The business lunch is alive and well in the business world. For a small business owner, scheduling a business lunch is like hitting the proverbial ‘jackpot’. People are busy, and business owners and/or executives are even busier. They value their time and guard it in the same manner as they do their money. Remember, time is money. So, if you are successful in scheduling a business lunch with the intent to get closer to closing that deal, go into it as you would a big game. Prepare and strategize. Most importantly remember, there is a technique to achieving a successful business lunch.

Here are 3 simple tips to help you get started on the right foot:

  1. Never order pasta

    Don't order pasta at a business lunch
    I know, it’s so good and after all you are paying for it. So, why not order what you want? It’s important to remember, one of your goals is to leave the potential client with a positive image of you. And sorry, that just can’t happen with spaghetti dangling out of your mouth. And leave the penne pasta alone as well. Don’t risk the embarrassing stain on your shirt. Be safe, order the salad.

  2. Always order appetizers

    Always order appetizers at a business lunch
    The point of this lunch is to get around to selling yourself and your business and the clock is ticking. Once the main course arrives, your time to sell is over. So buy yourself more time and order an appetizer. Make it a point to get your sales pitch in before the main course arrives. That way, when it comes, you can sit back and enjoy (kind of).

  3. Talk about them first

    As a wise copywriter once said, “They don’t care about you – they care about them.” This wisdom applies to business lunches as well as marketing copy. Hey, it’s lunch and even though they agreed to talk with you, they still want to enjoy themselves. Don’t launch into your sales pitch immediately. Give you and your client time to relax. Start the conversation by asking a question about them. Do remember that you have a very limited amount of time so be sure to bring the conversation around to you and your reason for asking them to lunch before the food arrives. They won’t get there unless you lead them to it.

Obviously, there are more things that go into a successful lunch meeting but don’t ruin your chances by making these rookie mistakes. Good luck and “Bon Appétit.”