This simple experiment is just one of many that show that association with a favorable stimulus can change attitudes. Deliver good news, and you’ll be liked more. Accompany a client to an enjoyable activity, and some of that positive feeling will rub off on you (and your message).
So, taking a client to lunch delivers in at least three ways. As shown by the association experiment I just described, a good meal will make your pitch more persuasive. In addition, lunch offers the opportunity to socialize. In It Really DOES Pay to Schmooze, we saw that negotiation outcomes were much more successful for both parties when they had a chance to socialize first. Finally, to score a neuromarketing trifecta, treating a customer to a nice lunch may also invoke reciprocity, a feeling that one favor should be returned with another.
Do lunch the brainy way!
These various findings can be turned into a simple lunch plan. First, start by socializing – talk about families, golf, or whatever common interests you have. Relating to each other as people sets the stage for a deal. During the meal, introduce your most persuasive elements for working together. This will require a deft touch – nobody wants a good meal ruined by a sales pitch. Don’t overdo this phase, just work those key points into the conversation. If you can pull that off, by the end of the meal you’ll be much closer to a successful deal than when you started.