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Standing Out: The Business of Perception Management, Part 3

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In the last blog on Perception Management, I talked about how sometimes you need to fit in to stand out.  Establishing a corporate culture is key to talent retention and profitability.  Headshots are one great, affordable way to display that culture publicly.

But, let’s forget the big corporations for now and focus on the entrepreneurs and small business owners that make up the majority of my business.  I want to talk about how a headshot can make you stand out from your competition.  In the world of small business, standing out is a good thing.

Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, says that, “Those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it.”

It’s true.  In the dog-eat-dog world of small business, you have to stand out in order to survive.  Let’s take a look at direct sales to illustrate why standing out is crucial.

According to the Direct Sales Association, 18.2 million people were involved in direct sales in 2014.  That was an increase of 8.3% from 2013.  $34.47 BILLION in retail sales in 2014 were attributed to direct selling.  That’s crazy, right?  Well, no, not really.  Direct selling is a tried and true method for sales.  Companies like Avon, Mary Kay, Amway, Herbalife, Tupperware, and others have been around for decades.  It works.

So, let’s say you are going to sell Mary Kay, Avon, or the new makeup-kid-on-the-block, Younique.  There’s a good chance that you could throw a rock and hit someone in your neighborhood that sells it, too.  Maybe you don’t even want it to be a full-time job.  You just want to bring in some extra income so you can buy a new car, or hire a housecleaning crew (a personal goal of mine).

You first hit up your natural market, i.e., your family and friends.  They want to support you, and they order from you, but then your orders stall.  It takes a couple months to go through lotion and even more time to go through makeup.  You realize that you need to find new customers – constantly.

Naturally, you move on to social media.  YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and other channels are great for marketing yourself.  Note that I said, “marketing yourself.”  That’s essentially what you need to do.  Don’t get fooled by people telling you that products sell themselves.  That is nonsense.  Nothing sells itself.

You have to get someone to buy something from YOU.  And, since you are in a sea of other people selling the exact same thing, you have to convince someone that YOU are the best person to buy from. 

Of course we also know that in Direct Sales, the REAL way to make an income is through recruiting those same friends and family members to sign up and sell the items themselves.  Those friends/family love you.  But, what about other people who don’t love you, or know you for that matter?  You are now trying to sell them YOUR lifestyle.  You want to show them that you have an amazing life doing your new found business and if they do it too, they will have the wonderful life you have.  How do you think you’re going to do that?  Yup, those photos we were talking about …

**Direct Sales is just a percentage of businesses that exist.**

The selfie you took on your phone after you get all dressed up for an event.

The selfie you took on your phone after you get all dressed up for an event.

Quick quiz: You need to remove the picture of your kids that is currently serving as your profile picture online to help establish your personal brand.  You should replace it with:

A.     The picture of you as a bridesmaid at your sister’s wedding, where you look awesome and you cropped everyone else out;

B.     The selfie you took on your phone while sitting in your car/at your desk/on the beach;

C.     A headshot taken by your sister on her iPhone; or

D.    A professional headshot.

Choose wisely.  You are either going to make yourself look like an amateur, or you are going to look like a serious businessperson that sells makeup and skin care. 

Obviously, the answer is “D.”  I hope that as you read A-C, you thought about friends in your own Facebook feed that are using that type of picture as their profile picture.  I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with it, but does that person stand out to you?  Or, are they just another face in a sea of cropped pictures? 

Would you take a CEO seriously who used a cropped bridesmaid photo as her official LinkedIn profile picture?

A professional headshot will make you stand out.  I’m not talking about a headshot featuring you in a suit, where you look boring.  I’m talking about one that is going to make you look like you use your products and they make you look not only awesomely gorgeous, but happy, too. 

If you sell jewelry, your headshot is going to be different than if you are a lawyer.  If you are a lawyer who sells jewelry, well then you will need two headshots.  It’s my job to make people believe that you are what you want to be… whether it is a skin care expert, a weight-loss guru, or a business coach.  And, I promise that I can do it in a way that doesn’t include weird props or silly backgrounds. 

So ask yourself… do you need to stand out?

Are you a dynamic/serious/professional/social status icon?

Are you a dynamic/serious/professional/social status icon?

Maybe a Lawyer or a Financial Planner?

Maybe a Lawyer or a Financial Planner?

Or a real estate agent?

Or a real estate agent?

Definitely an event planner...

Definitely an event planner…

Or, are you the number one plastic surgeon in your area?

Or, are you the number one plastic surgeon in your area?

No matter your profession, owning a set of phenomenal headshots will be the most effective and quickest way to show you are an expert at what you do. In the end, it’s the best way to establish trust.

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