By Marian Rothschild, AICI FLC
You know your product or service inside and out. You believe in its benefits and you’re willing to dedicate valuable time, energy and skills to increase your company’s bottom line. You’ve got data, technical skill and maybe even a degree or two!
But how do you project respect, confidence, and leadership qualities to keep the customer’s interest from first impressions to the deal-closing handshake?
Here are my twelve powerful points to manifest leadership skills for business success.
1) Present yourself confidently, as if you have just made the sale of the century. If you are strong, intuitive and smart, don’t project weak, clueless and uneducated, or that’s how you will be perceived. Express a positive attitude and poise under pressure.
2) Embody your value and your potential for success in posture, voice and all online communication. Communicate clearly with everyone in person, on the phone and online. Ask for confirmation of receipt and understanding. Use positive language and clear vocal tone. If you sound immature, soft-spoken and low energy, you will be perceived as such.
3) Always have a clear, positive answer when you are asked “How ya’ doin’?” and “What’s new?” Influential leaders do not respond with “Not much” or “Nothing.”
4) Be aware of your body language: foot jiggling, leg shaking, hand wringing, gum chewing, playing with hair and other self-grooming are all signs of insecurity and will be perceived as weak.
5) Use elements of wardrobe to your advantage. Know what are your most flattering colors, shapes, wardrobe pieces, and how to use them to project an image with intention. Quality and fit must be impeccable for all business formal and business casual apparel. Do not wear anything distracting like ill-fitting or provocative clothing, loud colors and patterns, or noisy accessories. These will detract from others seeing a polished presence and understanding your message.
6) Ask questions and listen intently to your customers’ answers. Never presume you know their pain. Let them speak at length and explain their predicament thoroughly and in depth. If you are on the phone, take notes. Present a vision of understanding and help your client see that your product or service is the solution to their problem.
7) Read your client’s facial expression, tone of voice and body language to know what they are feeling. Be sensitive to their emotional state and adjust your plan accordingly. When in doubt, listen and acknowledge their concerns.
8) Do not belittle anyone, including your competition. Your disparaging remarks can kill a sale and ruin your reputation.
9) Pay particular attention to your posture at all times. Whether sitting, standing or walking, your spine should be straight, not caved in, shoulders down and rolled toward your back, not drooped forward. If you stand, sit, or walk with slouching shoulders, you could be perceived as low energy, negative, or apathetic. Good posture and a closed mouth (when not speaking) gives the impression of attention, intelligence and interest.
10) Confident leaders have a firm handshake – both men and women. Use your entire hand to shake, not just the fingers. Make it firm, but not bone-crushing. If you tend to have sweaty palms, keep a handkerchief in your pocket. Just prior to an introduction, inconspicuously wipe your right hand on the handkerchief inside your pocket. Look the person in the eye as introductions are made.
11) Ask for feedback on your image from others whose opinion you trust. Observe people who have amazing leadership qualities and great sales skills. What is it about them that stands out? Watch, learn and practice those skills. Video record yourself speaking or making a presentation as part of the preparation process. Play it back, take notes and adjust accordingly.
12) Bring your leadership skills with you into every situation, event and interaction. Be sensitive. Be genuine. And be confident that you are exactly the right person doing exactly the right thing at exactly the right time.
Marian Rothschild is a certified personal image consultant in Denver, Colorado, speaker and bestselling author. Her book, Look Good Now and Always: a do-it-yourself style makeover for busy women is available on Amazon.com. Marian helps men and women transform their personal brand into a confidant, authentic expression of polished presence for stellar success. CLICK HERE to find out about a Virtual Consultation via Skype and sign up for our free monthly newsletter. Look Good Now Image Consulting 2497 Keller Farm Dr. Boulder, CO., 720-933-9247. Call now for a free 30 min. consultation.