Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: How to handle overly aggressive business partner)

I’m in a job I love as a sales rep for a major company. Good pay, nice co-workers, but recently I’ve been having issues. One of our accounts, a man in his 40’s has been hitting on me every time I talk to him or see him. I talked with my superior and was told to just go with the flow. Don’t jeopardize the account. I only deal with this guy a few times a month, but it’s uncomfortable and starting to undermine my happiness here. Do you have any idea on how to get him to stop his behavior without losing the account?
 
Yeah…tell his wife about it (and chances are he probably “has” one, too)… Seriously, if your company expects you to get involved with this guy “outside” of the workplace then that could lead to all sorts of consequences. No job should ever “tell” you to “overly” fraternize with a client just so you can keep an account, but most organizations have no problems with using “sex” appeal when it comes to business (in fact, I think that just about ALL of them use it at one stage or other). Obviously most people prefer to do business with an attractive member of the opposite sex (and some might prefer members of the “same” sex, but that is another story…for another day…). If you ever did form some kind of personal relationship with him outside the business (and things suddenly went sour) then the business account could be jeopardized as a result. Also, it could get real “sticky” if this guy expects to sleep with you. From the company standpoint, does this mean that in order to protect the account you are expected to do so? Let’s hope not…  One way to get past this situation is for YOU to “personally” lay down the ground rules and say that you don’t mix personal relationships with corporate accounts. While you are in the workplace it is cool to smile and even be friendly, but once you exit the confines of your workplace that should be the END of your interaction with him. If he appears to be getting out of hand, then your supervisor should be prepared to transfer someone ELSE to that particular account. Now THIS part is VERY important: You need to document EVERYTHING that is happening, from what your supervisor is saying to what your account person is doing. Make sure to make note of the times along with the dates and try to get any witnesses if you can, because you may need them later on (and that is no joke). Should this account be lost (and they blame YOU for it) then you are going to need all resources at your disposal in case your supervisor takes a negative action towards you as a result of it. Foresight is important in ANY field of work, and you need to take measures to make sure your integrity is not being compromised against your will. If they prove to be guilty of harassment (and you can prove it) then you can take THEM to court, win your case and own the company. Here is a Friday greeting from the Phantom Poet:
 
There is an account executive who always likes to flirt
When I complained to my boss, he recommended me “shortening” my skirt
He said in order to keep the account; I should just go with the flow
I said, “then why don’t YOU dress up in heels and a skirt for him, bro?”
My boss said, “ If it was needed, I would have no problems going that extra mile”
I said, “Great, because our next client is gay, and he digs you…. smile”
If you truly believe in this concept, then you should take the steps to make it stronger
Because this gay guy is about 6 foot 7, so his “extra mile” might be a little “longer”
So as my boss, be prepared to lead by example, honey
And I’ll know we have the account once I see you come in “walking funny”
It’s great to know that you plan on following this policy through
Because we have some other big gay business clients who are fond of you, too
It’s also great to know that as a boss you will lead by example
Because the next gay guy weighs about 450, and you might get trampled
I might be able to have dinner with some clients with wine, food, and ice cream
As long as YOU can handle the other stuff…and be willing to take one…for the “team”
 
Aw man, I just heard the organization is relocating to “Fire Island”… The Phantom Poet

David Banner, Ciara, Vickie Winans, The Williams Brothers, Chuck Brown, Janet Jackson, James Ingram and Yolanda Adams onstage with Brett Jolly (photo taken from Sister II Sister magazine)

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One thought on “Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: How to handle overly aggressive business partner)

  1. Good advice, Brett. I’d like to add: Contact your superior’s “superior”, or the person in charge, say the Director, for instance.

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