Build relationship with clients at lunch

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 31, 2006

You finally get through on the phone to the elusive client you&8217;ve tried to make contact with for weeks.

They agree to give you a few minutes of their valuable time.

Then you blurt out, &8220;Do you want to have lunch?&8221; Why?

Sharing a meal, breaking bread or enjoying one&8217;s favorite beverage together is a time honored tradition of friendship and good will that dates all the way back to dropping by the other man&8217;s cave for a crock of grog.

Today&8217;s cave is the customer&8217;s office, and getting them out of their office provides the best chance for a successful sales relationship.

Notice I said sales &8220;relationship.&8221;

&8220;Selling&8221; is dead. Nobody wants to be &8220;sold.&8221;

You remember the process:

Meet in the customer&8217;s office; hit them with a barrage of open and closed probes; uncover needs and match them with our features and benefits; handle their objections and test to close.

Do you really think the customer can&8217;t see right through that? Do you want to be &8220;sold&8221; that way? Of course not.

Today, we identify customer needs and problems and match them to solutions we offer.

Getting customers out of their offices provides the opportunity to learn of their real needs and problems and determine whether

we have a viable solution to offer.

Why is customer entertainment important?

It does three things for sales reps that are otherwise difficult to obtain.

One, entertainment gives us access to the customer.

They may not give you the time of day in their busy office world, but they have to eat.

Two, it gives you time with the customer.

Three, you get the opportunity to begin building a relationship with the customer.

Now you&8217;re positioned to talk to them in earnest about their needs and issues, and how your solution might work for them.

Have a nice lunch, and enjoy getting to know your customer.

Next week: Some specific tips on entertainment.

Moser Group is a Birmingham-based training, coaching and consulting company