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By Bob McElwain
Posted Sunday, November 21, 2004

Say you're at a party. One of those Hollywood extravaganzas. Four hundred people wandering contentedly about a five acre estate complete with mansion, guest houses, and pools.

Joe, the fellow you're talking with, says, "Here's a guy you should meet." As you approach, you notice the Gucci shoes and Armani suit right off.

"Hi, Jeffery," Joe says. As the man turns, Joe continues. "Want you to meet Bill Cathers."

The handshake is firm. The smile is gracious and it somehow shows in his eyes. You clearly have his full attention.

Joe has wandered off as you chat. "Have you a card?" Jeffery asks, offering one of his own.

"Sure," you say as you hand him one, taking his.

As if from nowhere, Jeffery tenders a hundred dollar bill. "It's yours for ten bucks," he says with a mischievous grin.

You hesitate, more intrigued than skeptical. Then you fish a ten dollar bill from your wallet and swap it for the hundred.

"Got it yet?" Jeffery asks with that grin locked in.

You shake your head, grinning back, wondering why you are doing so.

"I just want to give you a call tomorrow. Deal?"

"Sure," you reply, still grinning, as Jeffery turns away to speak to another man.

Another Case

It's growing darker by the minute and you're in a part of town in which you know you shouldn't be. As you hurry down the sidewalk, an old man lurches into your path. All you notice of him is the ragged, torn and tattered coat that seems about to shred and fall to the ground. He smells awful. And his eyes don't seek yours.

"Ya can have it for a ten spot," he mumbles, extending a hundred dollar bill.

Without breaking stride you step around the old man and continue hurriedly down the street.

Okay, Image Is Not Everything.

The old man may have offered a genuine bill. He may only want a bottle of wine. He may be trying to cut a deal because no local shopkeeper will take the bill as real.

Jeffery may have stolen the suit and shoes, and be pushing counterfeit bills. He may only be scratching for enough to get himself on a plane and out of the state before he's arrested. Heck, serial killers are often gracious types.

But Image Is Everything Initially

Most anyone would risk ten bucks for a hundred offered by a fellow in an Armani suit. And most would ignore the same offer from the old man above. It's just the way things are. There's no right or wrong about it.

When you approach that office to close the big sale, you want to be certain you are well groomed and that your clothes are appropriate. And once inside, you will behave as if your wallet is stuffed to overflowing with hundred dollar bills. The latter matters most when the wallet is empty.

Why? Because unless you radiate this image, that fellow behind the desk is not going to go for your deal, no matter how good it may in fact be.

Put Your Site Into An Armani Suit And Guccis

This is the image your site must present. A visitor must capture it all in a glance, even before reading your headline. The overall visual impact sets the initial bias in your visitor's mind. If this impact and your headline do not bring immediate interest, your visitor will be history. He or she will not care one whit about the great offer you were unable to make.

At least for your website, image *is* everything. That first impression matters more than anything else on your site. For if a visitor does not linger long enough to read your fantastic offer, you can't make the sale.

About the Author
Bob McElwain
Want to build a winning site? Improve one you already have? Fix one that's busted? Get ANSWERS. Subscribe to "STAT News" now! Web marketing and consulting since 1993 Site:
Phone: 209-742-6349


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