You heard me right; what’s inside may be all smart and powerful but the fact is, many people won’t spend time knowing the inside of you if the outside isn’t pretty. Pretty is relative, of course, but you get my point. If you aren’t easy on the eyes in the first place, you will have a much harder time with sales. Selling yourself, or your products and services.
I watched a racial profiling video earlier this week; it painted a striking example of being judged by what’s on the outside. You may have seen it, too: the one with the hidden camera crew filming the reactions to a bicycle thief in a public park in broad daylight. The first thief is white, wears his baseball cap backwards with a T-shirt and jeans. During the first hour of filming passersby either ignored the bike thief who is busy hammering a lock, then switching to a saw, and finally bolt cutters, to successfully steal the bike. A few passersby comment, several even ask if it is his bike. He replies, ‘not yet.’ All those who witness the theft in action though, walk by. In the hour, none of them stop, and none call the police.
Scene two: a black young man, baseball cap on backwards wearing a T-shirt and jeans. He barely makes it past the hammer phase before a pack of 8-10 people are surrounding him; inside two minutes one of the men is calling the police.
The third scene cracked me up: a pretty blonde chick is futzing with the bike for quite a while. Passersby that are female ignore her completely and the men hit on her! Several ask if it is her bike, she too replies, ‘not yet.’ Inside minutes, several of the men gathered around her cut through the lock with bolt cutters letting her steal the bike!
In another video, people again walk on by when the young white and black men change out of baseball caps and Ts and into business casual clothing. They also walk on by when the actor, male or female, is fat. What’s on the inside doesn’t change in the examples: all are actors. What’s on the outside shifts enormously and so do the reactions of passersby.
Let’s bring this into the corporate world. Who commands your attention more: a pretty blonde, a well-groomed man, or an overweight unkempt woman? Gender and hair color aside, let’s specifically look at well groomed and overweight individuals. For me, the well groomed win every time. I love men and women, but my chick-penis fully relates to men. Well dressed and carefully groomed, they have my complete attention and I’ll care more about what they have to say or sell than a fully made-up woman. The fat people earn my immediate respect but that’s a choice I make because I empathize with living in a processed-food world.
The Center for Disease Control shows statistics that fully 69% of people in the U.S. aged 20 and above are either overweight or obese. That means most salespeople are both fat and selling to a fat audience. It’s not going to win awards for promoting gender equality, but a recent study suggests that overweight women who wear makeup are seen to be more competent, amiable and trustworthy – and likely to get ahead in the workplace. Yes, I’m saying if you are female and overweight, and want to be more successful or generate more sales, wear makeup!
In addition to makeup, be well groomed! Men and women: your appearance is everything. Don’t be taken for a thief or used car salesman, take the time to wear clothing suitable for your position, clothing without food stains. And take the time to groom your hair, teeth, and fingernails: they are the most commonly judged body parts.
Stand out from the competition regardless of your gender, race or weight by being easy on the eyes; you may not like it, but the fact is, it’s what’s on the outside that counts!