As we go through our July series about life in these United States, we thought it might be interesting to think about what we spend our days doing.
Like most in the professional services industry, I spend a lot of time with not only potential and current clients, but also members of my network. My calendar can get pretty full with coffees, lunches, various networking events and more.
As such, it’s very important for me to build up an arsenal of great meeting spots for various occasions in the client relationship process. Some could even probably qualify as an excursion or holiday event, depending on the occasion. In no particular order, here is my list of the top five favorite spots to woo clients and prospects:
Boating — Not a traditional client meeting or networking opportunity, but the summer months are so sought after and so fleeting, we have to take advantage as much as possible. Getting together a group of five or more individuals for a few hours on the river is a guaranteed great time. My suggestion: Partner with a friend in a non-competing industry and ask them to invite several guests as well. You and your guests will undoubtedly benefit from this network expanding occasion.
The right coffee shop — While I don’t imbibe in the dark stuff myself, there’s no denying that a coffee shop is a great place to meet with prospects, clients and members of my network. However, it’s very important to find the right spot. Not all coffee shops are created equal. Sure, they might have lattes and scones and baristas and what have you, but I’m thinking noise level, outlets for my laptop, wide enough tables for paperwork, the shop’s friendliness in regard to lingering and the ambiance itself. Do your research; find your spot.
Target practice — In this industry, bonding over a little target practice (at a gun range or shooting lodge) is not only fun, but can be a great way to network and build relationships.
It’s a couples affair — Sometimes, including spouses at client meetings and events goes a long way toward building good will. Depending on the occasion and of course suitability, having an event where spouses are invited may even increase the likelihood of client attendance. That way, they don’t have to leave the hubby or wife at home .
Open your home — Clients and prospects can get an inside glimpse at your character and personality when you invite them to your home. What better way to gauge how a long-term client relationship will work than by allowing them to interact on a more personal level, with families meeting families, in your home? I love to bring together several clients and their spouses, who I know will get on well, to share a meal and a fun evening in my home.
Of course, what works for me may not work for everyone. I also understand that in my industry, it can be even more difficult to think outside the box for client events due to the gifting limits, but be creative and do what you can. As long as you’re being genuine and you’re wooing the right clients, there’s no reason why it can’t become a long-term relationship.