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Presenting Yourself and Your Business

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					Promoting and Presenting Yourself and Your Business There are many ways that you can present and promote yourself and your business. Often you are the only person who is representing your business so it is important that people get a good first impression of you and your business idea. Your business may be a great idea but unless you are able to explain it clearly others will not understand your passion. This module will give you some tips for initial self-presentation and promotion wherever you are. 1. Promoting your business personally a) What kind of image do you want to present for your business? the image that you present to others will influence how they think about your business. Think carefully about the image of yourself and your business you want to present. e.g.If you are selling designer clothes you may want to wear them or at least dress in a stylish manner, for example Also make sure the way you look/dress is suitable for the occasion and most importantly that you feel comfortable in what you are wearing (if you are comfortable you will feel more confident) b) Describing what you do If you are having a casual conversation and someone asks you what you do, when you describe your business:     Be Be Be Be clear brief positive receptive to their mood

This may sound easier than it is, if you find it difficult - PRACTISE! Describe what you do to 5 friends (who do and don‟t know about your what your business is about) and ask them if they think you Written and compiled by Kamali Freedman (2005) 1

clearly and confidently described your business?; did it sound interesting?; were you enthusiastic, warm, passionate or apologetical?, etc. Be positive! There is nothing more off putting than someone saying, „This is what I do…. its really difficult to get customers, there is so much competition out there‟. Be receptive to the potential client‟s mood. There is a technique called mirroring where you copy something of their body language or speech pattern. For example, if they are speaking very quietly you speak a bit quieter, if they are talking slowly you slow down a bit. This is because we tend to identify better with people who are similar to us and therefore you may get a better response. The suggestion here doesn‟t mean „don‟t be genuine‟, but find a way to combine being yourself with being receptive to their mood. 2. Business Cards Your business card needs to reflect your vision for your business. Make sure you include your name, business name, logo (if you have one), contact details (phone number, email, website, fax number), short description of your product/services (if applicable), catchy phrase or tag line (if you have one). Creating a logo can be useful as it helps in creating visual identification for your business (you can use it on all other business stationary as well as promotional materials). If your situation is such that you are moving home relatively often, put only your mobile phone number on the card. Ideally, have one mobile (even pay-as-you-go one) that you will use for your business only. Alternatively, there companies like „United Worldwide Telecom‟ (08707 500 320) that offer a free business telephone number which can be added to any landline in Britain - you tell them about your new number and they will link your business telephone connection to that number. Design wise – discuss your ideas with friends and a designer if you can afford one. Some printers offer this service at a reasonable cost if they get to print your cards. Or be creative - a graphic design student may help out or you can swap your product/service in exchange for the business card design. ALWAYS have at least 5 business cards in every one of your wallets, purses, bags, coats, etc. It can be off putting meeting someone Written and compiled by Kamali Freedman (2005) 2

who , at the end of a conversation, asks for your details you have no pen, paper or business card on you. It is also more professional to hand out a business card then jot down your details. Many cafes, restaurants, and other social/ communal venues/ supermarkets often have a free notice board, so that can be a great way of getting some free advertising plus it doesn‟t cost you even your time as you would be going there for shopping/meeting a friend/borrow a book anyway! For those occasions it‟s useful to keep some board pins in your bag. It is preferable to leave a few cards in a fan shape with one drawing pin, so that if someone is interested in what you offer they do not have to copy your details but can just take a card. It is worth printing a thousand business cards with somewhere reasonable like „VistaPrint‟ (www.vistaprint.co.uk) or „Prontaprint‟ (www.prontaprint.co.uk) just to feel freer about leaving many cards on bulletin boards etc. Also it is proportionally cheaper to have a larger number ordered. 3. Flyers, etc Flyers, posters, newsletters, compliment slips, brochures, stationary, etc. again should be matched with business card design/logo as mentioned above. If this proves too costly then simple and clear presentation will do. If you plan to leave your flyers on notice-boards, it is helpful to have your business phone number and name on little tear-off pieces of paper at the bottom of the flyer- people can be lazy at actually writing down numbers and, although they may be interested in what you are offering, helping them out with that initial contact is always a good idea! Obviously think about what type of clients you would like to attract and what venues they may frequent when you distribute them. 4. Websites Websites should be welcoming and informative and have the style as your stationary. Your website can be an online brochure for your business or an important tool in generating more sales. Creating a website requires a lot of research and preparation.

Written and compiled by Kamali Freedman (2005)

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5.Telephone, Voicemail/Answering machines & Accessibility Ideally, you would have one telephone number (either landline or mobile) that you use only for your business. If you have to use your private mobile or home phone for work, you and your family will need to learn to always answer it professionally. All family members should be given the basic instruction (such as to take down potential clients details, to inform them when you will be available, etc) as you want to make sure they make a good initial impression. It is important to have an answer machine/voicemail with friendly message, offering short and useful information. Here are some examples. “0208 455 1234 please leave a message for Knitters Express or John and Sarah after the tone and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Thank you for calling.” “Please leave a message for Tim, Peter and Helen or to book a homeopathy session with Tim please leave your details after the tone, thank you.” Important- make sure your voicemail is switched on! A phone that just keeps ringing without giving you an opportunity to leave a message is not only annoying, it can easily lose you customers as well! Making your first call to a client who has left an initial inquiry message for you Call when you have made time to answer the query and are in an attentive mood Be prepared for frequently asked questions Present yourself confidently End with asking if they have any more queries/ questions unanswered Offer to book a session, send relevant ordering forms/ information etc, but do it in a non-intrusive way

If you call and now the prospective client is unavailable, leave a message specifying when you can be reached. Sometimes it may be Written and compiled by Kamali Freedman (2005) 4

better to call a few times until you reach them in person as they have already left a message for you and may get fed up of playing telephone tag. You could also prevent this by saying „please let me know when it will be most convenient for me to return your call‟ in your answer machine/voicemail message 6. Terms and conditions of sale Make sure that you have clear and defined Terms and conditions of sale: Cancellation policy Payment method Period of time expected to produce and send the goods if applicable When you expect to be paid Hours of service Policy on picking up children late if it‟s a crèche etc General Information about the service Clearly some of the above is about trial and error, but try to speak to other people in a similar field about what things tend to be a problem. It could prevent stress caused by miscommunication and money loss in some cases. Do not feel embarrassed to send an additional note or make an additional call to clarify an issue you didn‟t cover thoroughly. It is better to protect your interests. 8. Giving Talks/ Promotional Parties Some general tips: Make sure you know what you are talking about! Your confidence will grow with practice and preparation Be prepared for questions you can‟t answer and appropriate replies. It is fine to say, “I have never come across that before but I could ask a colleague and get back to you.” (take their details and make sure you get back to them). Signpost them on if that is appropriate. Practice!

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Written and compiled by Kamali Freedman (2005)

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Written and compiled by Kamali Freedman (2005)

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