However, hosting business clients is not like hanging out with your buddies at the local tavern.
To entertain clients successfully will require planning and extra effort on your part.
What Does Your Client Enjoy Doing?
What does your client like to do? Do they enjoy playing golf? Golf is always a popular choice. It offers an opportunity to spend an extended amount of time in a recreational setting relatively free from distraction. This allows plenty of time for you and your client to get to know each other and chat about business matters.
Everyone enjoys eating out at fine restaurants. There’s something about good food and a glass of wine that reduces anxiety and makes people feel at ease. Eating out can be rather routine, so find an exclusive restaurant with a fine chef and entertainment. Make it a unique experience for your client.
Cultural events such as plays, concerts, and sports events are a nice touch as well.
However, there is little opportunity to talk business during these types of outings, so consider events such as these as simply an opportunity for you and your client to get to know each better.
Entertaining Clients Takes Work
Unless you are just a naturally outgoing and talkative individual, making interesting conversation with a relative stranger for an extended period of time can be difficult for many people. Here are some tips to consider:
o Make some notes on conversation points. If you’ve done your homework, then you’ll know what your client likes and dislikes are. Perhaps you have something in common… an interest in classic cars, for instance.
o A great icebreaker is to study up on a couple of “nice” jokes, and practice your delivery.
o Minimize distractions. Shut off your cell phone. Send the kids to grandma’s house, and be sure your car has plenty of gas. Make sure your full attention is on creating an entertaining evening for your client.
o Though you’ll be in a more relaxed setting, maintain a sense of decorum. You are a reflection of your company.
o Determine your goals and what you hope to achieve, and build your evening around that.
Laughter and fun help to tears down walls, reduces tension, and paves the way to entertaining and productive conversation.
Plan and execute an evening that will be remembered by your client in a positive manner for years to come.