Entertaining clients is a hugely important part of building strong rapport and demonstrating your commitment to a successful relationship. It can also be a valuable opportunity to personally connect with your clients away from stuffy boardrooms and over the lunch table instead.
Leave your clients with a lasting impression (a good one) by following a few simple do’s and don’ts:
DO: Offer your client the seat with the ocean view to wow them in more ways than one.
DON’T: Race your client for the best seat and leave them with a view of the men’s lavatory.
DO: Discreetly take care of the bill. You may wish to leave your credit card with the maître dee upon arrival and let them know you will be footing the bill. This makes the client feel valued and that you have hosted them for a wonderful lunch.
DON’T: Allow the little black folder to reach the table and make an ostentatious example of taking responsibility for the bill. You may have the awkward situation where both parties are reaching for their wallets and negotiating who will pay
DO: Begin introductions by using the full name of each guest starting with the most senior by position, or the person you know. The most fluid way to achieve this is often in a left to right motion, rather than picking people off by title. The host should introduce clients first, if known, then introduce their team, starting with the most senior and using their title.
Here’s an example:
“Allow me to perform the introductions; Kenneth Client, CEO, Rebecca Client, PR, Sarah Client, Finance. Allow me to introduce our team, Head of Production, Cecilia Pepperpott and Robert Snodgrass, Publicity.”
DON’T: Wait for your clients to introduce themselves. If you have invited your client to lunch, take the lead on making them feel comfortable including connecting them to the relevant people at the table.
There are many ways you can be caught making social faux pas but we are confident you can put your best foot forward in impressing your clients.
Want to learn more about business and dining etiquette? Learn more about our courses here.