Today I am participating in an online book tour, for the book, In Women We Trust: A Cultural Shift to the Softer Side of Business by author Mary Hunt. A few words about online book tours For those of you who are not familiar with the concept of an online book tour, it's pretty straight forward, actually. It is like a regular book tour, except that it is all done online at blogs. Instead of traveling from city to city, the author "travels" from blog to blog. Why blogs? Because you can have a conversation at blogs and really drill down deep. And blogs lend themselves to creativity -- you can do any number of different formats for the book tour: a review of the book, a Q&A interview with the author, or as we are doing here today, a guest article that carves out 5 Do's and Don'ts about selling to women business owners. About the author, Mary Hunt I had the good fortune recently to get to know Mary and spend some time with her by phone. What a fascinating discussion! Mary has an impressive background that she does not tout in her official bio -- replete with a successful career in sales, marketing and advertising. Her Tenets As I talked with Mary, golden nuggets of information kept popping up. Before we get to Mary's guest Do's and Don'ts article, I'd like to share some of Mary's comments: "Networks are crucially important for women. But business networking for women is very different than for men. For men it's more about collecting a business card, and moving on to the next person. For women it is more about getting to know the other person first. A woman is more likely to say, 'how can I do business with you, I don't even know you. Let me get to know you first.' " "A good sales rep will engage in fact-finding to learn about the prospect's needs before trying to sell. But fact-finding is different between men and women. Men do fact finding mainly for the purpose of finding out what to sell you. Women do it for that reason AND to get to know you. Remember when selling to small business owners who are women: they are checking you out as much as you are checking them out." "Women want your personality to show, because they want to know that you would be a decent person to work with and do business with -- not an 'auto con' (fast-talking car salesperson)." "I observed something interesting at the recent BlogHer conference, which as you know had women as the vast majority of those attending. Some men could blend in at BlogHer and seemed at home. On the other hand, you could tell the ones who felt uncomfortable. They were 'tourists' in the culture and not part of the culture. I can appreciate what it feels like to be an outsider. For example, in the 1980s I had to wear a blue suit, a knotted man-tie and speak in bullet points to fit in to the business world. At this point the dress code has eased up, but the bullet point culture is the same. If women can change to fit into the corporate culture, then men can make the attempt to fit into the women's culture, especially if they are working with female consumers." As I said, it was a fascinating discussion with Mary, that told me a lot about her, as well as about her tenets for doing business with women business owners. Be sure to read Mary's guest post that follows, Do's and Don'ts For Selling to Women Business Owners. Finally, be sure to check out all the earlier stops on the book tour at: Stop #1: Deborah Brown at Bizinformer -- In Women We Trust and Interview With Mary Hunt. Stop #2: Toby Bloomberg of Diva Marketing -- Virtual Book Tour With Mary Clare Hunt. Stop #3: Kirsten Osolind at the reinvention blog -- Virtual Book Tour, Featuring Author Mary Clare Hunt. Stop #4: Susan Getgood at Marketing Roadmaps: -- In Women We Trust -- Book Review.