Who doesn’t like a good business development deal? You flirt, you court a little while and you might get hitched in a polygamous sort of way. There are worse ways to run a railroad.
But a recent experience with someone we wanted to partner with underscored just how dangerous solid research and loose lips can be. As I was listening to someone’s pitch, the person took a shot at one of my favorite vendors.
In fact, I like the vendor so much that we signed up for their affiliate program. We weren’t promoting them, but if someone asked, they would get an enthusiastic recommendation.
The person pitching the deal ripped into the vendor and clients who used their services. Since there was no clear path to knowing we did business together, staying quiet seemed the better course of action. I then asked about two other organizations — companies we actively promote. I didn’t say anything about them, but only asked for an opinion.
This wasn’t a trap question although one might think so looking back. They’re for people who aren’t even serious about being online, said this person. It’s like having training wheels on your bike. You know where this is going.
Professionals in any field should hold strong opinions about the players in their field. But making editorial comments about organizations or people when you don’t know the connection to the person you’re speaking with is a gamble you likely can’t afford to make.