I am probably what many people would call “High Maintenance”. How I look is important to me. I don’t pretend that it isn’t, and I don’t apologise for it either.
For example, I have a manicure every two weeks and a pedicure every four. I have my hair cut and coloured every six weeks and direct time and attention every morning to applying make up and dressing nicely. I shop for a couple of new pieces of clothing every month to six weeks and make time every couple of months for a massage or facial. I also practice Ashtanga (power) yoga around four times per week which keeps me strong, fit and healthy. Essentially, I take care of myself.
I hate to be so blunt but I don’t ascribe to the notion that just because you are a mother, you need to let yourself go. We make time for what is important to us, and looking good just happens to be right up there on my list. I don’t judge those who aren’t as into pampering as I am. For many women the thought of going to the effort of having your nails done every two weeks, is far too much to handle. “How could you be bothered?” I am frequently asked. I don’t know, I just love it. I find it relaxing. And I feel good when I perceive that I look good. It gives me confidence.
Yet, there is a certain amount of grooming that is often required when you are in business, to manage other people’s perceptions of you. It has been said that people will make a subconscious assumption about you, within five seconds of meeting. That’s pretty damn quick! They will also make assumptions about your company and product based on how you look. If you are groomed, cool and elegant, people will automatically assume that your product is a high end one. If you take care of yourself, they will assume that you will take care of them. For really, you can only take care of others as well as you can take care of yourself.
I know it may seem shallow, and the feminists out there will probably berate me for being so blunt. But I’m not here to appease feminists. I’m here to build relationships, provide excellent customer service and make money. My goal is not to have everyone like me, but to be successful in my chosen field.
Try these simple tips to make sure you are giving the right impression:
1. Make an effort in the morning to be well presented. Your clothes should be clean and pressed, your wool or cashmere should not be bobbly and your shoes should shine. Apply light make up and keep your hair neat.
2. If you don’t want to go so far as to have a manicure, at least make sure your nails are neat and clean. Remember you are taking your customer’s affairs into your hands. Subconsciously they will look at your hands when you talk to them. They will notice the little things.
3. Always ensure that your presentation folder and papers, are clean and neatly organised. Have whatever you need at hand. Plan your meetings and presentations in advance. If you seem calm and in control at all times, your customers will instinctively trust and respect you. Try to keep all the emphasis on your company presentation rather than distracting them with disorganisation.
4. Have your car cleaned at least once a month, both inside and out. Not only will you feel better when it is de-cluttered, it will reflect how you manage your other affairs.
5. Most importantly, make time for YOU. Schedule a facial or massage. Make exercise important and schedule it into your week. Drink at least 1.5 litres of water daily and take care of your health. You cannot succeed if your body is weak. Being successful means making the time to look after yourself.
Question: What are the ways you like to present yourself? Do you feel you are a reflection of your business?