Motivational Speaker Robin Jay Speaks on Relationship Selling at YES! Network Midwest
Sometimes, everything just comes together like a great recipe! “Motivational Speaker Robin Jay Speaks on Relationship Selling at Yes! Network Midwest” came about so quickly, I can hardly believe I’ve already been there and back! Just a few weeks ago, I got a call from Michael Jeffreys, owner of Seminars on Demand and Seminars on DVD. Michael needed a speaker for his YES! Networking Midwest group event Sept. 18th. I just happened to be available, so we quickly booked my flight and room.
My topics were The KEYS to Relationship Selling and The Art of the Business Lunch. I was going to speak for two hours. I appreciated that the attendees would have worked a full day and now, at 6:30PM, were about to sit through a two-hour program. I knew I had to make my programs content-rich and lots of fun for everyone. I dropped everything and started preparing my PPTs.
The outcome was that everyone stayed through the break and loved the programs! I was overwhelmed by their standing ovation and several attendees were happy to give me video testimonials. The program was videotaped with 4 HD cameras (YIKES! HD is brutal! hah!) and I can’t wait to get the video so I can start sharing my secrets for Relationship Selling and the Business Lunch. Stay tuned – I promise to post some video tips for all the salespeople and business owners who want to know how to build better business relationships. Here’s a quick tip: People have CHOICES! If they don’t like you, they can choose to work with someone ELSE! Make sure your time with them is the best part of their day.
I’d love to be YOUR Motivational Speaker and share my tips with your group. Contact me for fee and availability. Thank you ~ and special thanks to the Michael Jeffreys and the YES! Network Midwest!
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Why Did HP Hire Motivational Sales Speaker Robin Jay 4x in One Year?
It makes sense that most speakers love speaking; that’s why they chose to build a career around it. They love the thrill of being the center of attention … with everyone hanging on their every word. Not me. I love speaking because it gives me the opportunity to share my experience with more than one person at a time. I love being able to tell an audience WHY it’s so important that they work on their personality, that they respect and elevate their clients, and to share my secrets and tips for how they can stand out in a very crowded field. I love to help professionals increase their sales and earn more commission! (After all, that is the fuel that drives most salespeople.) And, I especially enjoy it when a client values what I said to their team, sees an increase in sales and in the quality of the relationships that their people are building, and wants me to share with more of their team members.
Eileen Angel, Partner Business Manager for the HP Solution Partner Organization, discovered me after seeing my book, The Art of the Business Lunch: Building Relationships Between 12 and 2. She understands exactly what it is that I do, the importance of my topic and building solid business relationships to increase sales, and how incredibly important it is to motivate a sales team and give them the tools they need to succeed. She brought me in to speak for the first time a little more than a year ago. She hosted a luncheon for her team and a group of partner resellers. The response was positive. She got great feedback. So, the next time she hosted an event for a different group of partners, she invited me to fly to Southern California and do a similar presentation.
A few months later, Eileen brought me in again, only this time, it was for a group that isn’t allowed to take their clients to lunch. NOTE: One of the slides in my presentation on The Art of the Business Lunch is actually a photo of a business executive in jail. I share that many companies – government agencies and public companies – are so concerned that if they allow their buyers to have lunch with their vendors it will create such a prejudicial bias, they fear their buyers will buy “their friends” rather than what is in the best interest of their company. The reason I share this is it proves the importance and value that relationships have when it comes to selling. People prefer to do business with people they LIKE. And, there is no better way to get to know (and like) someone than by sharing a meal with them. My point is that IF you are ALLOWED to take clients to lunch but you don’t, you are missing out on the very best opportunity to build that relationship and that business!!!
For that group, I focused more on other ways their team could make their clients feel special. I feel for the executives in this company because their hands are really tied (so to speak). Schmoozing – lunch, networking events, dinners, even coffee dates – is one of the best ways to take a relationship to the next level.
Most recently, Eileen asked me if I could help her with a team building event. This event was HUGE – in that the guests included her team, one of her distributors, and ALL of her partner resellers – who are essentially competitors with each other. Only Eileen could pull off something so extraordinary – which is just exactly what she did! She was incredible. She not only gave attention to every detail, but she orchestrated an event that was more complex than most weddings! She made it fun for everyone with game shows, team building contests, and tons of prizes so everyone could win something. She really understands the importance of making people feel special. She had complete breakfast – even a barista to make lattes. I called my program “The Summer of Love – 1969″ – to make a point about the importance of getting together, working together, and succeeding together. I even played The Youngbloods’ song “Get Together.” I shared a 1969 HP Computer – which was bigger than a sub-zero fridge – and was dubbed “The Go Anywhere, Do Anything” computer – can you imagine? It was a day I’ll never forget. No matter what the topic or how great the task at hand may be, my clients – like Eileen Angel – have come to know that they can count on me to be their partner for their events. I go beyond speaking to really support my clients’ efforts and goals for their programs. I’d love to speak at your next event and help you in any way possible. Let’s get creative!
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Business Meal Etiquette Still a Sticky Situation for Many
As “The Queen of the Business Lunch”, I am often asked to speak on business meal etiquette. I enjoy being able to help business executives discover the right way to conduct business over the table. It’s as much about not making mistakes as it is about doing things the right way! A bad lunch experience can destroy the opportunity to build a profitable business relationship. The key is to BE PREPARED! You can prepare for everything from casual conversation to choosing the right restaurant for your business meal.
Business Meal Etiquette Tips
Some of the most important tips I can share with you are:
- Whoever does the inviting to a business meal picks up the check, unless your client asks, “When are we going to lunch?” In that case, YOU would pick up the check. That is actually a fabulous scenario because your client is giving you the opportunity to take the relationship to a higher level. And, this is the ULTIMATE purpose behind sharing a meal. Seize it! You can slip your credit card to your server when you are being seated. Your clients will be settling in and won’t even notice. This also indicates to your server that YOU are the host of this business meal.
- Is it ever okay to order alcohol at a business meal or whenever you are out with clients? I am asked this question more than just about any other; it tends to stump even the most seasoned business pros. I always recommend that you follow the leader when it comes to alcohol. That being said, be sure to TAKE IT EASY! You never want to get drunk when out with clients. Make sure you are not drinking on an empty stomach. And, if you’re at dinner and you want to offer wine, I have a simple method for ordering a nice bottle even if you’re not a wine aficianado – but your client is. In fact, my tip was published in Chicken Soup for the Wine Lover’s Soul. Don’t be intimidated! Remember, your servers are there to help you. Look at the wine list, select two options, then point to the wine list and ask your server, “Which of these two would you recommend?” Your server will direct their comments to the table. THAT is when you give your clients the opportunity to weigh in. And, most importantly, YOU will control the cost. If given the opportunity, many clients will order the most expensive bottle, hoping to impress you with their knowledge … or merely to take advantage of your expense account!
- Be prepapared for casual conversation before a business meal. Be up to date on current events, industry trends, new technology (when applicable), community events, and world affairs. NEVER bring up any topic that could be considered “controversial” – ie: politics, religion, sex, drugs, etc. Read magazines, the latest best-seller, see the newest movie at theaters, and on the day of your lunch, try to catch at least 15 – 20 minutes of a national news show.
- Avoid ordering foods that are challenging to eat. This includes most pastas, oversized burgers barbequed ribs, chocolate fondue … you get the picture! If you think you might end up wearing your meal, such as when you are served a sandwich that is too big to eat by hand, simply desconstruct it and eat it with your untensils.
Make Your Business Meals the Most Productive Time of the Day
From choosing the right restaurant in the right price range to deciding whether or not to pick up your client or meet them at the restaurant, there are many opportunities for a business meal to turn into a disaster. Don’t let this happen to you. Be prepared for your business meals by knowing what to do – and what NOT to do – before you go. Once you discover the benefits of sharing a business meal with your clients, you’ll start to see your business grow more than you ever thought possible.
If you have business meal questions, I’m here to help. Email me at Robin at RobinJay.com and I’ll be happy to help you navigate your business meals to success.
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Las Vegas Motivational Sales Speaker Robin Jay Now on eSpeakers
I’ve been a motivational sales speaker in Las Vegas for nearly 10 years. So, when Nancy Lauterbach, owner of Red Propeller Speakers Bureau, suggested I build a profile on eSpeakers, I took her advice to heart immediately! Nancy knows as much about the speaking industry as ANYONE!
The exercise of listing “everything” about my speaking career as a “Business Relationship Expert”, “Sales Speaker,” and “The Queen of the Business Lunch” on the eSpeaker website took me several days (since I was also busy doing my other work.) I needed to post my programs, bio, etc., plus re-edit a demo video so it would be free of contact information … a significant tool for bureaus.
The best part of the task was digging up testimonials for my speaking engagements across the country from meeting planners who had booked me to speak and were impressed with the outcome. Sure, I have a “one sheet” with a few choice raves (Interested? You can see some of these on this site under my speaker page.) But eSpeakers recommended I list about 15, so I ended up going through some letters I’ve received over the past few years. It was a joy to recall the various speaking engagements I’ve had. I remembered the audiences and the wonderful people I’ve met. It’s rewarding to know that as a motivational speaker, I can make a difference in how people view their business relationships. And I’m SURE I changed the way many of them will manage their CLIENT POWER LUNCHES, (plus Etiquette, and Networking, too)!
As a Sales Speaker, I Will Empower Your Teams
If you’ve followed my career at all, you know I’ve been busier making movies lately than speaking. BUT, I am always thrilled whenever I get to speak. I’m excited at the prospect of being available to speak more this year and I’m looking forward to seeing how my profile on eSpeakers will work toward generating new business. I’ll keep you posted. I want to speak to your group and empower your teams; as a sales speaker, I know what it takes; I sold advertising for nearly 20 years and regularly brought in 6-figure contracts!
An Entertaining Sales Speaker Will Make a Difference
The experience I’ve gained as a writer and producer (www.TheKeeperoftheKeys.com) has helped me as a Motivational/ Sales Speaker by giving me even more amazing stories that I can now share from the platform. An entertaining sales speaker will empower an audience by keeping them engaged! Because of this intense experience, I now think more like a business OWNER rather than merely a sales rep – and that makes my sense of what works to make businesses successful even keener than it was before, which was pretty darn keen! I’m happy to credit my ability to build great relationships for my success as a film producer. Not only did I recruit some of the most AMAZING speakers to appear in my film, but throughout the entire process – from production to editing to the premiere to my distribution deal – I have built outstanding business relationships with some remarkable experts and professionals.
I’m looking forward to meeting more people, speaking at more luncheons and events, and sharing my experience to help everyone become a Business Relationship Expert!
Want to know what you should never lick at a CLIENT LUNCH?! I have the answer for you in this video, along with some other quick tips for building better business relationships when hosting your very own “Power Lunches”:
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The KEYS to Financial Freedom
I am very excited to be presenting at this month’s Las Vegas NAWBO luncheon – June 26th – at Lawry’s. I will be doing a brand new program: ‘The Keys to Financial Freedom”. This program incorporates some of the key segments from my new movie, The Keeper of the Keys. Although the movie doesn’t focus on prosperity, per se, it offers a great deal of content to help people become happier with who they are, what they have, and how to enjoy a better life. I want to help NAWBO’s business owners to INCREASE their sales and generate greater prosperity to their businesses.
The definition of “financial freedom” is having enough money to do whatever you want and the free time to enjoy it. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you have five million dollars in the bank if you’re always too busy working to take advantage of it!
Does your JOB feel like a VACATION?
In The Keeper of the Keys, Jack Canfield shares, “When your VOCATION feels like a VACATION, you have arrived.” My friends might tell you I work A LOT! But, the truth is, I really ENJOY my work. I know exactly what Jack meant!
One of the most important segments from the movie is something I’m very excited to share with NAWBO members. That is the Key of Appreciation. This is also called The Law of Attraction. If you are frustrated with where your life is going, you can change direction by simply invoking the Law of Appreciation. Start by writing down everything for which you are grateful. Even the fact that you woke up this morning is something that should fill you with gratitude. If you have a job, friends, a home, your health – think of everything, big or small, for which you are grateful. The more you focus on what you DO have, the more you will receive. Like attracts like. The Universe will sense this higher vibration and will send more to you – more for which you can be grateful. It’s THAT easy! You have to FEEL the gratitude.
In my movie, Marci Shimoff shares an exercise for raising your love vibration. Put your hand over your heart and imagine that you are breathing in LOVE. Breathe normally a few times – in and out. Do this a few times each day and you will raise your vibration. When you are in this state, give thanks for all you have. Before long, you will have more than you ever dreamed of. Try it; You have NOTHING to lose!
Check out Derek Mills and Jack Canfield on the Law of Appreciation in this brief clip from the movie. And, if you haven’t seen it yet, just visit www.TheKeeperoftheKeys.com now to order your DVD! This movie can change your life!
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Ever wonder what it would be like to have lunch with Jack Canfield and “The Queen of the Business Lunch”? Well, this is your chance! Join me – the undeniable “Queen of the Business Lunch” – and Jack Canfield, co-creator of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” and “The Success Principles” for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity this Thursday, Dec. 8th, at 11:30 AM, at The PALM Restaurant inside the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. Talk about a real “POWER LUNCH!” This event is going to be something you will remember 4EVER!!!
I will be joined by Jack Canfield, Marci Shimoff, and the expert cast from my new movie, “The KEEPER of the KEYS” for an intimate, VIP luncheon at the Palm. You’ll have the chance to get to know Jack & Marci better, mingle with the experts and other like-minded people, and enjoy a fabulous lunch. Imagine the buzz you’ll start when you post a picture of yourself with these icons of personal development on your Facebook page or Website!
Jack and Marci have offered to say a few words after lunch; they’re sure to share some memorable moments from their incredible lives! Later on, get set to see the world premiere of “The KEEPER of the KEYS”! The premiere event begins with a red carpet ceremony outside the classic showroom at the all new Plaza Hotel Casino at 7PM. Be one of the first people to see the movie that Spiritual Cinema Circle cofounder, producer, and director Stephen Simon called “…a gift to the world … the new gold standard in its genre.”
Visit the “Key Movie” website to view the trailer and discover the cast of experts and the stories behind the movie. Then, just click on the header on the KEY MOVIE site or click here now to go to the Event Bee site to get your tickets. It’s all for a worth cause; a portion of the proceeds will go to Volunteers in Medicine, Southern Nevada.
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I just had to share. I spoke recently for HP in Southern California, to a wonderful group of their printer resellers and partners. One of the guests was really inspired. Really. Working with Cristine McMillan at NetQuest and Eileen Angel with HP was a great experience. They encourage a fun, creative environment. And, they do a LOT to build solid relationships with their HP partners. Their guests enjoyed a fabulous lunch at Fleming’s during my presentation.
I was so grateful when they forwarded these photos of Carol McAloney, an HP IPG Champion, who took my message to heart this Halloween. I guess there is NEVER a bad time for a great business lunch! I was only upset that as the QUEEN of the Business Lunch, I didn’t think of this first! Great job, Carol – I will remember this forever.
Check out the photos closely and you’ll see this happy couple is dining on roasted cockroach, finger-ling potatoes, (made with real fingers!), blood red wine, and the table is adorned with black roses. Of course, my book – “The Art of the Business Lunch, Building Relationships Between 12 and 2″ – is handy in case the mr. or ms. need to quick-check their etiquette!
It’s incredible that several people to whom I showed this photograph said, “I think I’ve eaten in that restaurant….the service is SO SLOW!” Hilarious. Here’s a close up of the fabulous business lunch for two.
Special thanks to Carol, Eileen, and Cristine. It’s a pleasure to work with such CREATIVE, imaginative, and fun professionals! Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!
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As I wrote in my last post, I spoke recently for HP in Southern California. I was brought in to speak because my clients appreciate the importance of doing a business lunch the right way. Whether you’ve been on more than 3,000 client lunches (like I have) or you’re just starting out, it is important that you feel comfortable and confident. This can come from knowing what to avoid or how to handle certain situations.
During the meal, I asked the printer resellers and distributors to try to “Stump the Speaker / Shock the Speaker.” I wanted to offer my BEST advice for their WORST situations. I haven’t been stumped yet because most challenges or problems that come up at business lunches are more common than people think, but I definitely heard some great stories and thought-provoking questions.
I asked our guests 1) what was the worst thing that EVER happened to them at a business lunch, 2) how they might have better handled the situation, and 3) to share anything they might have trouble with – in general – along the way.
I found it interesting that most people offered their OWN suggestions as to how they might have better handled a particular situation. I think most of us tend to “hash & rehash” those awful moments in our minds. Seems we’d ALL like “a ticket to ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda.’” My mantra is “be prepared,” but things can happen fast when at a business lunch. If you’re with a big client, you might be nervous. And then, there are just a LOT of things that can go wrong. We’re people – not robots – and we have emotions, as well as million thoughts a day. Hindsight is always 20/20. Good judgment – unfortunately – comes from bad experience.
Here are some of the best stories from last week:
Shannon said that a client dumped coffee in his lap. HOT coffee. YIKES! As to what he would do differently? He would not have ordered coffee for the table! THAT was easy! And, I can add this little tip:
IF YOU KNOW that your client likes something you don’t care for – such as alcohol, dessert, or sushi, bring someone from your office as a “buffer.” That way, your client won’t have to drink alone (and YOU of course will be Designated Driver!), YOU won’t have to try to find cooked entrees at a sushi bar, or you won’t have to see your morning workout get annulled by a giant slice of cake you forced down just because your client wanted dessert! Bringing a coworker (or boss) can be a very wise move, especially when you know your client is going to want something you don’t care for.
One executive ended up in a restaurant that was too noisy. We’ve ALL been to restaurants that are USUALLY just fine for a business lunch, but on the day WE are there, there is a baby shower going on at the next table or some other type of large, noisy party. We can’t prepare for EVERY distraction, but try asking your maitre d’ for a quiet table when you make your reservation. (Of COURSE you are going to make a reservation!)
One of my guests asked, “What if your client wants to pay for lunch?” I went into great detail in my book on how to avoid that situation by slipping your credit card to your server the moment you are seated. Not only does that help to avoid the fight over the check, but it also identifies YOU as the host of that party. This is an especially helpful tip for women when taking men to lunch. In many restaurants, servers still tend to give the check to the man. Ladies – take note! And you definitely want to pay for lunch with a credit card. Paying with cash can create a sort of “Let’s all chip in” or “Can I get the tip” atmosphere.
Alcohol … excessive alcohol, that is, … is the #1 cause of distress at business lunches! People have too much to drink or they are simply drinking a little on an empty stomach. Either way, they get drunk and it’s not long before their behavior gets sloppy. Chris said he brought a sales executive with him to a client lunch. The executive had too much to drink – and Chris ended up having the VP of his company call the client to apologize. I believe there is no quicker way to LOSE YOUR JOB than by getting drunk in front of clients. TAKE IT EASY!
It’s not a sin to eat a little something before you go. And – if you are attending a mixer at 5PM and lunch was at noon, you WILL BE drinking on an empty stomach. Park yourself by the food table when you first arrive. Remedy the situation. THEN, you’ll be free to mix and mingle with a drink in your hand without ending up on the floor! Besides, it’s impossible to eat, drink, AND hand out business cards! I keep a bag of nuts in my car, just in case I get hungry in the middle of the day or for any other time I’m not able to grab a quick bite.
How can you stop someone from drinking too much? This is a bit touchy, but it’s a great chance to collaborate with your server. Excuse yourself to the restroom, find your server, and tell them to CUT OFF the supply of alcohol to your client! Let them be the bad guy. They can also cut someone’s drink enough to render it fairly harmless. If you suspect your client may be on their way to getting drunk, order appetizers and get your server involved. Have them weaken the drinks so you’ll have the chance to get your client to eat. And NEXT TIME, invite that client out to breakfast. It will be a lot easier for them to stop drinking if they never get started.
Lastly, if you slip and fall, injuring only your pride, just stand up, brush yourself off, and carry on! I always ask if ANYONE in the room has NEVER spilled a drink. I’ve yet to see a hand go up. We are human, floors are slippery. Don’t wear shoes you can’t walk in – THAT should help slightly. Then, watch your step. I’m not saying you’ll never fall again, but being prepared WILL help!
I want to send out special thanks to everyone that I got to meet in OC. I’m here for you if any other questions come to mind. And if YOU have a situation for which you would like to have my opinion or my advice, just ask!
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I got to speak to an outstanding group of professionals this week – printer resellers and distributors for HP. Since the program was for several hours and included lunch, I conceived an exercise to keep everyone engaged during the actual meal.
I passed out forms asking what was the WORST thing that had ever happened to them during a business lunch, how they might have been able to handle the situation better, and to add any other challenges they may have at networking or business events.
Since I’ve been speaking on “The Art of the Business Lunch” and building relationships for nearly 10 years now, and have YET to be stumped, I thought this would really be fun. The afternoon flew by, however, and I did not have the opportunity to go over the comments I received. Hence, I wanted to share the responses here … in a blog or two.
Here goes …
One of my favorite stories came from a rep walked into a restaurant with a client. About 15 minutes later, he pointed out a distracting couple that was making out at their table. Turned out to be his client’s husband and his mistress. When asked what he might have done differently, his only comment was that he should have asked this lady out after her divorce. Apparently, she’d “cleaned her husband’s clock” in the divorce. She got such a grand settlement, she quit her job and hasn’t worked since. I GUESS you could call that a happy ending?!
Another executive actually left his wallet at home. As for handling the situation better? He said he should have rescheduled his meeting for another day. I think that would have been a terrific solution – IF he wasn’t able to borrow $100 from a friend or swing by his house before lunch. BTW, I told him a story from my book about a sales rep who consistently “left his wallet at home” as a means of getting his clients to pick up the check. The buyers, who talk amongst each other, got wise and never fell for this again.
One of the professionals said he had a hard time acting interested in other peoples’ stories while at networking events. We’ve ALL been stuck in boring conversations and being prepared for casual conversation can certainly help us to steer a conversation in another direction. That being said, sometimes it is just best to excuse yourself. I’ve recommended to MANY people that they just say, “It’s been great seeing you here, but I need to work the room and mingle. Have a great evening.” Then, walk away and don’t look back!
I will share more stories in my next blog. In the meantime, let me assure you that walking into a room full of strangers is a stressful situation for MOST of us! Being prepared for casual conversation – by reading industry magazines and Web sites, being up to date on current events and pop culture, and knowing a little about a lot – will always help. Like a good scout, BE PREPARED! Asking questions of others – from “What did you do this past weekend?” to “Where is your favorite place to go on vacation?” can break the ice faster and more easily than you could ever imagine.
One final tip for this post: If you know your client likes to drink or eat something you don’t – from alcohol to coffee to raw oysters to dessert – bring a coworker with you. Usually, people just don’t want to indulge ALONE. As long as they have at least ONE “partner in crime,” your business lunch should flow incredibly smoothly.
Thanks again to all the attendees at the HP luncheon in Orange County. Your comments and input should keep me busy for quite a while! Thank you for taking the time to answer “Stump the Speaker; Shock the Speaker”!
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Whenever I speak to a group as “The Queen of the Business Lunch” and share that I have personally hosted more than 3,000 client lunches, I invariably get asked, “Robin Jay, how come you don’t weigh 300 pounds?!” I try to get a laugh with my answer: “Because I order the FISH!” It works; my audience members shake their heads knowing that ordering fish is a healthy choice. But the truth goes much, much deeper than that.
When I was busy racking up those 3,000 meals, I was also racking up time at the gym. In fact, at one point, I actually had three gym memberships AND worked out with a trainer at his facility! Whenever my lunch date would cancel, I would pop into the nearest of those four locations and get in a workout. Plus, I have a full gym at home. As my dad always says, “Calories in minus calories burned equals weight gained or lost.” There is no magic formula. But THAT is boring as hell, right? Want to hear something you probably HAVEN’T heard before?
What if I told you that there is a conspiracy that is working to pack pounds on you, your family, and your friends? In fact, ALL AMERICANS are at risk of becoming obese! And, believing that knowledge is power, I’m here to EMPOWER you.
I was recently enjoying a low-carb meal with my friend Andrew Klebanow. The information he shared with me was so startling, I knew I HAD to share it here with you – my faithful blog readers!
I’ve known Andrew for more than 20 years; as a former client when I sold advertising to the Las Vegas tourism & gaming industry, he accounted for a few of those 3,000 client lunches I hosted. Today, Andrew is a Principal of Gaming Market Advisors and is one of the foremost authorities on the gaming industry. He is a regular speaker at gaming expos and his expertise in the industry is outstanding, as is evidenced by his company’s IMPRESSIVE client list. Andrew’s research on behalf of his gaming clients has led him to some incredible discoveries about our FOOD INDUSTRIES!
Andrew is often called upon to deal with the opposition that arises when casino owners plan future developments. Any public debate on the pros and cons of casino development brings up the topic of problem gambling and its economic and social costs on the host community. (Bear with me – we’re getting to the FAT in just a sec; this is as exciting as a novel – you’ll see!)
These debates are frequently led by those who are morally opposed to casino gambling. It is Andrew’s task to clarify what problem gambling is, explore its prevalence in society, and compare its social and economic costs to other forms of aberrant behavior caused by what many see as more benign industries. Are you STARTING to see the connection? (NOTE: If you’d like an in-depth definition of what defines a “problem gambler,” just let me know and I’ll forward it to you.)
In 1999, the U. S. National Gambling Impact Study Commission (NGISC) reported that the percentage of U.S. adults classified as pathological gamblers is about 1.4%. Even as gaming development has grown considerably, the rate of problem gambling has remained fairly constant. The NGISC also reported that pathological gambling often occurs in conjunction with other behavioral problems, including substance abuse and personality disorders. The gaming industry has and continues to support initiatives that educate and treat problem gambling. (Just walk through any casino and you’ll see information regarding problem gambling posted everywhere!)
Other industries, however, have been far slower to embrace the costs that their products and services impose upon society yet, communities rarely raise a sign of protest against them.
In August of 2010, the U.S. Center for Disease Control issued a report stating that 27% of the U.S. population (72.5 million Americans) are now classified as obese. Unlike problem gambling, where the costs on society are hard to measure, obesity has some very real and significant costs.
On average, an obese person incurs $1,400 more a year in medical costs than a person of normal weight. The U.S. Center for Disease Control report estimates the costs to U.S. society at $147 billion a year. And unlike problem gambling, whose physical effects are for the most part, unknown, obesity is known to lead to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and premature death.
CONSPIRACY? Unless you are aware of what is in EVERYTHING you put in your mouth, you are doomed to a life of obesity, constantly battling your weight. I LOVE eating out – and prefer restaurants that offer fresh fish (and I’m not kidding now!) as well as lean, grilled steaks, big salads, and even cocktails and wine. I have plowed my way through 1.5 pounds of crab legs with a filet on the side in a single sitting! I have a hearty appetite, but I am extremely careful about what I eat and am aware of hidden salt, fat, and sugar – the “trilogy of triple bypass”! These three ingredients are often disguised and hidden in seemingly DELICIOUS, healthy food – from tender chicken to glazed veggies, as well as the more obvious desserts or fried foods.
U.S. agricultural policy subsidizes the production of corn, soybean and other commodities that are the raw ingredients of many foods linked to obesity. Cattle and hogs are fed feed made from corn. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is the primary sweetener in soft drinks. Due to the public’s growing awareness of the dangers of HFCS, the Corn Refiners Association has decided to change the name of HFCS to “Corn Sugar“! Golly Gee – THAT sure sounds like a healthier choice! Along with Corn Sugar, a myriad of other products are produced from raw agricultural ingredients whose production is subsidized by taxpayers.
Agricultural subsidies have the net effect of reducing the costs of food production and allowing food manufacturers, restaurant companies, and fast food chains to increase portion size while reducing food costs. Any attempt to reduce these subsidies to U.S. farmers is summarily blocked by politicians from agriculture states and lobbyists who represent agricultural interests.
Recognizing the obesity epidemic, both the U.S. federal government and state governments have explored a number of initiatives to limit consumption, including
instituting a tax on sugary soft drinks. Rather than address its role in combating the obesity epidemic, the soft drink industry has opposed any such measures at every level of government. The American Beverage Association, an industry lobbying group, characterized the tax as a “money grab” and has advocated that a tax on sugary soft drinks would affect low income consumers the most. So far, their efforts have succeeded in preventing governments from imposing such a tax.
The U.S. restaurant industry has likewise refused to take steps that might limit consumption. It has opposed posting calorie counts on menus or taking any other measure that might inform consumers of the hazards associated with their products.THIS IS WHY IT’S CRITICAL THAT YOU BECOME YOUR OWN HEALTH ADVOCATE! NO ONE, NOT THE GOVERNMENT OR THE GROWERS OR THE FOOD PRODUCT MANUFACTURERS ARE GOING TO HELP YOU! Discover all you can about nutrition and the food you are consuming – PLEASE! I want you to be around for a long time and enjoy a healthy life.
Instead of warning you of any food/health hazards, restaurant companies continue to develop recipes that encourage increased consumption of calories. They employ food chemists, test kitchens and market researchers to develop products that consumers want and crave, regardless what consumption of those products will have on their customers’ health and society as a whole. Restaurant companies and food manufacturers have essentially adopted strategies developed by the tobacco industry, which is to deny their responsibility to the epidemic and oppose policies that would limit or tax consumption.
(It is common knowledge now that for over a half century, U.S. tobacco companies denied that their products were unhealthy – and even funded scientific studies to support their claims. Only in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence have tobacco companies modified those strategies. Nevertheless, tobacco companies continue to lobby against initiatives, such as bans on indoor smoking that would restrict exposure to second-hand smoke. Today roughly 20% of adults smoke and their costs, both social and economic, are a significant burden on society.)
Remember that Andrew, who armed me with all this data about tax breaks and subsidies, was never out to indict the food or tobacco industries … and neither am I. My goal in sharing this information with you is to make you aware that unless you are eating barely processed, fresh ingredients, you are taking a risk with your health.
Andrew’s argument is sealed when he offers the following numbers that put problem gambling in perspective:
- 1.4% (the percent of adults who are problem gamblers),
- 27%(the percent of adults who are obese), and
- 20%(the percent of adults who smoke).
Problem gambling is real and the casino industry acknowledges it, but its impact on society and on the lives of Americans is relatively small when compared to obesity and tobacco use.
As we approach a new year and our traditional New Year’s resolutions, I hope you will resolve to become more educated about what you are eating and make choices that will lead you to a healthier lifestyle, one that includes exercise. Take care of yourself so that you will live a long time and enjoy an outstanding quality of life.
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