Projecting a Trustworthy Business Image

Your Business Image is More Than Your Personal Appearance

Two business men shaking hands.
Projecting a trustworthy image. Image (c) Musketeer / Getty Images

Projection is nine tenths of success. To get business you need to project an image that attracts potential customers and clients, rather than repels them.

Business Image is Not Just Personal Appearance

Most business people know this, and go to great lengths to make sure that they're professionally groomed and dressed. But your business image isn't just defined by your personal presence; your business image is also defined by your accessories.

It's important that you make sure that all your trappings look polished and professional, too, and that you are projecting a business image that shows your potential clients or customers that you're worthy of their trust and ultimately their business.

Have you ever seen a realtor driving an old, dirty car? No! Looking successful is necessary to be successful; a successful image leads to increased sales. On first meeting or viewing, people tend to take other people at face value and figure that what they see is what they'll get.

For instance, recently a business man came by my house to offer to clean and oil my shake roof. Now no one expects a roofer to look like he's on his way to an evening at the opera, but this man looked downright disreputable. He was wearing a shirt so begrimed that its original colour was a mystery, hanging out over his equally filthy jeans that had so many holes in them I could see his underwear.

His truck looked like it had been in five or six fender benders too many, with a cracked windshield and a bumper dragging on the ground. 

While his manner was professional, and his estimate for his services seemed in line with other roof cleaning services, I didn't take him up on his offer because his business image didn't inspire any confidence in his abilities.

Whether true or not, his appearance gave me the message that he couldn't be bothered to take care of himself or his equipment, so how could he take care of my roof?

Details Matter

Details matter when it comes to your business image. Your potential customers will see and observe not just you, but your vehicle, your equipment, and your surroundings, and note their condition. What is detracting from your business image and repelling your potential customers?

Is it a cracked windshield on your vehicle? A sadly battered briefcase? A dead shrub in front of your business premises? If you haven't scrutinized your accoutrements lately, inspect them and make sure that they're projecting a successful business image that will inspire trust and confidence in your customers and clients. Fix and replace what needs to be fixed or replaced to ensure that you're projecting success.

Carry the Proper Tools and Equipment for Your Business

In the example of the roofer above, not only was his appearance off-putting, he did not have the proper equipment - he asked to borrow a ladder so he could inspect the roof for an estimate.

One of our neighbors had a similar experience with a fencing contractor who wanted to borrow his table saw while installing a new fence. If you are a trades person, not having the proper tools and equipment to perform your job sends a red flag to your customers that your business is not professionally run.

Maintain Sanitary Business Premises

Maintaining neat and clean premises is especially important for food service businesses - no one wants to walk into a bar, restaurant or fast food business and see unclean premises and (especially) dirty restrooms. A 2013 survey of over 1000 adults conducted by Opinion Research on behalf of the Clorox Professional Products Company revealed that 69% of respondents refuse to patronize hotels and restaurants with unclean restrooms, and 55% would give a negative review to a business that had unsanitary restroom facilities. Similar studies have shown that up to 80% of consumers will avoid bars and restaurants with dirty restrooms.

See also:

Present a Professional Image

Guidelines for Business Casual Dress

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