We sit down with Samantha Gwee, a Singaporean Business Development Professional as she shares her advice on laying the groundwork for a fruitful and enjoyable business meal. A nice meal, after all, should be thoroughly relished!
“For me, the lunch meeting is an essential opportunity to connect with a client on both a business and personal level; the combination of which can produce a strong, lasting and powerful relationship”
Select an appropriate venue and plan ahead. Depending on the nature of the client’s business and meeting agenda, you may wish to select a place with a style and setting that makes everyone comfortable. Minimise hiccups by understanding dietary preferences beforehand and plan for transport if necessary.
Don’t be afraid to mix business and personal topics. You don’t want to appear a hard sell! Let conversation flow organically, ask questions about your client’s business, their company and even their personal interests . Show that you genuinely care to understand more about them. When asked, share generously and naturally about yourself and your business. Warmth and substance are the recipes to build trust. Remember, these relationships could last even longer than your current role so invest the time in really getting to know your client.
Go with the flow! If you’ve arranged for the lunch, offer to pay the bill. If your client however insists on splitting the bill, share it if that’s what they really want. If set menus are being ordered, it’s best to go with one too. Same with alcohol, and desserts. Always ask if there’s anything else they’d like to order before closing the bill. This may be simple etiquette but damaging if you forget!
Lastly, try your best to leave the nitty gritties and stresses of lunch planning to others, so that you can focus your energy on good conversation and creating great memories.