I’ve been reading Brad Burton’s new book this week; Life. Business: Just Got Easier, and something he said about how you show up in business; whether your actions are congruent with your brand really resonated with me.

At my mastermind meeting last week, we were working on our stories and message to market. And one of the areas that a lot of us hadn’t given too much thought to was the way we are viewed by our prospective customers.

In Brad’s book, he tells the story of a Financial Adviser whose marketing message was that he was the “leader in wealth creation in the UK”. One day, Brad gets in this guy’s car, and the “service due <5,100 miles” light is flashing.

What message does that send out? If he can’t afford to get his car serviced on time, he’s not THAT good at wealth creation is he?

To be fair, we don’t know that he couldn’t afford it, but that doesn’t really matter. The point is, the prospective customer (in this case Brad) thinks the guy can’t afford it, so the damage is done.

How do you show up in business?

Ask yourself what you’d believe about each of these people? Imagine they’re pitching for your business…

  • A weight-loss coach who is overweight?
  • An image consultant who has no sense of style?
  • Someone promoting a system/business that will make you a “ton of money” but who has a job, employed full time?

You can reason it, but I’d bet that your first impression would be to mistrust and disbelieve each of these people?

The overweight weight loss coach might have lost 20 stones in the last two years, but if on first impressions, you see them as overweight, the damage is done.

As the old cliché goes,

“you only get one chance to make a first impression”!

This is why your story is SO important. When I first started my business, I wasn’t open about the difficulties and Customer trustchallenges I have, and those I have overcome to get where I am today.

So consequently, when I showed up, presenting myself as (what I believed to be) equal to everyone else, something wasn’t ringing true to my audience.

This planted doubt in their minds.

It wasn’t until someone was “brave” enough to sit me down and tell me how I was viewed (ironically, since this blog was inspired by Brad Burton, the “brave” person was someone I met at a 4Networking meeting!), that the penny clicked. And now my story goes before me. I am authentic and open about my journey. My marketing is based around my story, and yours should be too.

Tell us what makes you the expert in what you do. Share the experiences that you went through that have brought you here today. Be passionate about your message, and the difference you want to make in the world.

You are unique, so don’t make the mistake I did years ago and try and be something other than 100% real.

Can you put your hand on your heart and say that you are 100% authentic?

How you show up in business is covered in steps 5 and 6 of my Social Marketing Profits Blueprint – Verify and Satisfy; Verify to your prospects that you’re the expert, and satisfy them that they can trust you to deliver. When you appear 100% of the time as expected, trusting you is easy. When any conflict occurs, your prospects will be questioning whether you really are what they thought you were.

This week I’d recommend you take a good look at how you show up in person – and on social media – and ask yourself whether you’re unwittingly causing your prospective customers to mistrust you?

Personally, I’m deeply suspicious of any social media “expert” who regularly attends offline networking events. If they are claiming to be an expert at social marketing, then you should reasonably expect that they can not only earn a sizeable income through their own social marketing efforts, but that they would have such a good community of raving fans, that they would attract referrals through these fans who are networking offline.

And if you’re going to pay someone to teach you how to make more sales from social media, you want to know that the person you’re working with is actually getting fantastic results themselves – so that when you apply what they’re teaching, you can also expect fantastic results.

What would be the point of modelling your social marketing activity on a non successful strategy?!

Consequently, the social media “expert” who is showing up at every local networking meeting is acting incongruently with their marketing – they’re not 100% authentic – not “walking their talk”!

So, put yourself into your prospective customers’ place. Would you trust yourself? Do you show up as credible and believable in every area? Be honest with yourself? It might be a painful realisation, but it won’t be as painful as realising years down the line that you’ve lost business as a result of unknowingly being inconsistent in how you show up.