Guest Blog from Channel Sales Director, Philip Strange.
1 of the major impacts of the global pandemic has been on how we interact in business and that, in turn, has translated into how and where we sell, and the image we project in these new circumstances.
For a considerable time, in-person visits were totally out of the question and salespeople had to resort to using the phone.
So what? Salespeople have been selling on the phone since it was invented!
However, thanks to Covid-19 we’ve not only been drawn into selling on the phone – but now we’re on camera as well! Every day we all take part in several online meetings with video which substitute the “old normal”, traditional, F2F meetings and it looks like this will become part of our permanent, “new normal”, modus operandi.
The big question is: to what degree has this changed the way we should present ourselves to our Customers and Prospects? What is acceptable and what is not? Has a new business dress-code been born?
Covid has certainly blurred the lines.
The “business casual” dress-code has been around for some time now, and even IBM doesn’t ask its salesmen to wear a tie to the office anymore, but if we turn back the clock to December 2019 - would you have shown up to your Customer’s office looking like you’d just been cleaning the car or digging the garden?
Does Your Attire Affect Your Brand?
I think you know the answer.
In this respect, the traditional rule still applies: every sales call is essentially a job interview, so present yourself accordingly and show professional respect to the other person.
Is business casual OK? – absolutely. Sports leisurewear such as tracksuits? Yes of course. In fact, you can wear just about anything provided it is neat and clean. The big difference now is that WFH has made it even more difficult to separate the personal from the professional, so instead of dressing as if we were going to a corporate office, we have to look at our business appearance from a different perspective.
To do that, think of the other people on your call as guests in your home and yourself as a guest in theirs.
How would you dress? Would you wear a jacket and tie? Probably not, but not a crumpled T-shirt either and you would be definitely be showered and well-groomed. What would your home look like? You would only show them the areas that were clean, tidy, and organised, right? (artificial back-drops are a wonderful invention if you have no other choice but to make the call from your bedroom).
There would be a minimum of distractions - the kids (and the dog) would be under strict instructions to contain themselves. And of course, it’s unlikely that you would meet your guests directly from cleaning the car or digging the garden.
An online call is still a professional meeting, and whether you are working from home or in a F2F meeting we’re still Salespeople, not YouTube personalities.
Customers and Prospects will still base part of their decision-making on how we look, whether we like it or not, so if you haven’t done so already, take care of your online appearance, because although a new dress code has been born, the reasons for the old dress-code didn’t die (yet).
Immediate follow-up actions:
Think about how the global pandemic has changed the way you present yourself in online meetings:
Have you lapsed into any bad habits?
What could you do differently to project a more professional image?
Read Phil's previous post on (F2F) business appearance