What You Need to Know
- Nice weather helps.
- Talk about more than business.
- Look as if lunch is more than a task on a checklist.
Summer is here. The weather is nice. This is an ideal time to invite a client to join you for lunch.
This should strengthen the relationship and you might get business out of it too.
You might think it’s simple. You call someone and say: “Let’s go to lunch.”
It’s more involved than that, and there is logic behind your approach.
And, of course: Before you take any of these 12 steps, review them with your compliance advisors.
1. Invite a client into the office for their annual review.
Some people like reviews, others do not.
Suggest you meet at the office for the review, then head out to lunch afterwards.
Logic: Getting a free meal has it’s appeal.
You have seen this before with seminars.
2. Bring their spouse into the picture.
You want both parties on the account to be present.
You will make suggestions. There will be changes you want to make and ideas for fresh money.
You do not want “Let me talk to my better half and get back to you” to be the answer after you ask for the order.
Logic: You have both decision makers in your office.
You are strengthening your connection with both parties on the joint account.
3. Complete the review at the office.
This includes those recommendations. After the review is completed, place the orders for suggestions where they gave the go ahead.
Now it is time to leave for lunch.
Logic: You want to get those orders placed and confirmed while you know the prices and availability.
4. Pick a restaurant that is a step up.
Put another way, do not take them to a diner.
You are a professional. You respect the relationship.
Logic: The restaurant sets the tone.
5. Dress well.
Everyone is dressing down these days.
Your client might be dressed casually. You want to be in business dress.
You might be the best dressed person (or party) in the room.
Logic: Your manner of dress communicates you are a professional. A well-dressed person is buying them lunch.
6. Establish who is paying.
You are picking up the check, of course.
You will not allow them to pay, split the bill or leave the tip.
If you can charge the meal to your firm as an expense, you do not mention it.
If you are spending your own money, it is fine to let your client know it is your pleasure to pick up the check.
Logic: Taking them out to lunch is a way to say thank you for your continued business.
It is unlikely anyone will go crazy ordering expensive dishes.
7. Let them make some decisions.
Would they prefer sitting inside or outside? If inside, are they OK with a quiet table away from the crowd?