Anyone that works in an sales setting knows that taking clients out for a meal is one of the most tried and true methods to closing a sale. No matter what field you are in, everyone likes to eat, and going out to lunch is a great way to get out of the office and speak about business in a less formal manner. If you are one of the salespeople that gets to make the call on when and where to take a client (or potential client) out, there are a few things for you to consider.
First and foremost, the best time to take a client out for a lunch is when they’re available. While this may sound obvious, many salespeople tend to operate on their own schedules. Instead of focusing on your schedule, work with the client’s. If the have an opening, don’t be afraid to shift some other responsibilities and meetings around to make that time work. Every business works on their own calendar, so when there is an opening you need to take it.
You also need to find a great restaurant to take them too. Be sure to do some research on the people that will be attending. Find out what type of food they like. Ask if there are any allergies or special considerations, the last thing you want to do is take a party out for a meal only to find out the restaurant doesn’t have gluten free options. Take your party to a highly recommended establishment like Carmichael’s Chicago Steak House, in Chicago, or a similar restaurant in your city. Be sure to make a reservation beforehand and show up on time.
Once you have your clients out feel free to talk about business, or not, it all depends on you. If it is a sales pitch, then obviously you’ll want to talk about business. If it’s a more routine maintenance visit, feel free to stray away from the business speak. The most important thing is that you have fun and enjoy your meal.