Forrest Wallace Cato, Wally Cato, Image Branding, Media Consultant, Media Advocate, Image Building, Media Exposure, Publicist, Press Relations

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Brian Tracy, whom many consider to be
America's greatest sales trainer, discusses the
vital role image plays in your success!
By Forrest Wallace Cato

What is the most important factor in the professional's or business's image?

Because as business people we are dealing with people's money, and money is a very emotional issue, the critical factor is trust. The way to build trust is to prepare thoroughly in advance, over-prepare, and then over-deliver! Always look like a successful professional. As Zig Ziglar once said, "If you want people to take advice from you, be sure that you look like the kind of person that they can confidently take advice from!"

Is image important for you?

I began my career in the financial industry. In my business now, as then, fully ninety-five percent of the first impression I make when I stand in front of an audience (as a professional speaker) is composed of the visual impact. I therefore give great thought and concern to dress and grooming. I spend substantially on custom tailored suits and make sure that they match with ties, shirts, socks and shoes. Image is very important for a professional to open the door to client relationships. But your image is far more than physical appearance.

How did you "build" your image?

My focus has always been on consistency in all things. I treat each person with professionalism and courtesy, fulfill my commitments, and get back to people immediately. I believe in sharing and being a team player. My staff treats every client and non-client with the same courtesy. I have an ongoing plan, executed by my media advocate, to create, establish, and maintain my desired image within target markets. This means I routinely receive media recognition. Over time, the very best compliment we have received is that, "You are the easiest people to do business within the entire speaking industry." For the Advisor's image, consistency is everything!

What is the most important factor in the "Brian Tracy" image?

There is an exercise I began doing twenty-five years ago. That will work for every professional. Ask yourself, "What do I want people to say about me and think about me before and after they have listened to me or met me?" Write it down. Once you are absolutely clear about the specific positive impression that you wish to have created, you must make sure that everything that you do is consistent with your desired image. Never allow an exception.

What can the professional do to create and establish an image that will better help his or her career success?

In the final analysis, the professional's image must reflect reality. My focus has always been on continually upgrading my skills and knowledge so that I can contribute real value to my clients and audiences. The professional must be a genuine expert in his or her field. The professional must thoroughly prepare for every meeting. The professional must have desired media exposures that advance the desired image. The professional must put in the extra time and go the extra mile to become the very best in his or her field. This is the real foundation of a lasting image. Remember this, the person who does many of these will be the leader in your marketplace! Plus, you are competing with people who do some of this in your marketplace. It is foolish to ignore your image or to not make your image a top priority.

Can a well-established image be destroyed or damaged?

A well-established image can be damaged or destroyed by scandal or dishonesty! These events are invariably fatal! The essential element in every business is trust and credibility. If anything happens that causes clients or prospects to question the integrity of the business, he or she will have to go into another field.

What is your bottom-line advice about the professionals's image?

Aside from giving careful thought to your external appearance, your clothes, and your grooming, focus all of your efforts on being perceived as an expert in your field, and giving the very highest quality of service to your clients. Create, establish and maintain a general awareness of this through the media. Then make certain that your clients and prospects see the evidence of this. In the final analysis, the words that people use to describe you will be based on the excellence of your performance and execution, not on superficial elements such as your appearance. Their thoughts and words about you will be based on the personality you display and the character you reflect, plus the various combined total elements that compose your image.

Finally, be certain that everything you do inside and outside of your business is consistent with your image.
Be sure that every piece of correspondence or printed material that goes out of your office or your hands is perfect in every detail. Use the highest quality of paper products in everything you do. Commit yourself to being equal to or better than the very best in your business, and continually raise the bar on yourself.

Respectfully, I urge readers to review this article again because your image is so important to your success!


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