Is Your Image Hurting You?

I was at a women’s seminar all day last Saturday where I listened to a speaker on personal grooming.

She reminded us ladies in business that we represent our businesses and the kind of perception our customers have of us comes from how we look.

Of course we can all be indignant because we know we have more substance than just visual appearance.

But don’t forget that before you open your mouth, before anyone hears that melodious voice of yours or know of your kindness and inner beauty, you are judged by how you look.

Some 57% of people form impressions of you from how you look. Sad? But true!

Do I Look Tatty To You?

Jacqueline Inez, the business owner of La Herballe and speaker of the personal grooming session, did drive home some truths. She told us all a story of going to a Secret Recipe outlet in her tatty t-shirt and pajama bottoms. Her hair was tied up messily. In short, she looked like she just tumbled out of bed.

And what shocked her was that the Secret Recipe cashier called out in recognition – “Oh La Herballe!”

Jacqueline was not only shocked but also embarrassed because the cashier knew who she was but she was not representing the best of her business. That incident shook her up (and more so since she is in the beauty business) and she swore to herself that she would never be caught in such an embarrassing situation ever again!

Then again we can’t all look as svelte as Jacqueline or always look like a million dollars, even when we’re out to grab a bite.

But we can be neat and clean. And dress to inspire confidence. (While I would love to wear miniskirts – I wore a lot of those in my teens and early 20s, wearing miniskirts when one is past 30 just feels all wrong. I’d feel like a tramp.)

To wear clothes that make you feel confident (not feel like some auntie going to the market). Actually if you hate the clothes you wear, you’re never going to feel good. So throw out all those ugly clothes that make you look fat.

To walk tall (if you’re short, try heels. I’m glad I’m tall!)

To accessorize (Jacqueline showed us how we could change our look in an instant with a scarf).

So if your image is so important, then what about your online image?

Your online image is just like your personal image.

How you look to prospects will influence whether they buy from you. So how do you look to your prospects online? If you have good products but an awful website where information is so hard to find, that’s just as good as being tatty!

Because part, if not all of the confidence that prospects have in you comes from your website.

If you have a website that bolsters confidence and trust, getting prospects to email you will be easy. If your website looks shady, with colours like bright green or bright orange, with blinking buttons all over, with unclear or blurred photos, your prospects have already formed an image of your business then and there.

And that image could break your business deal.

These days, many prospects/buyers go online to check up on the business they want to buy from before they stride into the shop or store. They arm themselves with information before they grill the sales person. They are smarter (thanks largely to search engines). They know who they are dealing with.

So what really is your image like online? Does it inspire prospects? Does it turn them off?

Are you projecting a confident image online? Take a good look at your website and give yourself an honest appraisal.

Don’t let your prospects form a wrong image of your business!

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