The Beqaj Interview

posted March 30th, 2011 by Janet Graham - Leave a Comment

This is the first in a series of posts I will publish based on an interview I did with Jim Beqaj to gain his perspective on the progress of women in the financial services industry. Jim is a respected veteran of the financial services industry and author of the recently published “How To Hire The Perfect Employer” which I reviewed in a post earlier this week. (Check out my review; I loved his book!!)

 

What is your impression of the difference between the experience of a male and female in the securities industry today?

 

Jim said: “Well the best way I could probably put that would be that I found… and mind you my time was spent mostly on the trading room side of the business… I found that women made better sales people and, in fact, the women I had that traded for me were extremely good at trading as well.  I found that the essential difference between men and women was that women had a great ability to actually build friendships and relationships with their clients and, if you think about it, at the end of the day if we’re all selling pretty well the same commodity what makes someone pick that button versus someone else’s button?  I believe price is a red herring.  People don’t do business on the basis of price.  Women were far more adept at doing that, both with females and with males. Also, I think that a big difference was that they didn’t have the same sort of ego or if they had the ego they were actually able to put it into better check and they didn’t have that same sort of over-aggressive, competitive, I have to win, you have to lose mind set.  They were more collaborative. They were more compromising in their approach to people.  I think that with some people competitiveness works well but if you take a broad cross-section of clients and people that you interact with in the industry, there’s no question that being more collaborative and more compromising makes you far more effective at what you do. All of the women that ever worked with me who I had hired or inherited were all extremely good at that.  In fact, the only ones that weren’t very good at that were the women that weren’t being women, who were trying to be a man, and I was like don’t be a man because they’re not very good at this.  They’re not as good as you at doing this and bringing what being a woman brings to the table to tell you the truth but a few of them just couldn’t get that, right, they just couldn’t get that. ”

 

Jim said: “I think the other thing about women that I think distinguishes them in the industry is that women, in general, think multi-dimensionally in terms of their interactions with people whereas men are very linear in their relationships with people; it’s very sort of cut and dried.  The best example I have about someone thinking like that is when I brought in the Dale Carnegie program for the entire trading floor because I wanted people to improve not just their presentation skills but their interpersonal skills with everybody in the room and outside it. And while everyone went to their Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday sessions, it was a woman who said, hey, why don’t we invite our clients and she reached out and invited her clients.  Can you imagine the impact of sixteen weeks of seeing your senior clients up there telling you their problems, their woes, their ups and their downs? In the end, who are they going to do business with?  It’s that kind of thing that I think really highlights the difference between men and women.”

 

What Strikes Me?

 

Women make “better” sales people. They build relationships and friendships with their clients which is what differentiates the sales person selling a commodity

 

Price is a red herring. People don’t do business on the basis of price

 

Women are very good traders

 

Women are able to better check their egos

 

Women are more collaborative

 

Women are more compromising in their approach to people

 

Competitiveness works well with some people but with a broad cross-section of people you interact with, there’s no question that being more collaborative and more compromising makes you far more effective at what you do

 

In general, women think multi-dimensionally in terms of their interactions with people whereas men are very linear in their relationships with people. For men, it’s very cut and dried

 

What Strikes You?

 

Please add your comments.

 


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