I attended a ‘marketing masterclass’ a little while back, which was run by a marketing firm based in Chester. During the seminar, the phrase ‘look like you mean business’ came to the fore. It’s not the first time I’ve heard this phrase, but something resonated with me on this occasion and it got me thinking about how looking the part can be truly great for business. And so I thought it would be a good idea to put together a quick post listing my top ten tips of how to look like you mean business.
- Brand Yourself
Think of a company as a corporate body- they have a brand. Think of yourself as your own corporate body – you need a brand too. Personal branding is all about giving people a way to connect to you on an emotional level and for you to embody your own values and standards. In the same way that consumers interact with corporate brands, people will find it easier to interact with you and what you stand for. Remember, your brand is ‘your promise, delivered.’
- Dress The Part
Looking the part is important- first impressions count for a lot, after all. Take time to groom yourself and dress smartly and appropriately. How you look forms part of your personal brand and buyers will judge you on that- after all the difference between you and your competitor may be the way you look: does your appearance say you’re capable or careless; distinctive or disorganised; ambitious or ambivalent?
- Use the Right Language
There’s an obviousness about this point, but it’s worth saying anyway. Using the right language is essential to showing you mean business. Swearing like a trooper in front of clients is really NOT a good approach. At the other end of the spectrum, talking computer programming languages to a technophobe isn’t going to work either. Employ appropriate language to help engage your audience, be it face-to-face, online, by email or whatever other method. And don’t forget- make sure your communications are ‘on message!’
- Give off the Right Signals
Body language is important and this comes back to the point I made on dressing the part: do you look capable or careless, etc? In a situation where you’re selling your services or even just promoting yourself, it’s easy to be intimidated but changing your body language is as easy as tweaking the way you’re sitting, firming up your handshake and making eye contact. Of course, it’s much more complex than that, but make sure you’re showing yourself off as a confident professional.
- Do What You Say, When You Say
As I said earlier, your brand is your promise delivered. This takes that a step further. Make sure that when you say you’ll do something, that you do it, and when you’ve put a timeframe on doing it, do it when you said you will. Getting this right is easy and is all about personal and professional excellence: be diligent in your approach, don’t over-promise and make sure that you’re able to fulfil your commitments. People really will thank you for it.
- Get the Basics Right
Make sure you have a business card that accurately represents you and your business. If you still send letters (and this is still a great way of communicating with clients!), make sure you have a professional letterhead, and even a compliments slip. Get your branding basics in place before you take your product or service to market. If your operation looks amateur, your product or service is going to be viewed in the same light also.
- Have a Great Website
Your website is your ‘shop window’- if you actually had (or if you actually do have) a shop, would you let your shop window look messy or unprofessional? Hopefully not! Make sure you have a professionally designed website- it needn’t cost the earth, you can get free or cheap templates on most web building software and it can be quite simple and straightforward too.
- Help People Contact You
Getting your contact details right might seem obvious, but there’s more to it than just making sure you’ve got the right number and email address. The format of your number and email addresses is important. With your phone number, having just a mobile number may put people off calling you whereas a landline looks like you have an office and are a professional outfit. Even if you don’t have an office, and if you don’t want to be anchored to a landline there are redirection services available so clients needn’t know they’re reaching you on a mobile (just make sure it doesn’t go to the “O2 Voicemail Service”!). With your email address, the same applies- having a Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo or similar generic address is not good for business. Get yourself a personalised email, for example use email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org, to represent you and your company.
- Use Social Media Professionally
If your website is your shop window, then social media is the shop floor. What you say and post on social channels is incredibly important. We see business posting jokes that border on offensive, use inappropriate language or even just not bother posting at all. Make sure you use the right messages, with the right tone of voice. After all, you wouldn’t stand for one of your ‘shop floor’ employees being rude to a customer!
- Produce Professional Content
When using your social media, make sure you’re producing content that fits in with your brand – it doesn’t have to have your logo all over it (particularly if it’s ‘borrowed’ content!) but should fit with the aims, values and objectives of your brand. When you generate content, make it relevant to your audience and give them an incentive for sharing it. The aim of the game here is to maximise the reach of your brand, so consider everything carefully!
If you need help with any aspect of your marketing, including how you present yourself and your business, we’re here to help. We’re a team of communications experts with experience across a range of marketing disciplines.
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We differ from using an agency because we become an extension of your team and employ appropriate resources – so you don’t have those overheads, recruitment hassles or career development challenges. We are your company’s extended marketing department but at a managed cost.
Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help you develop your brand, execute your campaigns and sustain your business with credible leads that turn into real revenue, impacting on your bottom line.