Have you ever been on a date from hell? Unfortunately, I have to say I have been on a few, but that tends to go with the territory if you are in your 30’s and single

Last night, I went on a date against my better judgement with a guy who had previously been so incredibly rude, that you would probably never talk to him again.

My new year’s resolution is to give people a go.

Thus, I accepted his invitation to show me that he was in fact a ‘cool guy’ with good manners.

So, I turned up and he proceeded to drink 3 beers really fast. Not a good start! I am not a fan of big drinking men and on dates, I think at a certain age, excessive alcohol just isn’t quite acceptable. My thoughts only of course and each to their own on this topic.

Then we headed to the restaurant for dinner. He proceeded to have another drink pre- dinner and a bottle of wine at dinner, not noticing that I was not drinking.

This background is essential in the rest of the story because perhaps, if someone hadn’t been drinking so heavily, they would not quite have communicated in the same way.

Now this guy is really into me. He repeatedly has told me this. But when he reiterates this at dinner, he repeatedly tells me that ‘he is really into me, and I am really into him’. #1 Don’t make assumptions – particularly when you are so off track.

He proceeded to tell me how much of a gentleman he is, but was rude to the waiters. #2 If you are going to position yourself as anything, make sure you do what you say.

He talked at me. #3 Know your audience and the best communicators learn that listening will always win.

He finished the night and slurred how I should go home with him. #4 Totally unacceptable. At no stage did I give him any indication that he would even get another date, let alone going home with him. No gentleman does this surely.

Now, how this relates to business is that in business when we go to a meeting with a new client, it is just like ‘dating’.

#1 Don’t make assumptions, ask questions of your ‘date’ to get the answers you require to be better informed and to make a situation analysis.

#2 If you are going to position yourself, make sure you follow through and live and breathe that positioning. If you say for instance that you are a market leader, then establish why you are a market leader and show the ‘date’ just how professional you are and how you do things in a position of leadership, rather than as a follower.

#3 Know your audience. Don’t talk AT someone – engage in conversation. Listen to what they have to say and respond if required. Don’t talk over your date and ensure that by listening you are learning more and more about that person.

#4 Unacceptable behaviour. How you close is imperative to how you go forward. So when you are on a ‘date’ unless you have the read the situation with very obvious indicators, be sure to ensure that the close is in line with #1,2,3 and that you have listened to your ‘date’. I know some courses tell you to end the first meeting with a contract and this could be interpretted as such, but realistically, when does that ever work? Particularly if you have not done the  basics correctly. You should know how a ‘date’ is going and through listening, you should be able to work out what is stage 2. In business, it might be going on another ‘date’ or it might be sending some paperwork, or perhaps it might be understanding that the ‘date’ is not working and moving on.

Remember, every one-to-one business meeting is just like a date and there are a few factors that we all need to take into account to get the most out of it. Be sure that next time you go on a business date, you think about this marketing blog and how you can get the most out of it by following a few basic rules.

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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

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