BUSINESS LUNCH - WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW TO IMPRESS YOUR CLIENT
Sometimes we come across some doubts when it comes to a business lunch. In fact everything is pretty easy, just follow some basic “etiquette” steps. Yes, the old well-known etiquette which has been considered "old fashion" for some, even though it's proven to be the way to open many doors and business opportunities! Just keep it simple and elegant.
First, if you are the one who wants to sell something, you are the one who must pay. Don't accept your customer pays, don't accept to split the bill, don't even allow him/her to get their credit card! As soon as you ask for the check and the waiter brings it, be the first to reach out for it. Be discreet when paying the bill, don't comment on values.
Choose a quiet place, as you will be discussing business and you wants his/her full attention, even if you're not talking business all the time. Therefore, it's better to get a quiet place, in other words, forget about that noisy diner you eat quickly every day with your co-workers. It's recommended you make a reservation in a place above the average. You want to be remembered for providing your customer with good moments, you do not want the waiter to make a mistake, you want the waiter to be cordial and efficient, and all that comes at a cost. Don't worry, it's not necessary to spend a fortune, just choose the right place.
Let your customer order first, it's a way to show he/she is "your guest of honor". If he/she orders alcohol, fine, but you will not. Why? Because you have to go back to work, because you want to remeber exactly what you discussed. Because it might not be appropriate, because after all it's work. Talk about business, but not just about that. Talking about other subjects helps to strengthen the relationship with the client's “person”, as well as the commercial relationship itself. Be aware of what you shouldn't talk about. For example, don't talk bad about other companies. Don't belittle anyone to praise yourself or your company.
Review the proposal with the client, help him/her with their doubts, but also be open to discuss other subjects while eating. Always remember some basic things: less is more! You don't need to be an etiquette expert to know that:
you should NEVER speak with your mouth full;
you should CLEAN your lips before drinking;
You should not make the knife or fork the baton of a conductor, if you "talk with your hands" place the cutlery gently on the plate;
You should not answer the phone during lunch: focus on the customer that is with you at the moment.
If you are a man and your client is a woman, be kind; open the door, pull out the chair if necessary. Some women may signal that they don't like these gestures, respect.
These tips may, at first, seem simple, even unnecessary, but it is always good to remember that our manners speak a lot about us, more than our own speech.
Next week we will talk about the famous “Happy Hour” with customers. What we can and what we absolutely cannot do in this accosion!
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