The Importance of a Professional Image

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A goal of reputable business is to project a professional image that describes the nature of the business, its products and/or services, and the people working in it. A goal of a professional image is to maintain the integrity of your brand and build credibility.

Many resources are available to assist businesses with developing the desired image, one that is powerful and describes who and what the business represents. One such resource is the American Management Association (http://www.amanet.org/), which offers courses on how to project a positive professional image with topics that include:

• The importance of image to professional success
• Self-image and external image
• How professional image influences performance and the way others respond to you
• Key elements of image
• Nonverbal communication

Use your favorite Internet search engine with the keywords "professional image” to find resources for just the right image for your business. Many are available that address a variety of business concerns, like:

• Business etiquette for the successful entrepreneur
• Personal image enhancement (how to dress for success)
• Public speaking and presentation development
• Branding and logo creation
• Training to improve productivity and generate new business

When seeking a professional image that best represents you and your business, your products and services and your team, make sure that it appeals to existing and prospective clients, as well as to peers. Dare to compare your image with others in your niche to get the best results for what should be one of your major goals: revenue.

First and foremost, the professional image you select should appeal to you as a consumer. If there is any doubt about you buying your own product or service, then revamping your image is your number one priority, especially before you present it to the world on a website.

To obtain an accurate assessment of your professional image, ask family, friends, colleagues and, yes, strangers for their feedback about your website, particularly regarding its ability to produce a sale. Ask for specific suggestions on how to enhance your image and, when needed, hire expert help to get the desired results.

Assess every aspect of the website, including featuring your company team with profiles and photos. Ask about the relevance of your logo, the effectiveness of all content and testimonials, and the ability to purchase products and services easily via the "buy” links provided. And always remember the guarantee. A strong guarantee is evidence of your good intent to serve your clients honestly. Even if they don’t buy, the important factor here is that the visitors are inspired to buy.

Use a variety of tools to get feedback, like an "Ask Campaign” (http://www.askdatabase.com/). Take a poll or survey your audience on a special aspect of your product. A bona fide feedback technique that works virtually every time is to reward the respondent with a giveaway, like a sample chapter from your book, or give useful tips about your product that feature WIIFM (What’s In It For Me).

The more you can tailor your company’s image and define your niche, your potential for increased sources of revenue also increases, especially in today’s blogosphere with social network venues like Facebook and Twitter. A high ratio of professional image to products and services, backed by a solid guarantee and stellar testimonials, shows people that your company is reliable, and often propels them to choose your company over a competitor.

Even when a company alters its statement of purpose or logo over time to better fit its current profile, the importance of branding and having a professional image remains constant, in that it automatically conveys a message to potential consumers. Asking what message you want to send and how accurate it is keeps you in tune with consumer wants and needs. And people tend to buy based on their wants rather than their needs.

Having a great product or service is certainly evidence of business, but it is just one aspect of business. To secure your company’s winning advantage over your competitors, focus on creative business strategies that demonstrate leadership and professionalism, and that maintain integrity and bolster credibility.

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CYNTHIA BULL (http://www.cynrje.com/) is an internationally published writer and editor who helps international authors, marketers and speakers add greater value to their products through her top-quality writing, editing and transcription services. She is the author of How To Be A Medical Transcriptionist and Winning At Work While Balancing Your Life, a contributing author of Walking with the Wise Entrepreneur (Mentors Publishing House), cited in Make BIG Profits on eBay (Entrepreneur Press), and Managing Editor of Mentors Magazine Think & Grow Rich Edition. Cynthia has created over 200 book products in the past two years for her clients and, as mentor, helps clients reach their goals through her products, experience and genuine caring. Cynthia writes this feature article exclusively for the Association of Artisan Businesses (http://www.artisanbusinesses.org/), an organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the artisan industry.

The Importance of a Professional Image

By: Cynthia Bull