For many business owners lunchtime is prime work time. Meeting new prospects, building the all mighty “book of business”, or just re-connecting with a colleague over a meal can be powerful. Here are a few things to remember.
Go to them
Go to where the action is. If your lunch guest has an office downtown then go downtown. If they are in an office park in the burbs then go to the burbs. Make it easy. When setting up a lunch appointment in someone else’s neck of the woods you might want to ask if there is a new place that they haven’t tried yet. You get to share a new experience with them and keep them on even ground. The last thing you want to do is go to lunch and have the server or manager at your table talking about Labradors or weekend soccer games.
Always get the daily special
Always order the daily special. This allows you to not spend precious time thinking about what you’re going to eat. You will come across as confident and look like you can make decisions quickly. You don’t want waste time waffling in front of your guest.
Only eat 1/2 of your meal
With portion sizes out of control it’s difficult sometimes to stay in shape. Eating out can be a disaster to your physique, especially if you are having dinner out again the same day. For many business leaders especially when just in town for a couple of days the meal meetings are non-stop. Breakfast meeting with a lender, lunch meeting with prospect, maybe a dinner meeting with a new broker group, and somewhere in there is the mid-afternoon coffeehouse debrief with you and your laptop.
The calories add up quickly. Eating only half your meal also allows for you to engage better with your guest. Make sure you aren’t talking the whole time and eating a cold lunch at the end of your conversation. Watch your pace. The last thing you want to do is to be sitting there with an empty plate while your guest has barely touched theirs because they’ve been talking about this year’s numbers and next year’s forecast. They will shut down if they think they are talking too much.
(This one is free. STAY AWAY FROM the FRENCH ONION SOUP. There is little worse than stringy melted cheese stretched from your bowl to your mouth.)
Wait for it…
Often times, when meeting with a new prospect or prospective broker the best thing to do is to listen and be attentive. Wait until they are ready to hear what you have to say. Jumping into your pre-cooked pitch is the worst thing you can do when meeting with someone new over a meal. Be patient and learn as much as you can about what they do and who they do it with. Everyone wants to be heard. Don’t be needy. Wait to your turn.
It’s about the connection
For some it’s all about selling and getting the deal. My thought is that connecting on a human level is more important than pushing products and services. It is when people can connect on this human level that real opportunities are born. You want to conduct yourself in a way that will convey to your guest that you are reliable and can be trusted with their business. You want to be sharp with information that is useful and share the side of you that is refined and confident while at the same time remaining humble and authentic. Now that is a heavy order. Power Lenders know how to earn the right to do business with others.
Get out of Dodge
Be sure to leave before all the work is done and all the talk fades. Leave them wanting more. Having another engagement and cutting things short is a good thing. Stick to the allotted amount of time that you and your guest agreed upon. You don’t want them to think you are overly chatty. Don’t overdo it when trying to build the relationship. Slow and steady wins the race.
You definitely, want to make sure, that if you represent Indigo Network that you have a full suite of lending opportunities. You offer: Small business loans, merchant cash advance, factoring, Abl, and SBA. And then get out of there. Don’t overstay your welcome. They will call our office at 859-916-5651 FREE if they when to learn more about how to access some of the best working capital solutions in the country.