Are you the ugly friend?

Marketing Tips November 19, 2010 by Steven Q
     Today I’m going to talk about image, and how small investments can have a huge impact on your bottom line. Image is one of the biggest obstacles you may face as a small business owner. Because of budget constraints or the lack of skill and time necessary to create the image you really want, you may find yourself skimping on areas that subconsciously can make or break a sale for you with a potential client. It’s unfortunate that this one area is so hard to master because it plays such a huge role in determining how much your customers trust you and your company. In fact, if you have a bad image, the chips may be stacked against you before you even introduce yourself.  
     I’m not trying to imply that you shouldn’t go into business unless you have a ton of start up cash but there are definitely some areas that you can afford to improve that will get you more sells. 
One thing I always hear when speaking with small business owners is “I’ll improve my image when I get more money to invest in better stuff.”    Sadly by then it may be too late. 
Here’s an example. Let’s say you have a hot date. And I mean very hot date. Wouldn’t you take a shower before you go on this date? Maybe comb your hair and put on some irresistible fragrance to make you as desirable as possible. I bet if you had gas you would do your best not to let one fly at dinner. You wouldn’t show up to pick up your date, shower at their house, pick up some cologne or perfume at the gas station on your way to dinner and then comb your hair in the bathroom at the restaurant would you? I’ve done it, it does not impress. 
 
     You see every thing you have with your name on it is an impression of you. An awful business card can translate to funky armpits. A bad web site could translate to criminal.    Many people in HR say that when they interview someone for a job, they know that that’s the best that person will ever look because once they have the job they will begin to let their appearance slip. They might have trendy clothes on for the interview but 10 years later they might still be wearing those same clothes, and by then you just tolerate that person. So if for most people, your first impression is the only factor deciding if you get someone’s business or not how much is it costing you not to invest in yourself?
 
     So here’s your tip. Save up a few thousand dollars and use it to improve your image.   I’ll beat this to death but don’t get crappy business cards. Don’t show up to appointments with out a brochure or service sheet that looks like you spent less than 30 minutes creating it and don’t assume that you’ll have a second meeting. 

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