Wednesday, June 11, 2008

When business turns personal: What are these guys thinking?

OK, in a blog that is dedicated to women entrepreneurs, this topic is LONG overdue. Women, does this sound familiar?

You meet a prospect who happens to be male. Now, I'm talking about meeting in a business setting....a networking event, a trade show, an office meeting, a seminar, etc. (If you meet this "male prospect" in a bar, you've only yourself to blame!!)

At any rate, you and the prospect talk shop and he acts interested in your professional product or service. You agree to meet. Only when you get together for that meeting, it strangely feels like a date instead of a business meeting. And sure enough, you discover that he's not really interested in your PROFESSIONAL products and services so much as your PERSONAL ones.

WHAT? Since when is this ACCEPTABLE?

Now, I understand that in sales, you must build relationships. And sometimes, you build relationships with members of the opposite sex. And sometimes people can take things the wrong way. I get all that. (Which is why it's SO important to always walk with integrity. The last thing any woman entrepreneur wants is to have a tarnished reputation.)

But what I'm talking about is the old Bait and Switch. Where the man pretends he's going to bring you business (which he knows you won't say no to) only to get you in a setting where he can then hit on you.

Now I'm not saying this happens alot...but it does happen from time to time. And I know I'm not the only one...many of my professional female friends have had this very same thing happen. And from what I can tell, status, looks, and style of dress have nothing to do with it. (In other words, I don't think we're "asking for it" at all.)

If you are a woman reading this blog, BEWARE of such behavior.

If you are a man, and you do this...STOP IT. It's NOT ok. And even if you don't actually do this, make sure you aren't giving the IMPRESSION of doing this.

For one thing, I'm out networking because I have a mortgage payment, a car payment, and two children to provide for. I don't need to waste an hour or more of my time meeting with you if you have no intention of bringing me business.

And women, how can you avoid having this happen to you? Again, it goes back to integrity. And try not to talk about your personal life (especially your love life) too much. Sometimes it comes up, of course. After all, there's bonding and repore to be done.

I'm not really saying I have the answer to this issue....I'm just saying that it's a business practice that I watch happen that really gets under my skin.

Any thoughts or suggestions on this topic? Women, how do you handle yourselves to avoid such things?

1 comment:

KevinAZ said...

Jacki - Thanks for the reminder. I think we, guys, need it from time to time.