As a business owner, how you are perceived by your customers, prospective customers, business contacts and colleagues can be important to your success. But let’s face it; it’s not easy to understand how other people perceive us or indeed simple to change the minds of people who have already effectively judged us.
Sometimes we may be completely unaware of the attributes, qualities and behaviours traits that we are projecting. For example, I am known for not suffering fools gladly, but does this come across as the strength I see it as or are people potentially thinking that I am intolerant?
It’s a fact – 50% of people won’t like you no matter what!
At this point it is worth pointing out something fairly obvious, just as not everyone is your customer, not everyone you engage with will like you and vice versa. According to recent studies, more than 50% of people you meet won’t take to you for reasons that cannot be simply explained.
Consistency is essential
So if we cannot please everyone, but still need to create a unique and impactful brand and develop strong relationships with selected people to enable our business to grow, what should we do? My advice here can be summed up in one word – consistency. “Essentially to be successful, we need to be seen as the same across all of the marketing and business channels in which we operate.”
I am not suggesting that for one minute you change who you are, no I am advocating for understanding your strengths, weaknesses and behavioural traits (both positive and negative) and then seeing if you can make a few advantageous tweaks. This can be done in three easy ways:
- Observation – Notice how your behaviour affects those around you. How do people react to you in meetings or at networking events? If clients are not returning your calls, perhaps your behaviour is making them feel pressured or uncomfortable.
- Feedback – Ask for feedback from friends and colleagues about how they see you. This may be hard as you might get some feedback that is difficult to hear, but it’s an important step in creating a new perception.
- Change – Once you have feedback, it’s time to take small steps toward behavioural change. For example, if you usually dominate the conversation in meetings or groups, try keeping absolutely quiet and taking notes for a change.
Remember, perceptions will not change overnight, but over time you will begin to notice that others are reacting differently and this can only be a good thing for you and your business. However, it’s worth remembering that there are some business owners who don’t seem to care how they are perceived and they are still making money. It all comes down to choice, one that only you can decide whether you need to make any changes or not.