Entertaining clients is more than just fine dining and attending enjoyable events. Entertaining clients means impressing them in a unique manner outside of the office. Although you may not be in the office while entertaining, office-like behavior still applies. Here’s a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind the next time you entertain a potential, or existing, client:
Do prepare small-talk conversation points. Don’t ever assume that you and your client will be able to make conversation. Jot down a few notes for conversation starters before meeting with your client.
Don’t discuss controversial issues. Leave taboo subjects such as politics and religion out of the discussion when meeting with clients. Although they make for lively conversation, you risk entering dangerous territory without knowing your client’s personal views.
Do learn to listen. Listening to what your client is saying and letting him do most of the talking, increases the likelihood your client will remember you.
Don’t speak poorly of competition. Having a career often includes working for different firms and, as a result, someone could easily become offended. It’s always better to take the high road and stay positive about your firm in relation to others.
Do remember that you are a reflection of your firm. Regardless of where you and your client are or what you are discussing, always know that everything you say and do is a reflection on your firm.
Don’t forget to set up a meeting when you will see your client again. Let your clients know you will see them again soon. Try to set up a time for a second meeting as soon as possible because schedules fill up easily.
The preceding was excerpted from an article that appeared in the September 18th issue of The Zweig A/E Marketing Letter, a twice-monthly exploration of the real-world marketing tactics used in today’s top design firms. For a complete version of the article, contact Ed Hannan at firstname.lastname@example.org.