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Thread: Your Business & Your Image

  1. #1
    Bronze Member rfnel's Avatar
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    Your Business & Your Image

    Hi All

    A recent thread in the marketing forum revolved around suits, and their role in projecting a professional image.

    I believe that your appearance alone plays a very important role - from my experience, people tend to judge you within seconds. Your conduct also comes into play - I'd be wary of dealing with someone who openly swears or makes racist remarks when dealing with a potential customer.

    I'm also very finicky about documents (in terms of spelling errors, grammatical errors and poor layouts). The same logic applies to your website and your business cards.

    If you drive to clients often, do you think it's beneficial to have a 'fancy' car which reflects success(I know at least two successful business owners who are of this opinion)? Even if you don't own a fancy car, it goes without saying that your car should at least be clean when visiting clients. If clients come to see you, how do you ensure that your premises project a professional image? If you're a small-business owner with a tiny, cramped office, would you rather meet your clients at a coffee shop?

    What do you think about the importance of your image in business?
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    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
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    If a salesmen visits me in a Ferrari, I can assure you I do not want to do business with him, he needs to maintain the vehicle, and I may be the next victim

    I do not worry about those things, I listen to the presentation or sales pitch, and ask some pertinent questions, I then make up my mind about how ell informed this person is, and then politely decline the offer, or may discuss further.

    If you are judging by what you see, then you inherently make many bad decisions.

    All my bad decisions were because I immediately made up my mind when judging the cover.
    Victor - Knowledge is a blessing or a curse, your current circumstances make you decide!
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  3. #3
    Gold Member Mark Atkinson's Avatar
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    I have to disagree with Justloadit. Humans, despite their best efforts, are most often governed by impressions and perception.

    I think people's impressions of you is extremely important to how they perceive you and your business.

    Not so sure about the car story, but if I read something (especially if it's meant to be important) and it has more than one or obvious grammatical/spelling errors, 9 times out of 10 I am not going to do business with the person/business responsible for that writing. In my opinion, if somebody can't take the time to proofread their written documents, then they obviously don't have the time to take good care of me and my professional needs.

    Same goes for meetings. I'm not overly concerned about suits, per say, but please at least try to look smart-ish and presentable. If I can make the effort to be clean shaven and polish my shoes before a meeting with somebody, then I would expect that they would perform the same courtesy.

    So yes, image and first impressions are important and do make a difference. If a person's first impression of you isn't good, you've got a tough time ahead of you trying to remedy their perception of you in the future - if you are given that opportunity, that is.
    Last edited by Mark Atkinson; 05-Jul-11 at 04:59 PM. Reason: Fixed a grammatical error - oh the irony! ;)
    "The way to gain a good reputation, is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear." - Socrates
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    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
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    Hi Mark,

    True, all the times I have been taken have been the smooth operators, nice suite well presented and impeccable presentation. Speaking to other people who were taken, yields the same story.

    Of course I accept that you must not look like a tramp, but come well presented.

    If you need a mechanical machine manufactured, and a salesman in a clean suite makes the offer, and the next chap that walks in looks a little bit tardy, smelling a wee bit of welding and coolant fluid, has rough hands from doing hard work, who is the better performer?
    Victor - Knowledge is a blessing or a curse, your current circumstances make you decide!
    Solar and LED lighting solutions - www.microsolve.co.za

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    Gold Member Mark Atkinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justloadit View Post
    If you need a mechanical machine manufactured, and a salesman in a clean suite makes the offer, and the next chap that walks in looks a little bit tardy, smelling a wee bit of welding and coolant fluid, has rough hands from doing hard work, who is the better performer?
    I guess it's all situational. Obviously in certain situations your expectations may vary. My point was that if some guy comes to pitch a million Rand contract to me and he rocks up in shorts and a t-shirt, my first impression of him isn't going to be a good one, and that first impression is going to carry through to all my further dealings with him.

    Your attire needs to match your profession, of course. We do design/photography - in my opinion it's perfectly okay to wear a nice pair of denims and a collared shirt to meet with a client. Even so, when I meet with high profile clients, I make damn sure I'm wearing smart clothing. I think the key is identifying what you think your client expects of you and realising that expectation.
    "The way to gain a good reputation, is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear." - Socrates
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  6. #6
    Email problem mother's Avatar
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    In my experience, you should carry the image of your profession if you want to be taken seriously. If you don't, you look like you don't fit, and therefore people assume you don't know what you're talking about. Certain professions are commonly expected to dress in a certain way. Lawyers who don't dress in suits won't get the big clients. But a fashion buyer dressed in a pinstripe suit will have a hard time convincing directors that he knows what to buy. Doctors who don't appear to be hygienic (i.e. the crisp white coat) won't have many patients. Pre-school teachers who don't wear jeans/comfortable pants, obviously can't move with the kids, therefore won't take good care of the kids. So dress according to the industry you represent. And ALWAYS be well groomed.

    The same goes for the premises. It depends on the industry. I don't believe size matters too much (you mentioned a tiny cramped office), as long as it is clean and tidy and operates efficiently. Chaos is an absolute deal-killer.

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    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
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    Well my point was to illustrate that you can not generalise, and I think that 'mother' has described it very well.
    Victor - Knowledge is a blessing or a curse, your current circumstances make you decide!
    Solar and LED lighting solutions - www.microsolve.co.za

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    I have a range of people visiting me to do business,I don't mind if the car is not a ferrari or if the rep is wearing a suit. So long as the job can be done to my satisfaction.

    I have a problem when the company rep rocks up with a big gold chain around his neck and another around his arm! I also have a problem with company reps that come in using bad language and racist comments or bad mouthing their competition.

  10. #9
    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Atkinson View Post
    Your attire needs to match your profession
    Very good answers coming out here. I also like the quote from Socrates.
    I can recommend reading "How to become a Rainmaker" by Jeffrey J Fox. One of the tips he gives is to park at the back, so that you are not to be seen fumbling with your briefcase and papers when you perhaps stumble out of your car. You want the customer to see that you are organised, prompt and professional. Not disorganised and vulnerable.
    I would be worried if my mechanic does not have oil under his nails, but just as worried if my banker or top salesman has. A suit is not suitable for Durban. At best it is a European fashion statement. I have had many heated arguments with a previous manager as I refused to wear a suit when visiting a factory. You don't wear a tie to a factory as it can be caught in the gears! I also would not risk oil on an expensive suit.

    I have learnt at a tender age that you have to adapt to the situation. I was often forced to wear an overall and get onto a tractor with a farmer or wear a suit on a scorching hot and humid day in Durban because that was what the client demanded.

    Perceptions are very important, manage them. Spelling mistakes, tardiness and being generally disorganised says something about you. First impressions count.

  11. #10
    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    I agree first impressions are a biggie. A large part of first impressions is your demeanor as you approach the client and introduce yourself. Appearing well groomed, happy, eager and enthusiastic goes a long way. The client should get the impression his requirements are the only concern you have.
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