When I was home for the holidays, I had a conversation with my barber that completely changed the way I look at life.
The man cutting my hair also happened to own the place, so naturally, I asked him about the business and how people find out about his shop.
He said that although he doesn’t do much advertising (he’s tried various local publications in the past, with little to no benefit), word of mouth from his customers has always served him well.
“If I give you a great cut, and you love it, and people ask you where you get your hair cut, you’ll gladly tell them about my shop. My best form of advertisement is you.”
I’m his walking, talking, living, breathing billboard. Brilliant!
(It also helps that he gives a great haircut. Naturally, I’d tell my friends about his shop, and I’ll go back whenever I’m in town.)
Your Best Form Of Advertisement Is You
How does this apply to you, dear EG reader?
Consider this for a moment. Even if you don’t own a barbershop, and even if you’re not selling haircuts, every waking moment, you’re selling something.
My barber is selling his haircutting services.
You are selling yourself!
To your wife, your loved ones, your friends and colleagues, your boss, your company, your customers, your clients, that pretty girl you see on the train every once in a while… you’re always selling yourself.
People are receiving you, even when you’re not actively giving yourself to them.
If you dress well and put a bit of thought and effort into your appearance, it shows you pay attention to detail. It shows you care about presentation.
People assume that level of attention and care extends into other parts of your life (even if it doesn’t, ha).
You’re instantly more attractive, approachable, and open. You’re a walking, talking, living billboard for the persona you want others to see.
What They See Is What They Get
We often judge books by their covers, don’t we? The old adage tells us not to do that, but we do it anyway. We can’t help it, we’re human.
People are complex and individualistic, but we put them in boxes, because it’s easier for our limited minds to understand them.
The boxes can be constructed from physical characteristics (“mustache guy”, “redhead”, “super tall dude”), personality types or interests (“guy who’s really into sports”, “craft beer aficionado”, “couch potato”), or even first impressions (“he seems like a D-bag”).
Sometimes we combine boxes to create assumptions of these avatars we completely make up, which is even more crazy.
“Oh man, that mustachioed guy drinking a craft beer over there must be a D-bag, because one time, I met a D-bag with a mustache who kept going on and on about craft beers, so therefore, they must all be D-bags.”
Of course, your train of thought is rarely that linear, but we do make these assumptions from time to time.
What’s my point?
While you can’t control everything about how people receive you, you can control their initial impressions by how you dress.
Being an awesome, interesting, charismatic person also helps. But if you’re dressed sloppily, you’ve already got one thing working against you.
People judge books by their covers. Why not have a great cover so people will be open to getting to know the real you?
You know, instead of them wincing slightly as you approach because you look like an sloppy, unkempt college student.
In addition to refining your appearance so that others will be more open and receptive to you, realize that dressing well also improves your own outlook.
Yes, you can improve how you feel and think about yourself simply by dressing the part.
Notice, I said “appear”…
It goes without saying, you have to work on yourself, on the inside, before any true change occurs.
But! have you heard the phrase, “Act as if”?
Act as if you’re already the confident, sexy, in-charge man you want to be (by acting the part, dressing the part, surrounding yourself with the right people), and the rest will follow.
Three quick ways to be your own best advertisement
- Own your outfit. Learn to be comfortable in what you wear and the outfits you choose. Step it up a notch. Throw on a tie when no one else is. Tuck in your shirt when everybody’s in T-shirts. Own the fact that you’re a notch or two above everyone else around you. It’s a good thing.
- Inner game. I don’t know what comes first, inner game or outward confidence. I know for me, when I’m feeling and looking good, I exude confidence. For others, they manifest their confidence outwardly first (acting as if), which boosts their inner confidence. Whatever works for you, know that inner game and outward confidence go hand in hand, and people can subconsciously feel when that is lacking.
- Be deliberate. Confidently take steps in the direction you’re headed. Smile. Act as if you know what you’re doing, even if you’re somewhat unsure. Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out along the way.
All of these things work together, so practice everything simultaneously. And if you’re not getting the reaction or reception you expect, take a step back and see if you’re knocking out all of the above.
Imagine you as that billboard people see. How do you want them to react? Dress and act accordingly.
Just a little something to think about…
Don’t treat 2015 as just another year. The same ol’ routine.
I love receiving emails like this:
“Just wanted to say how much I’ve enjoyed the articles on your site and the Lean Wardrobe guide. The same day I read the guide, I ended up tossing about 4 garbage bags full of clothes from my closet, then visited several department stores a few days later and stocked up on OCBD shirts, snazzy V-neck sweaters, fitted dress shirts, dark chinos, bright socks, shoes, and a bunch of other stuff that fits right and is helping me to form my new wardrobe.
My wife is impressed with the ‘new me’ and I can already tell that people at work are noticing the difference. I feel more confident and am just really enjoying the new style. I didn’t have any big New Years resolutions until I stumbled on your website.”
Resolve, at the very least, to be aware of the way you are advertising yourself. Make the smallest adjustments to the way you dress and carry yourself, and expect big results in the coming months.
Kickstart the change to a sexier, more confident, more in-charge YOU
Okay, you understand appearance matters, and you’d like to refine what you’re advertising. Now what?
It’s not about looking at what’s on the runway, or checking out what the guys at Pitti Uomo are wearing this season.
That’s all great, and may be inspirational to a certain point, but you’re not there yet.
We need to build you a base, a small but interchangeable wardrobe that will serve you well now. Right now.
I challenge YOU to build a Lean Wardrobe in the new year
In the midst of the holiday madness, I launched a new course, Build A Lean Wardrobe, which is based on the popular 90-day challenge I put together last year (over 1000 guys went through it!).
This new course has every single piece of information you need to make the right decisions when buying.
You could figure it all out on your own, and reading all the articles on this site will certain help. But, if you don’t have time to wade through all the information, I hope you’ll consider registering.
It’s a straight-forward course that helps you build your Lean Wardrobe, from your shirts and pants, to your midlayers, outerwear, accessories (like ties, pocket squares, watches, wallets), and even your suits and sport coats.
I tell you what to buy, and why you should buy it.
If you’re large or skinny, tall or short, black or white, you can build a Lean Wardrobe with this eGuide.
I list variations and alternatives so no matter if you’re in a cold / hot / temperate climate, you will have what you need.
I even provide a shopping checklist. Print it out and you’re on your way.
How much more simple can it get? Get more details here.
YOU are your best form of advertisement
Maybe you’re not a barber, or a business owner.
Maybe you’re not a public speaker or are rarely in the spotlight.
Maybe you’re a regular 9-5er with a family to support, or a guy who is just starting his career, on his way up in life.
Guess what? You still have to advertise yourself in the best light possible, to everyone you know and meet.
Dressing well is only one part of the equation, but arguably the most important, because the way you carry and present yourself is the first thing people see, when they see you.
Think about that. And if you’re not completely happy with the presentation, make 2015 the year you change it for the better.
Here’s to a great new year!
If you’re reading this, know that you’re in the right place to improve your advertisement. I’m happy you’re here.
In the comments, tell me one thing you want to change or improve this year.
Even if it’s the smallest, littlest thing.
Even if it’s not necessarily related to style. It may be about your health, your wealth, your self-improvement (on the inside), you get the idea. Whatever it is, let’s hear it!
I’ll start, check out mine in the comments. Can’t wait to hear yours.