When Venus and Mars Network

I just finished a recently published book called Business Networking and Sex (not what you think) by Ivan Misner. The book shares the results of a survey profiling the differences in networking approaches by men and women, and how each gender can learn from the other to be more effective in gettingbusiness from their efforts. And who doesn’t network to get business these days, or rely on their salespeople to do so?

If you’re a man and network with women or call on women business owners you’ll find this information helpful in refining your approach. And if you’re a woman you’ll gain some insight on how to improve your approach as you network with men.

Please remember that although the author claims the results to be statistically significant, it does not mean that every woman or man approaches networking this way – these are general statements and we’re interested in your feedback if you find these sentiments to be true or not, based on your own experiences.

The survey reflects that both men and women are willing to work hard to get business from networking and the goals are the same.

However, women tend to network by getting to know someone and building a relationship with them. They ask questions, not always about business, and tend to gather and nurture a friendship based on trust and the desire to be helpful. Business referrals and opportunities follow.

Do you find this to be true?

Men, on the other hand, are much more transaction-focused when they network. Men tend to focus on their accomplishments and responsibilities, and how what they do benefits others. They first determine if there’s a sales opportunity and then build a relationship if they think business will result.

See the difference in approaches?

So it works well when men network with men and women network with women using their natural approaches.

However, there’s a disconnect when women use their natural approach with men, and men use their natural approach with women.

By asking questions and focusing on the other person, women are not sharing enough about what they have to offer, and are not establishing enough credibility. Men tend to see women who take this approach as not being serious or focused enough on business.

Men, by focusing on themselves and not asking questions, are seen by women as too “salesy” and not trustworthy.

So the authors advise women to focus their conversations on building credibility with men, and quickly identifying opportunities for business. And men are advised to focus first on asking questions and building a relationship with women, and business will follow as you build trust.

Do you agree with their thinking? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Email me atlauren@oconnellconsultinggroup.com. We’ll share your comments in our next email but will keep all names confidential. So, what do you think?

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