Just because a business lunch can work well, it doesn’t mean these outings are easy to manage. Far from the booze-soaked feasts of the eighties, the modern-day business lunch has brand new rules and conventions. We sat down with Amanda Rose of the #BossLady fame to get her tips on how to wine, dine and win over lunch.
Amanda Rose is a strategic consultant who connects businesses, companies and people. She’s a keynote speaker, consultant, board member and an advocate for business women of Western Sydney. Follow her at @theamandarose.
Tell us why the business lunch works?
A business lunch is the perfect way to spend quality time with prospects and clients in a comfortable environment. It’s a sign that you are willing to put in time to really understand their needs and/or concerns. And most importantly, lunch is practical. We all need to eat, right?
How do you choose a restaurant for a business lunch?
You should also think about who you are meeting, you want them to feel comfortable in their surroundings. And lastly, you need to book somewhere with the right prices. If the food is too cheap they won't feel appreciated or valued but if it’s too expensive they might assume that you charge too much. If in doubt, the middle ground is best.
Does table choice matter when you’re trying to close a deal?
This comes down to the restaurant and how they lay out their seating. For any type of business lunch, you want privacy, so you can speak freely. Plus, you don't want to be distracted by others or have other people listen to your conversations. I always choose a table with a nice view and natural light that’s far away from other diners.
What are the golden rules of business lunching?
Be early – don't be late. You’ve got to strike the perfect balance, so don't waste time talking about irrelevant stuff or be too sharp and abrupt. One way to achieve this balance is to listen to understand, not to reply.
When you’re sitting across from someone sharing a meal, it’s easy to forget that building a relationship takes time. Always go with your gut and even if you have a time pressure, remain clam. If you seem rushed or distracted, the other person will feel the same way.
Remember this person has taken time out of their busy day to have lunch with you so never, ever check your phone. If you’re expecting an urgent call, then let the guest know beforehand.
I always say, dress how you want to be addressed. Wearing the right outfit can set the tone for the entire meeting. Remember to take into account where you’re meeting and the type of restaurant.
Don't ever get drunk! You need to remain in control. If your guest would like you to drink, just order one and sip it slowly.
Who pays the bill?
This is an interesting one… I believe that the person who booked the meeting should pay the bill. But if you are trying to secure business from someone then you should be the one to pay. It is really up to you. Just remember no-one likes a scrooge or someone who is too flashy, balance is key in business.
What’s your go to meal when closing the deal?
Just kidding. However, deal closing is best done at a Friday lunch, so you can toast to working together with a nice wine. Don't linger over lunch though, everyone like to have fun but remember your new client has just hired you. They want you to start getting the work done, for them!
Ready to secure your next big win? Cockle Bay Wharf is a short stroll from Town Hall Station and is the closest waterside restaurant precinct to Sydney’s CBD. Book a business lunch at Cockle Bay Wharf and feast your way to success.