Business, Enterprise Edition Five Essential Areas of Total Image Management – Clare Maxfield
By: Claire Maxfield • 2 years ago •
Image Management is not just how you look it is a whole concept that makes us up or breaks us down in the eyes of those around us.
To think that you can succeed without paying any attention to your image is, simply put, asking for trouble.
Your image is just your packaging, and once you know a person, it has even less impact. But let me ask you this:
“When purchasing toothpaste, you enter the store, go to the shelf and see there are only two boxes there.
One box is dented in the corners while the other box is pristine and new. Which do you pick up? The pristine box of course. Then you go home, rip it open, and throw
the box in the bin. Both boxes contained the same
contents, quite possibly in identical condition, but you weren’t sure that you could trust that the dented boxes’ contents would be as good.
So, rather than taking the time to open the box and look inside, you just quickly grabbed for the box which looked the best. You opted for that which looks better, even though it was the product inside that counted.”
Over the past 16 years, I have coached many clients into new jobs, promotions and relationships, by working purely on their outer image.
It is one of the first building blocks required to be successful; whatever success may mean for you.
Now before you throw Steve Jobs of the ‘eternal turtleneck’ and other business success icons at me,
saying, “They don’t care for their image” let me say, they are what I call ‘the exceptional’.
The exceptional make their own rules. The exceptional have that IT that draws people to them. They do not need regulations, and if you are an exceptional reading this, then read no further, or maybe keep going to help a friend.
For the remaining 99% of us, success doesn’t just come to us; we need to work for it. By understanding the elements that compel or repel clients to you, you have a much better chance at success. There are five essential areas of your image that you cannot afford to overlook to be successful as a coach and a business owner.
There are the four ‘non-hidden’ zones:
• Visual Image,
• Assumed image,
• Experienced Image,
• Proven Image,
as well as the ‘hidden zone’
• Inner Image.
Your Inner Image
This is the you that no one knows or sees. It’s the sum of your life experiences: your childhood, your hopes, your fears and your hobbies. As many coaches out there will know, with any client, if their inner self-worth is unstable, their outer life will suffer.
As an image consultant, it is crazy how often just working with a client’s wardrobe reveals hopes and
fears that are hiding beneath the surface.
Often, through the means of clothing, inner fears are raised. I once had a client in tears from
merely revealing her true personality that for years she had kept hidden from her family. There was nothing twisted about this woman, she was a very giving person who wanted to please everyone at the expense of her preferences. So, step one: Ensure that you and your clients are solid in who they are and what drives them.
Your Assumed Image
It’s what people are thinking about you. It’s your brand, your reputation. It’s something that others will build for you unless you take control of creating it yourself.
You need to care what people are saying about you. What people are thinking, saying and expecting from you is based on what they have seen and heard.
If verbal precedes visual, what they see will profoundly influence their thoughts and feelings.
So, if you turn up looking and representing what they have heard, for better or worse, they will then feel confident that what they are thinking is accurate. Too bad if they have heard bad things and you look
the part. However, people can change their minds quickly should they be told good things about you, and your image does not support the mental picture they have created, or should they have heard poor references, but you look better than they’d expected.
The visual image is the most potent gauge we work from initially. Don’t let your image bring you down. I worked with a woman who wanted to, “Be seen as an equal to her clients”. When we met, she wore a ratty jacket because she didn’t want her clients to think she was any better than them. The result? They thought exactly that. They assumed she was no better, so “How could she help them?”
Your Visual Image
As expected, this is how you look. I often hear, “that’ll do” from clients. Have you ever cooked a meal not using the best ingredients and wondered why it didn’t taste or turn out as it should? “Near enough is only good enough if near enough is as far as you ever intend to travel”.
Near enough won’t get you success but it might get you a job. Think of this as the packaging on the toothpaste. You want to be the person that people want to work with and meet.
Do not be the person who gets pushed aside for a better-looking package behind. There are millions of marvellous experts spending their time building other people up because they never wanted to make something of themselves. Don’t let that happen to you.
Create a powerful image.
That doesn’t mean buying an expensive wardrobe, but it does mean getting the best you can afford and a few key pieces that look great all the time. It means, taking the time with your grooming. Keeping your hair trimmed, your nails clean, your clothes pressed and your shoes shined.
I had one client so uncomfortable she started dressing like her boss, who was taller and slimmer than her. The result was that everyone overlooked my client as a joke.
By developing her image to fit her style and personality, clients saw her for who she truly was.
The Experienced Image
This is what impression you leave with a person. The sum of their experience with you. Your manner, your materials, your voice, your conversation. How well you impressed them. Now you are finally revealing to others who you are inside. Can you see, to get a positive response you’ve already had to clear some barriers?
Your Proven Image
This is the final link in the circles. Did you live up to expectations? Ideally, you’ve even exceeded them. If in any way, you were less than fantastic and left a negative taste in someone’s mouth, then it is a hard, up-hill journey to rebuild your Image. Harvard studies have
shown that it can take up to 8 touchpoints to restore a battered first impression.
My advice is to ensure that your image is in keeping with your brand, your message and your business.
Be the person that people talk about for a whole host of good reasons.
Do you want to be pushed aside so that someone with a better image can shine in your spotlight?
Be the person with whom everyone wants to do business.
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