Imagine this …

You’re hiring a new team member and you’ve narrowed it down to two potential candidates.

Both prospects have impressive resumes. They went to Ivy League schools, did internships with blue-chip companies, and have hands-on experience leading successful projects.

You invite both potential hires to participate in a Zoom interview. 

The first interview is promising.

Candidate A is well-spoken, shares thoughtful answers to your questions, and has a great sense of humor. 

In addition to appearing to have the right skills, he’s also quite attractive. He’s well-dressed and his apartment in the background looks like it’s straight out of an interior design magazine.

He makes a great first impression.

Next, you hop on a video call with Candidate B. 

He’s also very well-spoken and answers your questions with precision and wit.

After only a few minutes into the call, it’s clear that Candidate B has more relevant experience than the first interviewee. He deeply understands your industry and already has relationships with some of your key partners.

Based on experience alone, he would be a better fit for the role. That said, he didn’t present as well as Candidate A. His suit jacket was wrinkly. His office in the background was messy. And he was overdue for a haircut.

You leave the second interview feeling perplexed. 

Candidate B has the experience you need, but you’re still drawn to Candidate A. 

What do you do?

In today’s edition of Why We Buy, we’re taking a look at The Halo Effect—why our impression of a person or business influences how we feel about their character and ability.

Let’s get into it.


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The Psychology of The Halo Effect 🧠

The Halo Effect is a cognitive bias that distorts our perception of others based on concrete information presented.

An example of the halo effect is the “attractiveness stereotype”, which refers to our tendency to assign positive qualities and traits to physically attractive people.

People tend to perceive attractive individuals to be more intelligent, to have better mental health, and even to have higher morality.

This cognitive error in judgment benefits people who are stereotypical attractive.

Embrace delegation

The Halo Effect isn’t just about appearance. It also applies to positive associations. 

For instance, in one study researchers found that a person was more likely to get strangers to agree to take a survey if they were wearing a brand-name sweater.

The association with a trusted brand created a positive Halo Effect.

But the opposite is also true. 

The Negative Halo Effect also exists, known as The Horn Effect (Get it? Angels & Devils).

We are quick to judge a person (or brand) based on negative characteristics. If a job candidate has a messy apartment or dresses poorly, we may assume that their work will also be disorganized and sloppy.

Inside Your Buyer’S Mind🧐

While some may not admit it, first impressions and appearances play a big role in our overall perception of people and businesses.

If your buyer likes one aspect of your product or business—like the slick design of your website or beautiful product packaging—they’re more likely to have a positive predisposition towards everything else you do.

And if something about your business turns them off, it can create a long-lasting poor impression of the whole business. 

How To Apply This 🤑

Alright, so how can we apply this right now to sell more?

Create an amazing first impression

Your buyers will make a judgment call in less than a second of landing on your site whether they trust you or not. Beautiful design and usability will dramatically increase your odds.

Showcase positive associations

If you’ve worked with clients or customers that buyers already know and trust, talk about it. This can create a Halo Effect for your business and act as social proof that you’re trustworthy too. You can add logos to your website or mention well-known clients or employers in your elevator pitch.

Presentation *really* matters

Investments made into your design and visual branding will have serious long-term payoffs. If you’re not a designer, consider hiring one to make templates for you. Consistency is key.

I did a webinar with Sparktoro recently and people were wowed by my slides (you can catch the replay here). After the presentation, 5 people reached out asking for slide design tips. It just goes to show that when you invest in good design, people notice.

Embrace delegation

The Short of It 💥

The Halo Effect is a cognitive bias that makes your buyers judge your business based on how you present it.

Using beautiful design and imagery can quickly signal to your buyers that you can be trusted. 

A positive first impression will create a Halo Effect that changes the perception of your whole business. It’s often worth going the extra mile.

Until next time, happy selling!



Wanna really get inside your buyer’s head?

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  3. Book a 1:1 strategy call with Katelyn and get the answers you need to get unstuck and move forward with confidence

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Written By Katelyn

Katelyn Bourgoin is the CEO of Customer Camp, a 4X founder, and a cheese lover. She lives by a simple mantra: whoever gets closer to the customer wins.

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