We live in a ‘grab it and go’ world where sales opportunities are won and lost on first impressions. Ask any successful high-level professional and you are likely to discover that their success was due not only to their expertise but also to a carefully thought out ‘personal marketing strategy’. Key to such a strategy is making an instant and positive impression with everyone they meet.
Outshine your competitors
It’s no secret that climbing today’s corporate ladder requires talent, a competitive spirit and a well managed game plan. No longer will adequate performance, compliant behaviour or a certain number of years on the job be enough to guarantee career advancement. To scale the corporate ladder you must learn to outshine your competitors in every way possible and at every available opportunity.
Know what you want and make it happen
Some may call this manipulation – I call it ‘impression management’ when you know what you want and make it happen in an ethical and pro-active manner. If practised consistently you will soon find yourself taken more seriously, listened to, given more responsibility, appreciated, rewarded and offered exciting opportunities.
Here are six steps to successful ‘image management’:
Start by seeking areas where you need improvement
Does the way you dress, your people skills, body language or attitude need some adjustment? Often we are the last person to know about our faults, so ask a few trusted colleagues for their honest appraisal and be gracious and grateful for their input. Act on the information you receive.
Plan your business and social opportunities to gain maximum kudos
Prior to the event ask yourself:
- What impression do I want to make?
- What is my goal?
- How will I manage my appearance, behaviour and communication?
- Who will be present and how can I impress them?
Who would you do business with?
Most people unconsciously search for signs of credibility, areas of rapport or similarity, a degree of personal attractiveness and an agreeable level of confidence in order to ascertain if they like, trust and/or want to do business with someone. Try to pinpoint personal qualities that you intuitively trust and cultivate them in your own behaviour.
Be on the lookout for opportunities
Chance encounters often lead to serendipitous opportunities. You never know what might happen so don’t let your guard down.
True success emanates from your personal values and integrity
Those who live their values are able to perform consistently over a long period of time. Those who pretend, or follow the values of others, often stumble.
Learning to shine also means being adaptable to change
This relates to both personal and professional situations. Constantly seek improvement by enhancing your skills and knowledge base to keep pace with an ever-changing world, and do your best to cope with disappointments as well as changes in corporate direction and leadership. Also manage your style of dress and grooming to suit changes associated with age and body shape.