clients, but you need to dress in a way that makes you and your ‘story’ believable.  

If you wish to deal with clients who have a higher net worth, you need the subtleties of that world. Yes, that may still mean you live your life in jeans and trainers, but your jeans and trainers need to be slightly more expensive and perhaps even recognisable as a ‘brand’.   Likewise, if your clients hail from a more ‘blue collar’ environment you may wish to tone down your dress – to a point. 

It’s also important to consider what you are selling (and we’re all selling, whether it be ourselves, a service or product) and to ensure that your dress aligns with that.  

If you are selling an expensive (or perceived to be expensive by your clients) product, you need to look appropriate here too. 

 

Jackie O’Fee is the owner of personal style consultancy Signature Style. She works with both individuals and organisations.  signaturestyle.co.nz. 

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