The business lunch is a fast-track way to strike up a rapport with another person as it stimulates friendships as well as business dealings. If you want to land a deal with another company, the business lunch is a great way of sugar-coating your proposal, especially if you do it well.†
Be aware that although this is a fantastic method, itís a double-edged sword, and if you make a wrong step, you can find yourself irreparably damaging your chances of convincing your guest to do business with you. So itís best to follow the guidelines for wining and dining your prospective business associate and behave like an expert.†
Establish yourself as the host and state the reason for the meeting. The battle over the bill can put a sour edge on your conversation, even if it was going well, so make it clear that you wish to pay for them.†
Leave them room to decline your offer graciously if they like, and indicate that you are also happy to receive them in your office if a business lunch is not ideal.
Because everyone has their food niggles, you should play this safely. Any exotic food should be put aside for more conventional meals and always make sure that they have solid vegetarian options Ė you donít want to take them to a sushi bar if they are allergic to fish.†
Stay with what you know and choose a place which does consistently good food. Your choice of restaurant is an opportunity to impress them, so wow your guest with delicious grub and fantastic service. However, donít go overboard and pick a place they canít turn up to in casual clothes to avoid embarrassment.
Choosing moderately priced restaurants is key to keeping down the cost to the business; contact accountants like www.brookson.co.uk to work out how much money your company can spend on business lunches and other expenses.†
Make sure you booked a table Ė thereís nothing worse than waiting for tables with a grumbling stomach and a tight schedule. Also, arrive ten minutes early so you are there before them. Go to the bathroom and wait at the table until your guest arrives.
Turn It Off
Switch your mobile phone off. A constantly buzzing phone breaks down conversation and serves as a regular annoyance. Your guest wants to feel as if they have your undivided attention.
If they need to take a call, give them some privacy by going to the bathroom or pretending to look through your documents. When theyíre done, remain perfectly cordial and continue with the conversation.
Thereís nothing like alcohol to turn a civil meeting into a complete disaster. Match your guest: if they buy an alcoholic drink, choose something low-impact like a beer, if they choose something non-alcoholic then do the same. The important thing is to not get sloshed and start acting unprofessionally.†
Approach With Caution
Donít just launch into business; take the time to have a casual, polite conversation on non-confrontational topics. This will give you an opportunity to get to know your guest better and even compare similar interests. Once they like you, your guest will become more pliable and you can cater your approach to their personality.†
This post has been written by Brit blogger Zoe, who is writing on behalf of Brookson.