This article was originally posted on huffingtonpost.com
According to the University of Illinois Extension Statistics, first impressions comprise 55% of your appearance and body language. So if you don’t dress the part, you’re 55% less likely to make a sale.
You often hear the words personal branding thrown around in business as if it’s something you need to go out and get, or achieve. But really, everyone has a personal brand–whether you’ve purposefully created it or not.
In essence, a personal brand is how you position yourself to potential clients. And much of that positioning comes from the way you present yourself. Therefore, your image becomes an integral part of creating a personal brand that you can easily profit from.
Even if you don’t work with clients face-to-face, your image affects your personal brand (aka. how you’re positioned in the mind of your target audience). Your photos on social media, a headshot on a blog post, or the way you look when you meet someone on an airplane are personal branding tools that help a potential customer decide if you are someone they want to hire.
Everyone knows you have to dress professionally for business, but it’s not enough to simply look professional. In order to increase your bottom line you need an image strategy.
Having an image strategy means you present yourself in a way that helps you reach your financial goals. I teach my clients, you must dress for your vision, not just for where you are today.
If your vision is to sell a $100,000 client, then you need to look as if you’ve already landed many of them. So you start here and work backwards to discover how to present yourself in an authentic way that will help you effortlessly close sales.
There is amazing power in what you wear. It takes the same amount of time to create a boring “professional” outfit that makes people question what you do, as it does to put on clothes that give you instant credibility and wealth.
My philosophy is, up-level your wardrobe and you’ll up-level your life. But instead every day I see entrepreneurs dressing how they think they should. They put on clothing that seems professional and call it a day, accidentally forming their personal brand.
No matter what you sell, whether it’s a product, a widget, or a service, people are buying YOU. Presenting yourself in a unique and confident way can put you leaps ahead in the mind of a potential customer.
Take a moment to consider what makes you unique. Why should someone do business with you? Then dress in a way that portrays that to your target audience. If you provide an edgy, out-of-the-box service or product, then it doesn’t make sense to wear a boring suit to a business meeting.
One of the best things about your image is that you control every aspect of it, making you a very powerful marketing tool.
The first step is making the decision that you’re ready to achieve the success you want. Then look at the logistics of how to create an image to do that.
Once you’ve made the decision to up-level your image, the first step is to ask yourself two questions:
Then get dressed and look in the mirror to discover if your reflection matches the answers to those two questions. If there’s a mismatch, it’s time to discover what type of clothing will help you create the image you want.
Lee Heyward has a passion for helping men and women discover their unique personal style so they feel confident, powerful, and successful. When you uncover your personal style, and your wardrobe and goals are in alignment–the possibilities are endless. Lee is the author of Simply Effortless Style: A Real Woman’s Guide to Making Style Easy and Fun. You can learn more about Lee at http://www.stylewithlee.com.