Do you think women in business are serious? How well do you network with women? Do you do much business with them? Research done last year showed that Irish women are now the main spenders in almost all areas of the Irish economy. Irish women are responsible for 58% of all purchasing decisions and influence 89% of consumer spending. Have a look around you are you spending time networking with members of the opposite sex? If you are not you could be losing out!

There is a great new book out by Dr. Ivan Misner, Hazel Walker and Frank De Raffele called Business Networking and Sex (Not what you think) and it has some fantastic recommendations for us on how to network with the opposite sex!

One of the main findings in the book was that men and women have a different focus when building relationships, lots of books have been written about this, nothing new there! Men are from Mars and women are from Venus comes to mind, what the authors discovered in Business Networking and Sex was that in terms of networking we were not exactly from different planets rather than same planet, same country but maybe in Irish terms – different counties! Any All Ireland match will tell you that being from a different county matters!! When networking, there are some subtle (and not so subtle) differences between how men and women operate. Having an insight into the differences and being able to respond to make someone from the opposite sex more comfortable pays dividends!!

The research for the book was completed across every continent with over 12,000 survey responses and they found that women build deeper relationships with people than men do. Also they focus on the relationship first and then the business, where as men tend to focus on the business first and then the relationship!

What does this really mean and how does it play out in our everyday conversations? Men….. think about the last time that you thought a woman was not serious about her own business because she was talking to you about her children or personal relationships. She is just socialising rather than building her business. Women……. think about the last time that you were talking to a man and you thought “he’s really hard sell,” or “he’s trying too hard to impress me”. We just build relationships in a different way, men tend to cut to the chase, what is the business opportunity here, how can we work together, this leads to lots of banter about accomplishments and unique selling points. Women tend to focus holistically on the person. How do I develop a relationship with them, the problem with this is… you may stay at that stage, you do not ask for the business or pursue the business proposition as early as you could.

Some advice on how to make your Business Networking more profitable with the opposite sex:

  • Men: Speak to relate not just impress
  • Women: Ask for what you want at the appropriate time

More fun facts from Business Networking and Sex to come over the next few weeks, we would love to hear your stories about how you find networking with the opposite sex!

Research carried out by iReach exclusively for the “Purse Power” event in Dublin in 2011