Your image is not just about how you look. It’s about the total experience everyone has with you. Just like your favorite company brand, it’s about how much you like the product or service and how well you are treated that keeps you buying. The same holds true with people. We buy from people we like who treat us well and deliver what we need. Step up your image and be a standout with your clients. Take them to a lunch or dinner they won’t forget and that doesn’t include dancing on the tables. (These tips work well for dates too!)
These 10 tips will make you a standout:
Figure out the best restaurant for your client meeting. Remember to keep location, type of food, atmosphere and service in mind. You have a lot at stake so don’t wing it!
Make a reservation and ask for the best seating possible. If you haven’t eaten at the restaurant before (or in a while) visit it and introduce yourself to the hostess or maître de.
Share with the hostess or maître de your plans for your client meeting and enlist their help to ensure you receive the best possible service. Inquire about their specialty dishes so you can make good recommendations to your client.
Check if your client has any allergies. If he or she has any allergies let the waiter know when you arrive.
Offer to take your client’s coat if the maître de doesn’t ask, then inquire if the restaurant has a coat check. If not, take the coat to the table and drape it on one of the open chairs at your table if there is one available. Otherwise, drape it on the back of the client’s chair.
Make sure you are up to speed with your table manners. There is nothing worse than eating with someone who has poor manners. Here is a quick refresher:
- Place your napkin in your lap as soon as you are seated.
- Your bread plate is located to the left and your water and wine glasses are located to the right.
- Select your utensils from the outside and then work your way into the plate.
- Avoid talking with food in your mouth.
- Skip the business talk until after you have ordered your meal.
Pay the check before the waiter delivers it to the table. You can give the waiter your credit card before the meal or excuse yourself during the meal and give it to him.
After dinner collect your client’s coat and help him or her put it on.
Make sure to tip everyone else who helped pull off your rock star meeting. That includes the hostess or maître de and valet if he parked your car.