Are You the Brand?

Image is all about perception. That is how others see you and your business. This helps them decide if they want to do business with you and we all need to do business! Let's face it most of us are our business. What is it that makes your business unique? It is you! We must convey the message our customers expect and quickly. Most buying decisions will be made within the first thirty seconds of meeting you. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Give yourself a check-up from the neck up!

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Ask Yourself These Eight Questions:

    1. How do I look to others?
    2. What impression do I make?
    3. Do I come across as articulate, persuasive and sure of myself?
    4. Am I cheerful friendly and personable?
    5. Do I have a warm contagious smile?
    6. Do I give the air of being knowledgeable and self-confident?
    7. Do I appear reliable, trustworthy and truthful?
    8. What kind of image do I project?

The more objectively you consider and answer these questions, the more effectively you will improve your image and your company image. How can you promote a positive image?

Maximise your image "Seven tips on Self Preparation":

    1. Exude confidence - know your subject and be prepared
    2. Think positively you have to believe in yourself - because if you don't others certainly will not! Not can't-but can if...
    3. Build yourself up - give yourself little pep talks- performance and presence "Act as If".
    4. If you enter a West End hotel just to go to the loo - strut around as if you are meant to be there and you are unlikely to be challenged - but act timid, sheepish, etc. and you may well be thrown out with your legs still crossed!
    5. Before an important meeting play some motivating music such as Tina Turner's 'Simply the Best'.
    6. Remember; "You can if you Believe you can - You won't if you Don't".
    7. If you are feeling down - give yourself a little treat to cheer yourself up, go to hairdressers or beauty salon, have a massage; go to the car wash. Watch your physical appearance - who gives you more confidence, the painter and decorator with 10 different colour paint splashes down his clothes or the man with clean overalls? Do not wear a tie with yesterday's curry down the front!

10 Image Tips when Meeting Face-to-Face:

    1. Promote a positive image look the part
    2. Offer a firm handshake
    3. Good eye contact
    4. Smile - even on the phone
    5. Repeat the person's name, write it down, and remember it - people feel you care about them when you can at least remember their name. The sweetest thing is the sound of your own name.
    6. Ask questions & listen to their answers
    7. Tell them what you do - have a rehearsed short commercial
    8. Ask them questions regarding their use of your goods or service
    9. Get their card and write on the back of it e.g. where & when you met
    10. Follow up! People expect you to be business-like

Many of us work from small premises or are trading from home so how can we ensure we maintain the best image?

Top 9 Image Tips:

    1. Make sure you answer the telephone in a bright and positive way - even if you are sitting there in grubby old pair of jeans.
    2. Appear business-like - consider installing a separate business line. There is nothing worse than the phone being answered by a young child when you are expecting to hear a business-like 'Business Services can I help you?" As opposed to "ello".
    3. Close the door so the background noises are eliminated.
    4. If you have a voice mail make sure the message is clear, concise and tells the caller what actions they should take. Phone your own number and check how the phone is answered.
    5. If you have reception area, make sure it is clean and tidy - if there are holes on the wall cover them with framed pictures or copies of thank you letters.
    6. If you are likely to receive clients at home make sure the front of your property is respectable - not all the varnish pealing of the front door. An over grown hedge and lots of weeds in the flower beds - if you neglect your biggest asset what hope has the poor customer got?
    7. Keep a consistent image. Standardise - adopt a house image. Use the same type faces ensure the stationery and logos, colours, etc. match.
    8. If you are a consultant on a very limited budget you need to go out and meet people, make sure you leave them with a quality card not just a flimsy card knocked up on the PC or the £3.50 machine at the local shopping centre. Use colour. If your total marketing budget is only £50 then have printed some quality cards.
    9. Network - Get known and be visible.

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Our image is up to us.  Let people know you are interested in their needs; not your own wants:

* Always try to exceed expectations. That way people will talk about you in a positive way. This will encourage recommendations. For instance, I went to buy a new wheel trim as I had stupidly lost mine. The dealer advised me to buy some ties so I did not lose any more and kindly offered to fix the new wheel trim on the spot and for free.

* Show sincere appreciation for their business - say "thank you".

* Always greet people with warmth.

* Show you are eager to help them - Ask "how is business?" If say "no good", they may invite you to help them!

Your image starts when potential clients first meet you and continues from then. It is a question how they perceive you. No one wants to hear your tales of woe.

You Can... If you believe you can! You Won't, If you Don't