To be or not to be.

Ties straight, clean shirt, pressed suit, shined shoes, hair combed, and matching socks. I was never known to be a fashion plate when going on sales calls but those were the image items, I was aware of before meeting with a customer. I am sure female colleagues similarly thought of their wardrobe so as like me to make a good impression on our customers to show a professionally polished image. When we arrived at our sales call, we went through an exercise to drink in as many details as we could from the surrounding clues the prospect would unbeknownst give us. I dare say if you are in sales, you have done the same to assist you in building rapport and assimilate to your surroundings. We all have seen the pictures of the kids, the sports memorabilia, the fishing rod, or even the award hanging on the wall to give us that little leg up with the prospect and get the conversation going. It has been said that salespeople need to know a lot about many subjects without being a master of any. The clues I received would always for me seem to start to get the ball rolling on a sales call.

Today with so many of us doing our sales process in the virtual environment, the goalposts have shifted a little. I have had the great pleasure of working with many great sales organizations and some that with the shift in selling have been very quick to provide and mandate that their sales staff add a virtual background. They want this always to be in place when engaging with customers via Zoom or other types of calls. At first blush this seems like a good idea, but is it?

While a very significant argument can be made for a company to mandate virtual backgrounds, I believe there is a case to be made against it. Sure, virtual backgrounds can provide a clean, uniform corporate image for a customer, that eliminates any issues for the employee with showing possibly too much in their virtual environment that does not need to be shown. They can also provide a goo