Why risk losing a sale because of your image? Is there any chance that the deal you just lost didn’t have anything to do with your product, your company or your preparation? Is there any chance, even just a little, that it had something to do with your image?
It would be great if all that mattered was doing a good job, but whether you like it or not, your credibility with your customer is affected by your image. With the right image, you can convey confidence and credibility before you ever say a word. So, what is your image?
Your image is how you seem to your customer. It is how you represent yourself. It’s what you wear and how you wear it. It’s what you say and how you say it (or write it). It’s your mannerisms, gestures, posture, smile or anything else that affects the way the other person perceives you. And now, to make things even more difficult, it is the way you portray yourself online. I’m not suggesting that we all need to have the same image, just that we need to be thoughtful about how the image we portray is received by the people we want to influence.
Ask yourself these questions about your sales image.
How do I look?
What do the clothes I wear, and the way I wear them, say about me? Does everything fit? Am I a wrinkled mess? Are my shoes and clothes appropriate? Is my hair neat? Am I well groomed? What about my car? Do I have to apologize when people get in?
How do I come across?
How do I sound? Is my voice pleasing? Do I sound enthusiastic and energetic when I speak? Do I convey the passion I have for helping people find a solution to meet their goals? Do I sound confident and knowledgeable? Do I know myself, and how to best communicate with others?
What is my online reputation?
Can customers and prospects easily find me? If they do, what will they see? Will it be embarrassing? Is the information complete and up to date? Is my online image building people’s confidence in me? Does it show that I am knowledgeable and can add value? Am I open and welcoming when people want to connect? Do I post interesting content? Do I stay in touch with the people in my online network?
If your image is not what you want, don’t worry, you can hack your way back.
Here are three hacks to change your sales image.
1. Your Look
Take control of the way you look. If you are not a fashionista and don’t know what to wear to give yourself confidence and authority, it’s OK. Starting with clothes that fit well will make you look and feel more confident right off the bat. If you think you need a little more help than that, I bet you have a friend who has been dying to restyle you. If not, contact an image consultant like I did. I recommend Kathleen Audet of Your Authentic Image.
2. Your Style
Be aware and in control of your personality. Think about how to make the people around you feel comfortable. Think about the tone and volume of your voice. Think about the words you choose. Make eye contact and smile. Find an appropriate balance between serious and funny. If you still aren’t sure, find out what others think about you and the way you operate. Ask those closest to you for some tough feedback. You can also get an idea for yourself by recording your calls and videotaping yourself presenting. Finally, if you want to seem confident, you need to be confident. Do your homework and show up prepared, and your confidence will shine through.
3. Your Brand
With Google and social media, your online reputation is increasingly important. Google yourself and see what you find. That is what your prospects will find. Think about what you are posting on social media and whether it is helping or hurting your reputation. Make a distinction between your business and personal social media. Steer clear of posting controversial political statement or unprofessional pictures of you and your friends. Make sure your social profiles, especially LinkedIn, have a professional photo. If you aren’t sure how to do it, read 10 Ways to Commit to LinkedIn, and then connect with me on LinkedIn.
The goal is to be successful. Don’t let your image or your reputation be the reason you can’t close the deal.
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This post originally appeared on Alice Heiman’s Blog.
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