The following is a guest post from Ginger Burr, President of Total Image Consultants. For more about Ginger, refer to her bio at the end of this article.
When you meet with a client, you are there as an expert in your field, and they rely on you to guide them. That’s not news to you, I’m sure. But, while having the technical and intellectual acuity your clients want is obviously important, when meeting with new prospects, in particular, your visual presence is their first impression of you and sets the tone for what’s to come. What you say will then either confirm or conflict with what they see.
Take a look at what you are wearing right now. Do you love it and feel amazing wearing it? Or, is it just good enough and gets the job done? If the latter is true, you deserve (and can have) better. Finding the right visual expression is a balancing act. Look too austere and you intimate people, but you don’t want to look too quirky or impetuous either. Once you find a look you love, you’ll know it’s right because it:
- Feels natural
- Raises your self-confidence
- Lets you concentrate on how you can serve your clients rather than feeling distracted by your appearance
- Gives your potential clients clear visual cues as to who you are thereby drawing them to you with more ease
Your wardrobe becomes a form of authentic marketing.
Female advisors, to find that perfect balance, use these three guidelines to help you assess each outfit before you buy or wear it:
1. Choose your best colors.
If you find yourself settling for black, navy or gray over and over because they’re “practical” and you don’t have to worry about whether the color is flattering or you find mixing colors challenging, it’s time for a change. The problem is that if you wear neutral colors day in and day out it can feel boring.
Color has the ability to express emotion, make you look vibrant or tired, and attract people. When you wear flattering colors, you stand out from the crowd of black and gray and look radiant. If you aren’t sure what colors are your best, here are four universally flattering colors and four that are tricky to wear well:
Good: Forest green, deep teal, deep periwinkle and watermelon.
Tricky: Light gray, beige, yellow, olive green
If selecting a color feels intimidating, don’t buy an entire outfit in a color. Instead, add a touch of color with a blouse or scarf to start. You can always add more later.
2. Good fit trumps price.
No matter your budget, wearing clothes that fit well is priceless (click to tweet). Tailoring an inexpensive item will always look better than wearing an ill-fitting expensive garment. This means you need a great tailor. This is not just about hemming pants or sleeves properly (although that is crucial). It’s about adjusting the finer points. Are your sleeves too wide (thereby adding width to your body)? Does the bodice of the jacket droop in certain areas? Do the pockets on your trousers gap? These are just a few common alterations. You are particular about the details of the financial information you impart to your clients. How your clothing fits also reflects on your attention to detail.
3. Allow your personality to shine through.
Your clients do business with you because they value your expertise and because they feel comfortable with you. Finding the right balance of personal expression in your wardrobe is key. Wearing clothing that is too intimidating, devoid of personality, or excessively bohemian, for example, will be distracting or confusing. When your clothes reflect who you are, however, the people who are meant to work with you are drawn to you and immediately put at ease.
The first step? Determine who you are. For now, choose one word that expresses your personality. Maybe you’re joyful, dynamic, serene, radiant or gracious. The possibilities are endless, but for now choose just one.
Let’s say that you’re joyful. If you wear a plain navy suit, white blouse, and simple gold necklace, where’s the joy? Change your necklace to one that sparkles or has a touch of whimsy and voila … more joy. Or trade the navy jacket for one in a beautiful color and keep your basic necklace. Color and accessories are two simple ways to express personality in your clothing while still maintaining a sense of propriety and professionalism.
In our visual world, how you look gives people insight into who you are. Obviously, being smart is important to being successful in your career as a financial advisor, but when you combine your brilliance with an authentic outer expression of who you are inside, the results are magical and empowering. Explore these three tools above and watch what happens!
About Ginger Burr
Since 1987, Ginger Burr, President of Total Image Consultants, has found that many women are ignoring, hiding, or are just plain unaware of their innate beauty and strongly believes that everyone deserves to (and can) feel radiant and pulled-together. A notable leader in the fashion world, Ginger’s adroit understanding of personal style has been celebrated by Fox TV, MORE Magazine.com, Bloomberg Business Week, and Women’s Health Magazine and her book That’s So You! is now available. Learn more at www.totalimageconsultants.com