If you run your own business or you're responsible for finding new clients for your employer, you might normally meet people at the office, or perhaps over drinks. This can work fine, but it isn't necessarily the best way to do business.
For your next meeting with potential or existing clients, why not organise a dinner party at a local restaurant? It can really transform the way you communicate with business contacts, and the results you get. If you're not convinced, here are the reasons why.
Make your contacts feel special
Whether you're trying to land new clients or keep your current ones happy, a restaurant really is one of the best ways to do so.
Everyone likes being taken out for dinner, and it conveys the message that you're serious about their business. It's a huge help when it comes to standing out from the competition, and the people you're entertaining are certain to remember your hospitality.
Restaurant seating is typically arranged in such a way that it's easy for everyone to talk. The usefulness of this is obvious when there are serious matters to discuss, or you just want to make sure everyone is included.
Seating layouts aside, there's just something about restaurants that makes people talk more freely. It's a more comfortable atmosphere than a meeting room, but without the noise and bustle or bars or coffee shops.
Include larger numbers of people
Some meetings are one-on-one, but in many cases, there will be a larger group of people to fit in. This could be multiple members of a client company, several people from your own business, or a mix of both.
A restaurant can make sure there's ample seating for everyone who needs to be present at your dinner meeting – but make sure you book well in advance if you want to be certain. If the numbers are particularly large, the restaurant might need to rearrange tables to seat you all together.
Extend your meetings
In office-based meetings, or even those in public places like bars and cafes, it's very easy for your potential clients to make a quick decision and leave whenever they want to. With dinner, however, there's more of an intrinsic time investment.
First off, this helps to reassure you that people who accept the invitation are serious about hearing what you have to offer. Secondly, it gives you the time you need to have a full, detailed and frank conversation about all things business without anyone feeling the need to rush through what they have to say. That alone is worth the price of dinner.