I am currently working as a salesperson in my company and deal with potential clients on a daily basis. I need some advice concerning a client (let's call him Bob) who's been hitting on me.

The second time I met bob at a business lunch to discuss a deal, he made a comment stating that he does not mix work with personal life. He also told me that he's been recently divorced along with other details of his love life.

Within a few hours, he texted me saying that he appreciated the personal time we spent together. The same day, around 11 PM, he texted me again telling me that "on a personal level, he would like to have dinner with me".

How do I deal with this situation ? I know that I'll be risking losing the client if I come out too harsh on him, but I don't want to get to know Bob on a personal level.

  • I would document as much of your interaction as possible (e.g., make notes with day/time of your in-person or phone conversations, back up any texts). You want to be able to support your version of events, just in case this person becomes irrational or vengeful.
    – mcknz
    Jul 12, 2017 at 22:59

2 Answers 2


Tell Bob that, like him, you do not mix work with personal life. Tell him you cannot have anything "on a personal level" with him. Don't be rude, but don't be all "oooh I wish I could date you if it wasn't for the fact you're a client" either. Don't give an opinion either way on dating Bob or how much he does or does not appeal to you or the extent to which you are free or interested. Just make it clear that anything on a personal level is not going to be possible.

Close by hoping that you can continue to meet professionally so that you can [whatever the USP is for your product eg "make your developers more productive" or "save you money on electricity"] in the future.

He's made it quite clear and isn't hinting and trying to make you "read between the lines", and nor is he trying to set up sales meetings as a way to get dates, so he should be fine with what you're saying. If he cancels all your sales meetings, I suppose you could ask your boss to try with another rep, but potential deals come and go and I wouldn't make a big fuss about what made this one go. It's possible there wouldn't have even been a second lunch if he hadn't wanted a personal relationship, meaning that you declining that opportunity has not cost your firm a sale, since there never really was a sale to be made.

  • 1
    If he is a professional, he won't let your rejection affect his business relationship with you. If he does, then he's probably not someone you'd want to work with anyway. Jul 12, 2017 at 23:02
  • 2
    This is the way to go. No excuses, no "I would but"s, just politely but firmly say no.
    – Kat
    Jul 13, 2017 at 0:09
  • Exactly. He's direct, and you can be polite, but direct. Jul 13, 2017 at 0:15
  • Excellent answer. The key here is polite, direct, and clear.
    – Neo
    Jul 13, 2017 at 11:59
  • And its good practice. He probably won't be the last!
    – Pete B.
    Jul 13, 2017 at 16:12

How do I deal with this situation ? I know that I'll be risking losing the client if I come out too harsh on him, but I don't want to get to know Bob on a personal level.

Reply with something like "Sorry, No. I don't get involved with clients."

If he persists, talk with your manager and ask that you no longer deal with Bob.

  • 3
    This works great... Until he decides to no longer be a client so they can date.
    – Kat
    Jul 13, 2017 at 0:07

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