Business Lunch: 5 Tips for Breaking Bread

I recently received a great referral to a prospect, but after two months of phone tag and two canceled appointments, it started to look like our calendars were never going to line up. Finally, I sent a “breaking bread” email as a last ditch effort to connect.

Business Lunch 5 Tips for Breaking Bread

Here’s what my email looked like:

Mark,
It looks like you and I are having a difficult time connecting. In order to see if we need to talk further or not, how about if we meet for lunch next week? I know a great barbecue place in town and I’d love to just get to know you a bit more.

 

The result? My email worked! Mark and I met for lunch a few days later.

Business lunch as a sales analysis meeting

Mark and I had a great time breaking bread and talking about his team and his needs. After what seemed like a casual business lunch (but was actually a thorough needs analysis), I knew we could help his team. I pulled up my calendar and asked for the next appointment. His response confirmed what I had already deduced – a second meeting with the business owner (the real decision maker) was required. We set up the next meeting at his office the next afternoon.

As we walked out to our vehicles, Mark said, “Dew, I think you are exactly what we’ve been looking for!”

So what happened over our business lunch? There is power in breaking bread together, but you have to approach it right.

Five tips on breaking bread with your prospects:

  1. Work around their schedule. Everyone has to eat, so you’re not asking for any of their valuable time during typical business hours. Remove as much friction as possible by meeting when it’s most convenient for them.
  2. Pick a location and restaurant that you feel they would like. If it’s close to their office, then they’re more likely to say yes, and if you have the option, let them pick the restaurant.
  3. You should be spending over 50% of the sale on the needs analysis. Let them do the talking, and make the meal all about you learning as much as you can about them and their company. Never jump right into your sales pitch.
  4. Get to know each other. People like doing business with people they like. A non-pressured meal is a great place for your prospect to get to know the real you!
  5. Ask for the business. Just like any other sales meeting, you should go to a business lunch with a clear goal; what is the next step or desired outcome? Whether it’s pulling out the contract and having them sign right there or simply scheduling the next appointment – have a clear goal and make sure you ask for the business by clearly requesting that next step.

There are lots of scenarios where the business lunch can be useful, but it can be especially powerful for those sales prospects who have some interest, but just aren’t willing to give you priority in their busy day. Next time you’re having trouble getting on a prospect’s schedule, try the “breaking bread” approach and let me know how it works!

Until next time – go sell some stuff!

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