We live in a highly competitive world where most businesses are trying their best to be the best and succeed. I find it amusing if not grotesque to see many business owners not able to give the appropriate first impression. In fact, time after time I come across people who simply do not look the part they are trying to play.
I would use the example of a personal trainer simply because it offers a very visual and comprehensive representation of the concept I am describing. When I think about a personal trainer, I have an image in my mind of a fit person, somebody who can obviously teach me useful exercises and can also be a role-model. She must be able to inspire me to be more like her: fit, agile, well co-ordinated and so on. Considering that on the first encounter with a person it takes about 7 seconds to decide whether or not we like that person (in business this might determine whether we will do business with them or not), would you trust a someone who looks unfit and perhaps overweight when she introduces herself as a personal trainer? I guess not.
Whether I meet somebody in person at a networking event or I get invited to connect on LinkedIn, I usually perform a short sanity check; is this person good at what she does? Given the above statistic of the 7 seconds, what happens when I see their LinkedIn profile or website if these are not congruent with the reality? Well, I personally get disappointed and find it hard to build on trust.
I keep meeting business owners who may be good at what they do but have absolutely no idea of how to convince me of their skills, abilities or professionalism. A few days ago, someone unknown to me, requested a connection on Linkedin. Not totally contrary to connecting with people I don’t know but, at the same time, careful about doing it too freely, I have performed my usual sanity check and, after finding out that she is a “graphic designer” I decided to visit her website. The unquestionably poor quality of design, content and PR on this website made it very hard for me to trust this professional new “contact”. The same happens when I meet PR agents who do not blog, tweet or remain active doing PR for their own business. The question arises naturally: if you cannot do it for your business how can you do it for mine?
Take a look at your image and what others might see and think when they first visit your website or LinkedIn profile; you never have a second chance to give a good first impression.