In one way or another, we are all in sales. Whether selling a service, a product, a promotion, or just ourselves, we are all on commission. Here are a quick few things to think about before you set that next “Meet and Eat”. Six things to avoid at your next lunch meeting:
1.) Lunch! Set a breakfast meeting instead. Your clients are busy, you are busy. Lunch is tough to set aside and easy to cancel. Everybody eats breakfast! Pick a place that’s on their way to their office, be early!
2.) Awkwardness: You were early to the meeting, right? Get a good spot, order two cups, plenty of creamer/sugar and a carafe of coffee (if you can), and ask the server to bring one check to ONLY you at the end of the meal. Watch for your guest to enter. Enlist the help of the staff when practical to make your meeting as smooth as possible.
3.) Indecision: Know what you want, order quickly, and get to the point! Breakfast meetings should last about 20 minutes total, keep it simple. It is your meeting, take charge of the details early.
4.) Difficult food: Keep the hands free and the bites small. You should be listening more than you’re talking, but don’t use that as an excuse to order the giant breakfast chicken and waffle platter. You want them to remember the meeting, not the food you ordered!
5.) Visual aids: Don’t risk flailing a brochure or chart around, you may wear your coffee. Or worse, your guest may wear your coffee! Save the printed powerpoint for their office, keep your cool and your clean clothes.
6.) Credit Cards: Yup, I said it. Keep everything simple: Pay cash, tip well, and excuse yourself as soon as you’re both finished. Give them time to themselves to think about your proposal. Don’t risk embarrassment on a card limit or balance issue, unless you are trying to impress with your Amex Black Card. Eliminating this step speeds the whole thing up by a few minutes, no matter how responsive the server is.
Follow up in a timely manner, and thank them for their time. Busy people like to know you appreciate their investment in your day. Give them an idea of when you might want to meet again and they will be happy to join you!