A Night At The Bank, Everybody Judges A Book By Its Cover And What That Means For Your Business

We all know that tired old line.

It should be obvious from the headline, but for the sake of those that don’t know, this is the line:

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

You’ve heard it countless times.

Your parents, sunday school teachers, pastors and imams probably told you that.

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Nollywood has even codedly promoted it with their over 100,000 movies that show a guy being rejected by a chick who believed he was poor as a church rat and would remain so for the rest of his sorry existence and then he became rich… and ohhh she realised the errors of her ways, but it was too late as he had found another better chick etcetera shmetcetera….

Damnn, that was a mouthful. Or should I have said “handful” or “finger-ful”.

In any case, it’s a tired old line that has no basis in reality.

Because like it or not, we all judge a book by its cover, and other people by how they look.

Before you call Police for me…

Let me explain.

I know you’re thinking: “I don’t judge people by how they look.”

But you do.

Otherwise, whenever you see a beggar by the roadside, you’d be “cutting five” with him and “chopping knuckle”.

Do you do that? Me neither.

Maybe that’s an extreme example, so let me tell you a small story…

How I almost got ‘bounced’ at The Bank Night Club

Don’t look at me like that.

All work and no play makes Okon a mumu.

A couple months back, I went to turn up with a certain Lab scientist (who shall not be named), my best friend and his colleagues.

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If you’ve lived in Abuja (and love to turn up), you definitely know The Bank.

It’s one of the exclusive spots to turn up at, notorious for bouncing people who aren’t dressed well (judging a book by its cover is strong with this one).

But that night, I was feeling good about my chances. I’m wearing a nice T-shirt, jeans, and high top sneaks. I’m fly.

My friend, on the other hand, was wearing a long sleeved shirt, trousers and perm slippers. I was worried for him.

I mean, because if you know anything about night clubs, they prefer you wear sneakers or shoes and usually bounce you if you’re not.

Not to talk of The Bank.

But I shouldn’t have been worried. For him, at least.

We got to the door, and the security let him and his colleagues in but stopped the Lab scientist and I at the door.

I tried to talk my way in but the huge blob of bouncer in front of me kept saying:

“Comot for road make people pass abeg.”

It was getting embarrassing because he kept nudging me aside.

I had to call my perm-slipper-wearing friend to come talk to the bouncer, which he did and the bouncer claimed he stopped me because of the words on my shirt.

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I almost lost it.

Needless to say, the bouncer then let us in.

The only major difference between me and my perm-slipper wearing friend is that I’m short and skinny and he’s average height, with that Nigerian “big man stature” – you know, small potbelly and neck fat to match.

They judged me by my ¬†cover, and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.

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I’m sure you can relate to that story in one way or another.


In case you’re still thinking: “Wetin concern Agbero with overload?”

If you still don’t believe me, you might want to read this post about how we are judged by our appearance.

It has all the scientific “senrenre” to back up my point.

Also while you’re at it, watch the TV show about Trial Science, Bull and you’ll get more insight into the fact that how you appear matters.

In real life, evidence that proves that we all get judged by our covers is everywhere, that it will be ridiculous not to take advantage of that.

And if we, as people, get judged by our covers, how much more our businesses?

Warri boy no fit carry last for packaging…

I used to hate that idea.

The idea that I had to “package” myself.

I wanted people to accept me the way I was, flaws and all.

Then I woke up from my dream world. And faced reality.

Maybe you think your business already provides a service that nobody else does and for that reason, you believe there’s no need to “package”.

If you do that, you’re wrong.

Your customers are judging you by every single detail – from how your website looks, to whether they can use it to whether your service actually does what you say it does to how you relate with them and how you deliver your service.

The little details matter.

The success of Apple proves that.

There were other computer design firms at the time Apple blew up, but there hasn’t been as much “senrenre” around the others as there has been around Apple.

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All thanks to Steve Jobs’ eye for design and perfection. He even went as far as ensuring the parts inside the computer that users wouldn’t see, were impeccably designed.

How’s that for attention to detail?

In other words, sweat the small stuff. It’s not just what you can do; it’s also how you are perceived.

Make sure your business looks good online, on paper and in person. Appear like royalty and you will get royal treatment.

A little aside though: Appearance might take you far, but ensure you still deliver real, tangible value. Because shit in beautiful wrapping paper is still shit.

What are your thoughts?

Let’s talk in the comments.

Keeping it 500,

Tomi Joshua


Author: Tomi Joshua

Tomi is a case.

A bit brash, at first blush. But ultimately, he means well. There are very few things he won’t say or do in the presence of tolerant company (especially when it could make for a good story later).

Tomi is a Doctor, writer, certified inbound marketer (Shout Out to HubSpot), Digital Hustler, and online business addict.

He is most likely to be found dancing to the beat of his own drum, even in accapella.

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