Secrets of Professional Flirting

Professional flirting; the way to seduce your professional relations into cooperating with you.

Kevin Van der Straeten
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Professional flirting; the way to seduce your professional relations into cooperating with you.


Hi Sandro, welcome in our studio. We're going to talk about professional flirting. Isn't doing regular business enough anymore?  


Well, it depends on how you generate your income, on how you acquire clients. In a business in event planning I'm assuming that the biggest portion of your clients comes from direct 1 on 1 contact or referrals. So even though your profile on LinkedIn or your website or what people say about you might give you the audition, the impression that you make in person to the key-decision maker of course determines whether you get the role. And that requires some interpersonal skills, especially in business, which definitely comes down to seducing people into... 


But is it exactly the same as dating, when you're looking for...? 


It kind of is, especially because the main thing about business flirting and about acquiring clients is that it's an emotional process instead of a logical one. One of the biggest mistake that people make is thinking that business decisions are 100% rational and logical. It's been proven even that 95% of decisions that key-decision makers make is based on emotion; the feelings they have of a certain person being capable of solving their problems. Which most of the time has proven to be an emotional process instead of a logical one. 


But how does it work then? I come to a client on a network event. I see somebody and I want to start an interaction with them because of course I have an agenda; I want to sell them something. How do I start? 


Elements. First you have to make sure that you stand out positively. Second, you have to make an emotional connection. And thirdly, after doing those first two things, you can try to win people over. Because if you try to win people over before you've established yourself who's credible, trustworthy and attractive in a business sense, and before you've created an emotional connection, there's going to be a disconnect. You try close somebody before he feels moved to purchase from you, or to choose from you, or to work together with you. So that's why it's essential to stand out positively first, create an emotional connection second and then try to win people over. 


But stand out, what does that mean? Wearing a special hat, or...?  


Standing out comes down to having professional sex-appeal. And professional sex-appeal is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it's expressing your own personal allure and confidence and on the other hand it's a responsive energy towards the people you interact with. It's showing them that they are the only ones in the world you're interacting with at that moment. They are important to you. So it's a double-edged sword in that way.. Now, exuding confidence is important because in order for people to feel attracted to you in a social or a business sense, or even a romantic sense for that matter, it's important that they have to respect you first. And people respect other people that they see as people who can influence the world around them. Whether it's because of pure expertise, influence or authority over other people, physical strength, social status, business status, or whatever it can be. It has to be some kind of influence that you have to influence the world around you. Even though you might not know what type of influence I have, because I behave the way I behave you assume I have something to be confident about. 


But if you explain sex-appeal like this, then it's something you can learn. I always thought: you either have it or you don't. 


That's the biggest misconception that people have regarding professional sex-appeal. Because these are things that are non-verbally. It's the way you do things. And it's something that can be tweaked and achieved with a lot of practice. So it's not something that... Like I said, it's a double-edged sword which comes down to expressing confidence and warmth towards others. These aren't physical attributes. This isn't limited to physical attributes. So it's definitely something that can be learned. 


The second step was an emotional bond?  


Yes, an emotional connection. Creating the emotional connection. 


How do you do that? Start talking about the kids?  


Might be, it depends on the situation and the person. But it comes down to delivering social value. It has everything to do with what you add to the moment that someone is experiencing right then and there. So whether you meet this person on a networking event or on a tradeshow, it has to do with the value you add to the moment that he or she is experiencing. So everything else going outside of your business; your track-records, things you have done for past clients, your successes, your awards, your accolades, those things have nothing to do with this. And actually now that you mention it, it's kind of like the same when men are trying to seduce women. Men think that their value is their money or their car or things that they can show off, while that has nothing to do with seducing a woman. Of course those are things that are attractive when it comes to men, in the same way that you as a businessperson have your resources for your clients. 


Does it start automatically? You start with some small talk and then at a certain moment you say: "okay, now I want to go and talk business". How do you know at what moment to do that? 


Well, when you've established an emotional connection, people will freely start sharing information. Of course, I think that everyone in event planning has learned that the best sales people aren't the people who are loud and brashy but are the people who are comforting and good listeners. When you establish an emotional connection, you get people to talk. And when you listen and watch carefully at what they tell you and how they say it, you can find out where there are hot-buttons and where there are pain-points. When you know what their pain-points are, the things that they've shared with you, you can tailor the value that you can deliver to that situation and show them that you're willing to use your powers to their benefit. And there was something that... One of the important mindset-shifts that you have to make when you're flirting business-wise, is not seeing yourself as a value-taker from people. Because that is the mindset-difference between successful business networkers and flirters and unsuccessful business networkers. The successful business networkers see themselves as people that give value, they have value to give. So that's the way they approach the people on trade shows and networking events. Because the average professional who has to fend for himself to find clients, they usually don't like selling themselves. They see it as: you have to be sleazy and you have to use tactics. While they actually have a lot of value to give. So when you approach me, you see it as taking away my valuable time, thinking there are other people who might be better than you at what you do. So you feel like you're taking away value from me. While instead, you have to determine your value, so that you're aware of what you have to offer. Because when you're totally aware of this, then you approach me because you have a vision for how you could improve my situation. Instead of worrying about whether you could live up to what you promised me, or something. 


And then the magic happens automatically? 




Sandro, thank you very much for coming over.  


No problem. 


And you at home; thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next week!