Leverage Your Business Lunches to Maximize Your Sales Results

February 27, 2009 by  Filed under: Sales 

Do you need to meet potential customers (a.k.a. prospects), potential qualified clients, colleagues, current customers, vendors, or strategic partners for lunch?  Is your goal to get in and out?  As a sales professional, do you arrive a little earlier or a little late to avoid the noon hour rush? Have you ever considered that this might be negatively affecting your sales results?

In scheduling a lunch meeting with a colleague and a strategic partner, I asked if he wanted to “meet early to avoid the rush?”  “No,” he quickly replied,” I definitely want to be there during the rush.”

This gentleman is a Vice President and branch manager for one of the regional banks.  He understands that lunch provides the opportunity to meet and greet existing customers as well as to continue to build relationships with potential qualified customers.

Yet, how many busy sales professionals ever think that lunch is an opportunity to be seen? Instead they are so focused on the person in front of them that they fail to recognize how many other people may see them.

Effective business networking is not just for those after hour events.  Lunchtime is a great way to maximize current selling and marketing activities in that ongoing goal to increase sales.  Depending upon your own local visibility and the recognition of the other person seating across from you, you may impress that other person because of all of all those people who stopped by just to say hello.  Additionally, that other person may also run into her or his clients and provide you an introduction.

Of course, you will need to demonstrate exceptional attention and listening skills as the noise levels may be high. Having extra business cards near at hand probably is also a good idea. Finally, taking the time to look around the room before you sit down and when you leave is another great strategy.  You may see a client or even better yet a potential qualified customer who is in your marketing tunnel. (Yes I said tunnel and not funnel.)

Sales Coaching Tip:  Sales professionals need to maximize every opportunity as a business networking event while still being authentic and true to their own core values. Meeting for lunch at noontime may be somewhat inconvenient, but can potentially deliver you some outstanding referrals and ultimately increase sales.

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