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Entertaining Clients During the Holidays

October 17, 2011

Entertaining clients is a vital part of relationship building. It is a way to deepen or solidify relationships.

The holidays are a perfect time to show clients how much you value their business. It also gives you the opportunity to touch customers, one more time, who you want to do business with or increase business with before the year-ends.

Follow these simple rules to leave a lasting impression on your customers.

"Adding The Polish That Builds Profits" by Lydia Ramsey

Deciding where to entertain your client(s):

  • Listen to clients for hints on favorite restaurants, sports, foods or interests.
  • Know time constraints of client(s).
  • Choose a convenient location for your client(s).
  • Choose places that are conducive to conversation and have good service and food.
  • Entertaining clients in you home: This is an excellent way to meet your clients’ spouse or significant other and create a more personal and warm setting. Over the years my husband and I have entertained many clients and business associates in our home. It does make a difference.
    • Ask about food preferences or allergies.
    • Let them know the attire for the evening.
    • Share your spouse or significant others name with guest(s) in advance.
    • If you haven’t met the spouse or significant other ask their name in advance of the event.
    • Be sure you send directions and your home number to client(s).
  • Open House
    • Don’t skimp on the quality or quantity of food

Preparation:

Pay attention to detail. You want the occasion to be special and ensure your client(s) receives "5 Star" treatment. Relay details to your client(s): location, directions, phone numbers (your cell and the restaurant).

  • Confirm time and location.
  • Prepare small talk conversation.
  • Brush up on your dining etiquette.
  • Arrive early.
  • Let your server know ahead of time that you want the bill given to you.

The Event:

  • Make sure your guest has the best seat. If there isn't a special view give your guest the seat looking into the restaurant.
  • Share appetizers, specialties, desserts etc. that you recommend. This also signals to your client what price level they can feel comfortable ordering.
  • Don't discuss controversial issues.
  • If business is going to be discussed it usually begins after everyone has ordered.
  • Don't drink heavily.
  • Listen.

After the Event:

Send a handwritten note. This is truly a dying art. Take the time to send a handwritten note to your client if you really want to stand out from your competition and be remembered.

Where you entertain, how you entertain and handle yourself is a direct reflection of your firm and you. Follow these guidelines and you ensure a "5 Star" rating for both you and your company.

Happy Holidays!

Debra

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