As a female business owner, you are proud to be honest and above board at all times. You would never dream of scamming one of your valued clients or taking advantage of a vendor, member of your marketing team or delivery person.
Unfortunately, not everyone in the world thinks like you do. There are plenty of dishonest people out there who would love nothing more than to play you in one of your business ventures and take advantage of your kind and trusting nature. In turn, this can lead to you losing money and even your precious reputation.
Rather than shrinking back and hoping this type of thing never happens to you, it is better to be aware of the signs that you are being played and then learn how to handle these scammers and get rid of them for good.
They Avoid Your Questions
One of the common signs that someone is trying to play you is an utter inability to answer questions and concerns head on. Let’s say someone approaches you and says she can offer you a great deal on office cleaning—but then changes the subject every time you ask about referrals or customer reviews. This can be a red flag that something is amiss. In general, companies with a shady past or something to hide are very unlikely to give you a straight answer.
On the other hand, a company that handled this type of situation well is Amway. When the direct sales giant realized that many people were wondering if Amway is a scam or not, the company faced the rumors head on. Instead of hemming and hawing and ignoring the questions, Amway posted a fact-filled article on its website that explains how its business model works, which proved how different it is from a pyramid scheme.
Be a Doubting Thomas
As the FTC notes, the sad reality is that many scammers will target businesses like yours. In many cases, the crooks pretend to be someone you would naturally trust—for instance, a representative from a government agency or a company that you already know. Since you are a kind and trusting person, you may be more likely to fall for their lies. To avoid being taken advantage of, adopt a Doubting Thomas persona, at least at first. Don’t believe what caller ID is saying and ask to call the person back at their company number. If you get an email with a great offer, remember that scammers are really good at creating fake websites and legit looking emails. Prior to working with any new company, Google the name and add in the word “scam” and see what pops up—you may find that someone claiming to be with a local bank is offering zero interest business loans, but then will steal your identity.
Watch for Pushy Sales Tactics
Another sign that someone is trying to play you is the use of high-pressure sales tactics. According to BBB.org, scammers will tell you that whatever product or other deal they are trying to sell you will no longer be valid tomorrow. They will express urgency, raise their voices and try to take over the entire conversation, all in an attempt to get you to make an impulse buy. The best way to protect yourself from high pressure sales pitches is to know these signs and immediately ask them to stop—and then walk away and/or hang up if you need to.
Good Will Win
To avoid being played in business does not mean deserting your friendly demeanor. But it does involve being aware of how scammers will rope you in and what they will and will not do to get you to fall for their baloney. Embrace your cynical side while you are at work, ask plenty of questions, and be ready to tell those who want to take advantage of you to take a hike—your business depends on it.