Taking a potential client out for a dinner is a great way to conduct business. However negotiating over dinner can be a stressful ordeal, but it doesn’t have to be!
It is common for people to entertain clients in business and here are some helpful hints to exude confidence and continue the success of your brand and image!
1. Always dress to impress: At a dinner meeting ‘you’ are the reputation and image of your company and brand. Remember what your parents taught you…”First impressions are everything!”
2. Be Prepared: Pick a restaurant that has a good name and is popular for fine dining. Call ahead to the restaurant and make your reservations. Always check the reservation time and restaurant with your client, they may have food allergies and just because you love sushi… doesn’t mean they do!
3. Be on time and stay on target: Once at the restaurant don’t dawdle with the menu or the wine list. Remember there is business to be discussed!
4. Use your manors and read your client: If they are formal, be respectful. If they are relaxed and low key don’t be aggressive!
5. Bill etiquette: (It isn’t a date – who pays for what?) A general rule in the dating world if you invite, you pay… and vice versa. We feel it goes the same for a business dinner. If you have asked the client out you pay. If the client or prospect has asked you out for dinner they should pay – however, we all know to never assume….. so always be prepared!
6. Follow up: The next day send them an email or call and thank them for their time and provide a recap of what was discussed as well as the action items for next steps. Remember there was a reason for the dinner, be sure you reach your end goal!
Everyone is nervous when first meeting with clients so it is important for you to be cool and calm throughout the evening. Take charge and just enjoy!