How To Use A Game-Winning Strategy On Your Business Lunch
If you were given one hour of uninterrupted time with a client, how would you use it? Despite its casual, social atmosphere, a business lunch takes as much strategy as a formal presentation. How can you end up a winner? Here are three steps to a game-winning strategy for arranging a successful business lunch.
The Kick Off: Prepare a strategy that maximizes undivided, yet limited, time.
The key behind the success of a business lunch is building relationships. Typically, relationships do not thrive in a business setting. Rather they form outside of the office without interference. Having lunches outside of the office limits walk-ins from employees and emails and allows you time to focus on your meeting and what you hope to accomplish.
Do research on the person you are meeting with so that you are well informed before you arrive. During lunch, dedicate a significant amount of time discussing hobbies rather than business. This will help you establish common connections that will sustain a healthy business relationship. Remember, business is about people.
“Choose where you dine carefully,” advised contributor Suzanne Bates in her article, Talking Business Over Lunch. “This sends a loud and clear signal about you. If convenience is important to your guest, choose the nicest business lunch restaurant in your area. If you want to impress, go out of your way to choose an upscale, trendy, or interesting place.” Scout the location out or dine there beforehand, so that you know it will work for your lunch.
Having a solid game plan will keep you focused on the end result so you can keep the conversation pointed in the right direction. By eliminating distractions or obstacles, your focus can remain where it belongs—on your client.
Halftime: Evaluate your progress.
As a team evaluates its performance on the field, you can use this halfway point to determine the effectiveness of your current strategy and the direction.
If you feel you are not communicating your goals in a way that appeals to your client, this is your time to switch plays and try a fresh approach.
If you feel you have achieved your business goals, then guide the remainder of the lunch in a more personal direction. In this way, you can establish some common interests and learn more about your client as a person.
“You have the chance to find common ground and bond,” said contributor Kevin Daum in the article, 5 Reasons to Schedule More Business Lunches. “Create a memory that becomes the basis for your future relationship. Let it be an awesome experience you both recall with fondness.”
Touchdown: Recognize the progress and build on your success.
A successful touchdown isn’t always realized through a booming Hail Mary. More often, a touchdown happens through a series of successful contacts and gradual progress. This is what happens from a well-played business lunch. One meeting may lead to another, and uncovering common interests can open up opportunities for a longstanding business relationship.
By setting up a solid strategy, evaluating the progress of your lunch, and maintaining the momentum of a successful lunch meeting, you will enjoy a game-winning strategy that will score big both on and off the menu.