I was in Borders today enjoying a latte, and while I was there I picked up a book on ‘Million Dollar Selling Techniques’.
The book was published by Wiley, a reputable publisher, and written by the Million Dollar Sales Round Table. If you’ve never heard of them , this is a well established think tank of successful financial advisers who have attained the magical $1m in sales in a single year. So this ought to be good I thought.
Well, I have no idea if the book had good ideas or not. I may have put aside the golden nugget that would take me from 6-figures to a 7-figure income, but I just couldn’t get past how badly produced the book was!
The cover looked as though it had been photocopied quite badly, rather than printed, and the contents of the book were even worse.
Closely set text in an old fashioned font, and the few diagrams there were looked like they had been typed up in a word processor. The feel of the book was more ‘bargain bucket reprint’ than million dollars. So I never gave it a chance.
I guess all this really points to is that first physical impressions really do count, and that they have to be consistent with what you’re marketign. I picked up that book pre-sold. I was almost on the point of buying it without opening it. But as soon as I looked at it – and not too closely at that – it actually turned me from a motivated buyer into someone who wouldn’t even read it.
All too often, people do the same in business meetings, especially if they go in thinking that the meeting is a formality. They dress down, or they don’t do all the preparatory reading they might have done. I’ve even seen candidates going into an interview who thought that because they were being head-hunted they didn’t need to know anything about the company. After all, the employer was the one that had to convince them, right?
Wrong. Every interaction you have with a client, prospect, employer or recruiter should exude your personal brand values. It’s called ‘living your brand’, and it applies equally to corporate brands. For one thing, consistency breeds comfort; if your brand message is inconsistent, then people won’t know how they stand (I’ve blogged about the dangers of that before).
For another, some people need to be reassured every time they buy. For them, every time they come across you is another trial before purchasing, even if they’ve bought you or your product 20 times before and had a great experience of it.
So you need to be ready to communicate your value every time. And you need to make sure that all the physical aspects of your brand – your self-briefing, your hair, your clothes, your personal grooming, the pen you use, the folder you carry your notes in, the mental state you arrive in, the car you drive up in: anything the buyer will see – is on message.