Would you go to a hair dresser or barber that had an outdated style or didn't take care of their image? If you are going to trust this person with scissors or hair color, or anything on your own hair, you must feel a sense of trust that they are experienced and up to date in their own knowledge. Like it or not, it is a fact that most wouldn't trust the person with a poor self image to work on their own. How can this person turn it around? By working on their own image first, and making sure their knowledge is up to date. When was the last time they went to a hair show or studied anything current? Their personal image is part of their business card.
A person working in a fitness center had better be fit themselves. At a gym I used to go to, the person that checked you in was in terrible physical shape and had very low confidence. This was the first person you came in contact with at the gym. Does this present the image of what a gym membership is supposed to accomplish for the the members? How much business was lost because the first "face" of business portrayed the wrong impression? How can the gym turn it around? First, they shouldn't have hired this person...it was not the right person for the job. They need someone in this position that is in great shape, great personality and has a passion for fitness. That is the person that should be greeting new clients.
I was shopping for a new accountant several years ago. One individual I met with was living and running his business out of a run down old house. There was junk everywhere and he was totally a mess himself. An accountant that has a shabby office, is poorly dressed and looks like they are just making ends meet, does not portray the confidence they are financially smart. If they cannot manage their own finances, would you trust them to manage yours? Opinions are based in a moment of introduction. In business we can't afford to give the wrong first impression. How can this person turn it around? If people are going to trust them with their finances, they better start dressing the part. Better to have one good outfit you wear everyday, than shabby clothes that are not appropriate to your business. This isn't to imply they should be wearing an expensive suit. They must develop the mindset that image plays an important role in building trust in their clients. If the person does not have an acceptable office, as with this individual, conduct meetings in coffee shops or professional atmospheres. Today, with all the technology options, you can literally do most of the business over the phone, fax documents back and forth and never have to actually meet.
I remember speaking with a person that sold makeup several years ago through a direct sales company. This was the type of business you rely on people to book shows in their home and invite their friends. She complained that the business didn't work for her. I asked her some questions such as how did she like the make up personally. Her answer was she didn't wear makeup. How could anyone successfully sell makeup, and demonstrate the use of it, if they themselves don't wear it or believe in it? It wasn't "the business" that didn't work, it was her lack of belief in her product and lack of understanding she wasn't selling makeup, she was selling image, belief and confidence. She wasn't portraying any of this, so she did not build the trust of potential clients. How can this person turn it around? I suggested she change businesses and find a product that she actually believed in and could honestly represent from her heart. When you believe in something, you don't have to "sell" it, people want to buy it because of your belief and enthusiasm.
Would you hire a landscaper that had a non landscaped property themselves? I remember a certain company several years ago that advertised for landscaping services, however, if you visited their property, it was a mess and absolutely no landscaping. Instant lack of trust was developed. How can this company turn it around? They needed to clear the junk off their yard, and make the business property look appealing. Stand across the road and put yourself in the client's shoes....is this the type of landscaper that justifies the price of landscaping a home based on the first impression? Landscape the property! It is a visual calling card, just as a person's business image is.
I recently read a story about a contact of mine on FB...she had recently put her cat down and wrote about the experience. The vet worked in a busy practice, with over 100 staff and 30 doctors. Instead of just sending the typical condolence card, vets took time out of their day to write a personal message on the card about her cat. They took 2 minutes to write a heartfelt message that made a difference to her, and in return gained her loyalty, trust, and positive word of mouth. You can read the actual card by clicking the "contact" link:) Here s the key....this didn't cost anything, except a few minutes of their time. This came from the heart, and that is why it made a powerful impact.
I came across an article about a shark tank episode . In this clip, the cocky, attitude of one of the sharks is condescending to the farmer. He may have had tremendous success, however at what cost? How many people has he stepped on to create that success? JP Dejoria, on the other hand, is highly successful himself and fully understands this concept, which was made popular by Richard Branson - "Doing good is good for business". Both men are highly successful, however, JP understands, as Richard does, putting your heart into business, and treating people with respect creates profits. Do what is right, what is fair, what is win/win. Neither of them have a need to be aggressive, cocky or demeaning and both have a gentle nature about them. Instead of being "feared", they are trusted and respected. Again, this isn't about showing up in an expensive suit....both Richard and JP are very laid back in their style and are great examples of success.
Something vital to understand in building trust & credibility is to do what you commit to, do what you say you will do. Add value. Give your knowledge and be supportive to your clients. They will appreciate you more for the extra value you give, than the actual product or service. That exchange of business is simply a byproduct of the trust & credibility you have built with them.
Our actions, our beliefs, our image and the way we treat people all affect our outcomes. It's up to us to decide what we want to achieve, how we do it, and who we want to be remembered as...
Debbie Ruston has been an entrepreneur and trainer since 1986. She works with individuals, and groups interested in developing their entrepreneurial leadership mindset. Was this article of value to you? Feel free to share it on your social networks and with your contacts, join in the discussion below, and FOLLOW her on the top right corner of this page.
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Debbie Ruston - Entrepreneur - International Trainer, Visionary Leader