Is breakfast the new lunch? ABSOLUTELY!
As “The Queen of the Business Lunch,” I ought to know; I personally hosted more than 3,000 client lunches while I was an advertising account executive and saw my sales increase by more than 2,000%. As many of you know, my tips and techniques for building business over meals was chronicled in my award-winning book, “The Art of the Business Lunch: Building Relationships Between 12 and 2″ which is currently in twelve languages. There is nothing as effective as breaking bread for getting to know a client, to learn more about their business, understand their needs, and find better ways to help them achieve their goals. Something magical happens when you are in a social setting, sharing food. But budgets have been busted, expense accounts annihilated, and time to savor sandwiches and conversation is at a premium!
I am recommending breakfast meetings as an effective way to break bread in this “new economy”!
There have been so many changes in business over the past few years that even though a business lunch would still be ideal, many professionals just don’t have the time for it anymore. Working mothers can’t spare an hour and a half out of their day since they have to pick up their kids at five o’clock. And executives with billable hours – like attorneys – have always had a hard time getting away for any length of time during the work day.
Meeting someone for coffee or breakfast at eight o’clock in the morning is a wonderful way to accomplish your relationship-building goals while saving time and money. It’s not apparent that you may be suggesting breakfast as a way of saving on your expense account. Instead, it will simply seem like a more efficient way to get together.
The pace of business has picked up incredibly over the past few years. Today people just don’t have time for long, languishing lunches. The 3-martini business lunch of the late ’60′s and early ’70′s – where lunch rolled right on into happy hour – is long gone. But most of us used to be able to get away long enough for a decent lunch.
In today’s business environment, however, people just have too much work to do. If the professionals with whom you do business still have time for lunch, I urge you to seize those precious hours in the middle of the day to take those clients out. The mid-day hours can become the most productive time of your day. But for those who either don’t have time themselves or whose clients don’t have any time to spare, breakfast done right can help you to achieve your traditional business lunch goals.
Traditional lunchtime goals are primarily about building relationships – and trust me….something absolutely magical happens over a meal. People let their guard down and they open up. You’ll discover information about their business that you would never learn in an office setting. And the more you know, the better you will be able to help your clients achieve their goals…and that is really what it’s all about. People prefer to do business with people they like, and there is no better way to get to know someone than by sharing a meal with them. And if you don’t have time or the budget for a high-end lunch, then breakfast is the next best way to build relationships.
I recommend meeting at a Starbucks or neighborhood coffee shop for morning meetings. Meeting over lattes and muffins doesn’t just help you to save a bundle on meals, but it also assures that you’ll get that quality “face time” that is essential to business success. It’s a lot like working out. A lot can happen during your day to sabotage a planned after-work visit to the gym. Your friends might want to meet for happy hour or you might end up having to work late. Anyone who works out regularly will tell you that getting their workout done and out of the way first thing in the morning is the best way to succeed.
Scheduling breakfast meetings can have the same advantage; by getting together with clients before their regular day begins, you have little chance of things coming up that might interfere or cause them to reschedule. Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you can drop the ball on connecting with clients. Networking breakfasts are also an outstanding way to get in front of many people at once. Mornings have never been better for building profitable, productive business relationships.”
What do you think? Have you tried substituting breakfast meetings for long lunch meetings? Are you saving a bundle? And have you been able to accomplish the same goals?
I had a business lunch this past week with my friend, Phil Robertson (Phil@PJRobertson.com), who is an incredible marketing consultant. I always learn SO MUCH at a business lunch – especially when I’m talking to an expert in their field!
Phil and I were talking about a recent casino promotion. As a marketing expert, Phil could easily see why this particular promotion was a failure. As a former advertising sales executive I, too, could see the obvious flaw. Had I sold this casino their advertising to promote this event, I would have been mortified – as I’m sure the “Monday Morning Reconciliation” would have indicted the promotion was a failure. So, what caused the failure of what SHOULD HAVE BEEN an incredible promotion? My guess is it all came down to one employee with bad judgment.
Phil joined a slot club at a casino near his home. If you’ve ever joined a slot club, you know that the casinos in Nevada offer gifts as incentives to get you into their casino in the hopes that you will play. If a gift costs them a dollar or two – or even twenty dollars, and the average player drops $10, $20, or $200 on their way to pick up their “Free” gift, then guess who the REAL winner is! The casino – of COURSE!
It wasn’t long before Phil discovered that this particular casino’s slot club offered some incredible, upscale gifts to their members. And, while those of us who live in Las Vegas are less enamored with casino-logo’d casual wear, t-shirts, six-pack coolers and such, our friends and family from across the country are MUCH LESS jaded about such items. As it turns out, my friends and family, as well as Phil’s, absolutely ADORE watches that say “Boyd Gaming,” T-shirts from Stations Casinos, golf shirts from local courses, and baseball caps that feature casino logos.
Phil got a notice this past week that this slot club was giving away CROCK POTS on Friday night at 6PM. Smart – as they were looking to create some traffic and excitement in their casino on a Friday evening. He didn’t have a crock pot so he thought it would be worth it to swing by on Friday night to pick up his free gift.
Since Phil knows a lot about marketing, it was easy for him to see the situation (and what was wrong with it!) clearly. Rather than have the customers walk through the casino to claim their gifts – and hopefully gamble a bit while they were there – the casino had the big boxes of crock pots set up in a room right at the Valet entrance.
Phil said people were coming in, getting their crock pots, and promptly leaving – with their gifts. The valet is not even on the same floor as the casino! NO ONE WAS STOPPING TO GAMBLE! Why would they – when it would take extra effort to even visit the casino? Apparently, the casino employees in charge of this promotion were offering to hold your crock pot while you went to the casino; they could give you a claim check to assure you your crock pot would still be there when you were ready to leave…but none of the “players” were interested. This casino made it SO EASY for the players to pick up their gift and be home in time to watch Jeopardy!
They should have had the crock pot giveaway on the casino floor. People would then be more likely to gamble, thereby making the casino’s cost for the crock pots justified. The gambling wins would outweigh the expense of the promotion. So – where did this promotion break down?
My guess is that ONE executive at the resort probably balked at the thought of schlepping all those heavy crock pots down to the casino, and thought how easy it would be to hand them out from the valet location. The whole purpose of the giveaway was to drive traffic to the casino – and it failed miserably!
Look at your business closely and make sure that whatever you decide to do to promote it will be executed perfectly. Don’t waste your precious resources by allowing one bad decision to ruin your well-laid plans. Where was the management? Where was the marketing genius who thought up this promotion? Poor executive – he or she will have to defend the expense and might never know WHY the promotion failed to generate casino revenue.
Need to know “What Matters Now”? Just click on the title and enjoy!
Whether you work as an entrepreneur, small business owner, or for corporate America, you will gain great benefit from this gem. Oh – and as a bonus – you’ll have LOTS to discuss over a business lunch after reading this incredible, insightful book.
What do you get the person who has everything? My recommendation is to take them to lunch or dinner. The best part of that, (though it is a wee bit selfish), is that you get to enjoy your friends or clients and a great meal, all in the name of Season’s Greetings! Seriously, it’s one of my favorite things to do, and the holiday season provides the perfect excuse to get together with clients who are otherwise too busy to break free.
Everyone has their guard down this time of year, which could make this the perfect time to get someone out who typically is “too busy” to go to lunch. Imagine how far a little twist of the arm could go!
Don’t make it about business, either. Simply seize this opportunity to treat your clients well, make it about them, and possibly, if the mood is right, discover ways you can help them with their business this year.
And if you’re in a warm climate, make it a round of golf and lunch. Talk about building relationships! Nothing is better than this One-Two punch!
The best part of a client lunch is that it hardly seems like work, yet it can easily become the MOST PRODUCTIVE PART OF YOUR DAY!
Think your behavior at a business lunch doesn’t matter? I just read a blog from Joel Comm about a consultant who just lost a $25,000 consulting gig because even though the consultant did the inviting, he failed to pick up the check. Hmmm, how can I say this even more plainly than I have in the past?
WHOEVER DOES THE INVITING PICKS UP THE CHECK!
Seriously – it’s THAT simple; no exceptions! What I loved most about Joel’s blog was the fact that the consultant actually had a shot at getting Joel’s business – and he blew it because of his lunch behavior! AND I especially loved that this post received more than 65 PASSIONATE responses – mostly from those who understand the IMPORTANCE of a business lunch done right! KUDOS to all!
And here’s a second tip: Two for the price of one….
NEVER EVER pay for a business lunch with CASH!
“Why?” you ask? Let me ask you this – when you are out with a friend and they grab the check and say, “I’ve got it,” don’t you ALWAYS offer to at least “get the tip”? That will also be your client’s reaction. A credit card is not just authoritative, but you will be able to hand it to your server as soon as you are seated (or WHILE you are being seated) to avoid that awkward moment or fight when the check finally comes. It will have already be handled, tip and all, if you planned ahead.
If you’re wondering how you’re going to reach your 2010 goals, I recommend working on your relationship-building skills. My original “Claim to Fame” was that I had personally hosted more than 3,000 client lunches and I saw my sales increase by more than 2,000%! That’s really a conservative estimate.
It’s critically important that you first understand the IMPORTANCE of building relationships for business, then you need to understand the best ways to DO this. I want to help you reach your goals, so I will be sharing tips and techniques in this blog to help you understand the “why” and accomplish the “how.”
Famous Amos, the cookie man, said, “Picture everyone with M.M.F.S. on their forehead…. it stands for: Make Me Feel Special.” Think about how different your day would be if you did that with everyone you meet today – making the most of your quality Face 2 Face time. You would start to feel a positive energy coming back to you. People would start to go out of their way to help you achieve your goals simply because they love how they feel when they are with you. Making others feel SPECIAL is the most important key to building solid, productive relationships.
Try it for just today – make everyone you talk to – in person, e-mail, or on the phone, feel as if they are the most important person in the world….because they really are.