Many advisors entertain a lot. They meet prospects over coffee. They take clients out to lunch. Business entertaining is part of the cultivation process.
(Related: The 10 Commandments of Prospecting)
This gets sticky when you are going out with friends. Yes, some have the potential to be clients. However, they might assume your job comes with an expense account or “you can afford” to pick up their tab. Sometimes they slip away from the table before the check arrives. How do you avoid this sticky situation?
You are generous. There are times you want to pick up the check. Yet if you attend a community event, meet a nice couple and go out for a bite afterwards, you want to split the check. Your friends are wrong. You don’t have a lavish expense account.
Upon meeting someone of the first time, most people will offer, even insist on splitting the dinner check. If you are going out for drinks, someone might say: “I’ll get the first round,” establish the ground rule that the other person will follow suit.
But what do you do when you are getting together with people you suspect are unfamiliar with the rules, or friends you haven’t seen in a long time?
Everyone who entertains needs a selection of favorite restaurants. You know the prices. The staff knows you. You are on your home territory.
Three specific restaurants need to be in your pocket:
1. The Price Fixed Menu
Many restaurants do three courses at a set price on weeknights when business is slow. These are often great deals. Same kitchen, same great food, better prices.
What to say: “Let’s go to The Gallic Frog. It’s right around the corner. They’ve got really great French food. During the week they do this terrific three course menu. It’s a great deal at $ 35.00”