I talk to new image consultants quite often. They tell me it’s overwhelming to know just where to begin building a career. I agree. I decided to reflect on my long career and begin a list of my top business building tips. It’s not necessarily where I started, but if you’re new in the business, I hope to give you a few shortcuts!
1. Decide what services you want to provide and then start creating marketing materials that are geared to those services. If you’re doing color consulting, create a list of 10 benefits of getting your colors done. If you’re going to be doing closet audits, create a list of things people can do to get ready for that first closet appointment. These tip sheets for clients or potential clients demonstrate immediately that you’re a professional and you know what you’re talking about.
In the beginning I thought I had to be an expert on everything. I stretched myself too thin. When I realized that I was most interested in style, wardrobing, shopping, and helping women over 40, I was able to focus my marketing efforts on those subjects. It seems obvious, doesn’t it? Yet I’ve coached other image consultants who were doing the same thing. When they narrowed their focus, they started attracting the clients they were eager to serve.
2. Be clear about your pricing and try your best not to discount your prices. How are you accepting payment? Do you invoice or collect money the day of services? I knew an image consultant once who admitted to me that she never got around to invoicing her clients. That’s not good for cash flow. Create a plan and work that plan.
I was in a business group once (I was the only image consultant in the group) where the leader was talking about offering deep discounts every other month. Something about that made no sense to me. I thought about my ideal client. Would she respond more to me if I was discounting all the time? No, she wouldn’t. It made life so easy when I realized it was okay not to discount.
3. Always look the part. I remember being in line at the Post Office one day and someone in front of me was talking to the person at the sales counter. She was telling the P.O. employee all about her new career: image consulting. There was nothing about her that made her look like an image consultant. It was a great teaching moment for me. Our presence is our main way of advertising our business. We are a walking billboard for our services.
4. Listen carefully to your client’s needs and wants. Respond to them right where they are. I heard an interview last week with Chris Anderson, author of TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking. He said, “You don’t know what it feels like to not know what you know.”
It made me think how we can easily make assumptions about our clients. We assume they know what we know–or close to it. While we’re thinking we should be helping them with “important” stuff like what to wear to work, they may want to focus on what to wear to their kid’s soccer game. That may seem like a no brainer to us but it’s not to them.
5. Find peers to talk to. There’s nothing more rejuvenating than talking shop with people who share your passion. Make friends with colleagues and you’ll never feel alone!
If you’re interested in getting professional content support for your marketing and to be with peers you can count on, consider joining the Monthly Marketing Bundle program. It’s helped so many people; it can help you!