Having a business lunch is an excellent way to close a deal, to form a partnership, or simply to show your professionalism to your contact or the other way around.
The environment makes it easier to interact as it is less strenuous for you to build a relationship but many still undermine the potential of having a business lunch.
Here’s some magic tips that you should know of on making the best out of your business lunch:
1) Invitation etiquette
When inviting your contact to a business lunch, show confidence by determining the location of the restaurant to go to.
BUT be respectful at the same time by giving the recommendation to your contact first before deciding, it shows how dedicated and thoughtful you are and it also reflects your business management skills.
2) Venue etiquette
The purpose of the business lunch is in fact, for the both of you to get to know each other better and for that, the ideal location should be somewhere classy, quiet and not too pricey.
It doesn’t have to be a fine dining restaurant, as long as the environment and the ambiance is inviting.
Bear in mind also to book a guaranteed reservation in advance, along with some choices of your own for plan B.
It IS your business meeting after all. Being punctual is a must because trust me, you don’t want your contact to wait for you.
This will also reflect your time management skills in business, something that will leave a good impression for you.
4) Ordering etiquette
Your client would be cautious on what to order if you order first so bear in mind not to be the first person on the table to make the orders.
In fact, it is also part of the fine-dining etiquette for the host to let the guest order first. Note also your client’s particulars so that you won’t offend him by ordering.
For example, if your client is a Muslim or Jew, DON’T order pork or alcohol. If your client is a stout Hindu, DON’T order beef because they worship cows and if your client is a vegetarian, try to put yourself in his or her shoes by being the same because believe me, this will impact them a lot.
5) Phone etiquette
Or silent if you prefer. Your discussion is a business discussion where money is involved and although it may not be that important to you, it is important to your guest.
Treat your guest as if he or she is your date, meaning DON’T leave your client hanging and alone, it will reflect badly on the way you treat customers in your own business.
If your call is urgent, say “Excuse me” and after answering the call, give an explanation as to why it was so urgent.
Although your client won’t ask, deep inside everyone is curious and this helps clear things up.
6) Table etiquette
You are in a classy restaurant, so show how classy you are.
Don’t do what you usually do with your friends in a Chinese restaurant like speaking loudly, laughing loudly and waving your hands like nobody’s business.
Instead, your arms should be below the table, even when you eat.
When the bill comes, it is always the rule of the house for the host to pay so don’t expect your client to chip in unless he insists.
7) Follow up etiquette
Yes, you need to follow up afterwards.
Thank your client for taking some of his time to meet you and tell him you appreciate that.
Summarize also 2 to 3 points of what you discussed to show courtesy of how much you were focusing on the meeting, and tell him that you are looking forward to meeting him again.