Choosing the location of an important meeting is crucial in business.
The right venue ensures all parties are comfortable and the meeting achieves its objectives. The wrong venue can lead to stress, discomfort, hunger and poor decision-making.
Imagine a client is selling you something, but you can't hear a thing they're saying. There's noise, it's crowded, and the menu is terrible, leaving you hungry and irritable. You simply want to leave and go somewhere quiet to get your favorite pasta.
Is that person going to leave with a deal? Probably not.
Here's how to choose the right restaurant for your business meeting.
1. Closing the Deal
When you want to close a sale, seek out a restaurant that's impressive with a quiet ambience. The biggest mistake you can make is choosing a loud restaurant with tables that are too close together.
Ideally, you will create an intimiate setting where you and your prospect can be completely honest with one another when negotiating terms. When it's loud, you will likely not be able to hear and fully listen to what your prospect is saying. If the tables are too close together, your prospect may fear others are listening, which doesn't facilitate an honest conversation.
In addition, you will want a restaurant with fine dining, great service and an extended meal so you have plenty of time to get the deal done. Shoose one with three courses and a sommelier if you have the budget.
The first course is for rapport building; the second, to close the deal and ask directly for the business. Save the last course for working out the finer points. If the business isn't happending, use the last course to determine why.
Networking is great for referrals, and it's a perfect lunchtime activity. Given that you don't know your colleague's financial situation, it's recommended that you suggest a few places that have reasonable price points, and let them choose, in case they aren't comfortable with a pricier meal. Make sure that your dining partner doesn't have to travel a significant distance to attend.
Your new colleague may also have dietary restrictions you're unaware of, especially since you've just recently met. Letting them choose puts the ball in their court.
Always have a goal to determine what your colleague is looking for in a networking partner, and don't forget to follow up.
3. Team Building
For a strong team, small business owners should take their team out for happy hour or a meal at least once a month. It opens up the team for rapport building, getting to know each other better, and of course, everyone loves free drinks and food. Due to budget constraints, this may not be the easiest task, but it should be done.
The best environments are ones that induce socialization amongst the staff, which might include activities; for example, a local restaurant/bar possibly within walking distance that has trivia games, happy hour pricing and high energy allows your employees to de-stress.
You may want to take a look at Yelp or spend a little time researching elsewhere online to find something new. Whether its karaoke, bowling or a theme bar, you might want to move outside your management comfort zone and add something new that allows your employees to engage.
Meeting with a subordinate for a meal can be either a lot of fun or a dreaded moment for feedback and boring chitchat. This is an opportunity to get to know your employee better, so ask him or her to choose the restaurant, as long as it's within budget and a reasonable distance.
If they choose something outrageous, give the employee several options that are feasible, and let him or her know why you are giving them those choices. Always, of course, have a goal during your one-on-one.
Related Reading: Essential Practices for Successful Business Dining
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