Lunch is probably the most common meal that Sales Managers spend with clients. I still find it a struggle to persuade clients to get out of the office for an hour at lunch time. The days of long business lunches seem to be long behind us!
My struggle has always been to convince clients to actually try our signature dishes. My hotel has a fabulous Key Lime Pie (served with raspberry coulis and toasted coconut shavings) on the dessert menu, but no amount of persuading will get my clients to have dessert. It seems every meeting planner is on a diet these days!
So now I play dirty! I go to the restaurant beforehand and pre-order the dessert. I usually order a few different desserts for the middle of the table because shockingly, not everyone loves Key Lime Pie! So now when we finish up our lunch the waiter just automatically brings the desserts to the table. Despite the diets, everyone tries the dessert – and I know the wonders of our chef helps win me business so I don’t mind playing dirty!
If I have a client that is on a real time crunch I arrange for the waiter to bring out the desserts in to-go bags for them to enjoy once they get back to the office.
I know of a Sales Manager that actually delivered desserts to her client’s office one afternoon. She had bought a special pen that allowed her to (safely) permanently write a message on the plate. Once her client had finished their dessert they were able to read the message underneath the dessert: “If you are able to read this then you must have enjoyed the dessert! Call me to book your next group so that your attendees can enjoy the dessert too!”
My point here is simple – we all know that a way to win over clients is with food – just make sure you find a way to get them to try your signature dish. Oh and no preparation needed if I am coming as I WILL order dessert!