When it comes to scheduling meetings you typically have plenty of options. Phone, Skype, their office, the coffee shop, the list goes on. When you finally get in touch with that potential client it’s up to you to win them over in that first meeting. If possible you need to get them in a face to face meeting. What’s one of the most effective ones? Lunch meetings.
Here’s why you need to schedule more lunch meetings.
You’ll Meet in Neutral Territory
Your office is your territory and same goes for your client. Think about the last time you met someone at their office. Wasn’t it a little intimidating sitting on the other side of their desk facing them? If your client meets at your office you don’t want them feeling intimidated either. Winning over clients is all about managing egos and making them feel comfortable doing business with you.
When meeting at a restaurant you are meeting in neutral territory. No power struggles and no intimidation.
You Control The Setting
When scheduling a lunch meeting you can also control the environment in your favor. Scope out the restaurant before making the meeting. Reserve a table that has one chair facing the door and the other against the wall. Make sure you arrive early and always sit at the table with your back to the wall. These may seem like insignificant details but they are instrumental in helping you control environment.
In addition the office is full of distractions. Phone calls, email pings, and other coworkers serve as big distractions throughout the day. When meeting with the client you want them to keep their focus on you for the entire duration of that meeting.
During a lunch meeting sure there are other people talking around you but they aren’t likely to grab the client’s attention. An email from a boss or coworker will certain take their attention off of you.
There’s More Flexibility With Time
Unlike other meetings, lunch meetings typically don’t have a hard-stop. Try to pick a full-service restaurant to give you enough time to really connect with the person. Typical lunches take about an hour and a half from start to finish. Odds are you’ll finish talking business before the meal is finished. Make sure you use that extra time to connect on a personal level.
At the end of the day people want to do business with individuals they like and trust. The more you can create legitimate relationships outside of work the more successful you’ll be in the long run.
Pro Tip: Always Pick Up The Check
This one may seem like a no brainer but the truth is many people insist on splitting the check these days. If I can give any piece of advice it’s that you should always pick up the check.
In order to keep things smooth you should always slip the waiter your credit card well before the meal is over. That way your client is pleasantly surprised at the end of the meal. Now your client will naturally feel obligated to you for the meal. This puts you in a stellar position to pursue next steps.
If you’re an average business person meetings consume the majority of your day. If you want to change up the scene and keep clients engaged you should always choose lunch meetings. You won’t be disappointed.