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Saturday, 30 August 2014

The first thing a man looks at

... in another man are the shoes.

For they are a very quick giveaway of the social and financial status. 

Our mind has developed these shortcuts, to cut through the clutter of how a man is trying to market himself - to what he is

This is a story about personal marketing and human instinct. 

If tests forever show that we humans tend to be more friendly to someone who drives a luxury car, it's not just the car that does the trick. 

For everyone can have a Maserati. All you need to do is skip that plan to buy a house, forget about annual holidays or an Ivy League education for the children or a protection and insurance plan for the whole pack. We assume though that the man in the Maserati has all those things in place already.  

Consequently: 'He can even spend so much money on a low priority item. Just how secure must he be'? 

This is not mere superficiality. It's our own protection plan: 'Phew, with this person we can relax. He won't be asking me for cigarettes, money or to buy the drinks. He won't be asking me around midnight if he can sleep on my couch, or run away with my wallet or suck up to me for unknown reasons. He's stable and what you see is what you get. Maybe he's got good business contacts for me, or it might be a fun evening ending in a pool party in a luxury villa. At any rate, there's no DANGER. I can let my guard down'.  

The car becomes a pars pro toto for a life. One attribute conjures up a whole set of possible qualities or advantages.  

The same applies to the shoe-issue. It's the last thing on our own radar, and thus the most handy giveaway on the radar of the other.  

For when it comes to his appearance, the average man will first focus on his face. Having the money for the dentist, getting that mole removed, and to be neatly shaved. Only then he turns to the wardrobe. Shirt, tie, jacket, slowly trickling down to trousers, belt - oh, wait, the watch doesn't go with this, now the smartphone is out of tune and then - oh, wait, studies show that with a branded shirt people are nicer to you, etc. 

And shoes come at the very end. They are those things you jump in when you're half way out the door.  

And thus, you think you look like - and feel like - a walking Dollar-sign, but your shoes are from the Chinese shop around the corner and there you go, the very first impression is: 'poor'. 

Even if the conversation partner is lightyears away from thinking in financial terms, there might be a feel of 'something doesn't click'. He wants to appear financially stable, or hip, or trendy - whereas he clearly isn't. In what else is he being insincere? Or it's simply vague intuition that kicks in: What's wrong with this picture? 

The other way around, you can forever wear the same sun-bleached T-shirt and jeans, but with high quality shoes that first impression can tip in your favor again. 

Still not superficial? 

Well, if every rabit would want to study that eagle from up close, really know the personality and background of that fox, there wouldn't be any rabit left. 

Until further notice all personal and professional marketing and survival techniques alike are very much about the facade. 

And since we know that too, and have passed the phase of relying on it, we develop ways to cut to the chase. To pierce through that facade. 

We dress ourselves up for eyes, but eyes are only one tool: our instinct makes the final decision. 

Any moment in time is an attack on our senses, an avalanche of information, forcing us to see or meet hundreds of people, while our rational brain also has to balance our personal, professional, short term and long term goals, our temperament, our mood, our thoughts, budget, social norms - it's a miracle we don't end up in a straitjacket. 

Hence why we tend to instantly zoom in on what might be deciding factors. So, you've got a Rolex, the right iPhone and right branded shirt - that don't impress-a-me much. Those are the tools of the magician to make you look in the wrong direction. 

Hence why a website converts a visitor into a client in 7 seconds. Hence why we don't read a website but quickly scan it.  We are scanners, all the time, everywhere. 'Is this picture consistent'?  It's merely a survival technique. And only if the result of that scan is positive, we open the security fence.

'Good shoes. He's someone who is really secure, or has got a sense of priorities, of what part of the body needs quality and which one not, he's NOT trying to dazzle or fool us or put up a facade, not a brand-addict nor a snob, I feel I can trust this guy'. 

Do you need to buy good shoes? Well, a shirt is not likely to ruin your body or health. So, yes. Are you so confident you couldn't care less what someone else thinks of you?  Great, that's worth more - and more appealing - than anything else. 

Does your business depend on impressions and you notice your conversation partners seem to be reluctant to convert into clients? 
Invest in quality shoes.
And then, naturally, in those other extremities of your business persona: your business card and website.

Those last things on your mind, often are the first ones for others.

It's the reason why your website can have 20,000 visitors a month, but only few of them convert into clients. 

There's something wrong with the shoes. 

Bernardus




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