How to Pick the Right Restaurant to Make a Sales Pitch

How to Pick the Right Restaurant to Make a Sales Pitch

I’ve been primarily an inside sales person for the past 10 years and make most of my sales pitches over the phone. However, there are times (usually involving a large customer) when a face-to-face meeting is required and I have to leave my office to make the sales pitch in person.

Face-to-face sales aren’t my strength and, some time ago, I found my sales pitches were much more successful if I invited my customer out for lunch because a neutral location like a restaurant helps eliminate distractions like phone calls and interruptions.

However, I have learned through trial and error that you can’t just pick a restaurant at random and do need to take some preliminary steps to improve your chances of success.

First, find a restaurant that is within an easy driving distance from your customer. The less you inconvenience the person you’re trying to sell to, the better. And, I’ve found, if this isn’t possible, it’s best just to call the whole thing off and meet them at the office instead. One easy way around this step is to ask your customer if they have a favorite restaurant. However, I do recommend being a bit careful about that because you might wind up at one you can’t afford.

Second, don’t pick a restaurant unless you’ve visited it before. I’ve eaten at most of the restaurants in this area and there are some that are perfect for this type of thing while others are just too noisy or are somewhat dark (making it hard to read any documents, like contracts). Others either offer terrible food and service or are too expensive.

If your sales pitch is in a different town, take the time to drive there before calling your customer and checking out some of the dining establishments. Or, if your customer recommends a place, eat there ahead of time so you can at least be prepared for the noise, lighting, etc.

Third, look for an adult-oriented restaurant. No, I’m not talking about taking your customer to a strip club that serves food. I mean you should look for a restaurant that doesn’t have a kid-friendly menu. This helps reduce the chances of having screaming children running around while you’re trying to make your pitch.

Last, the more choices, the better. Unless your customer recommends it, it’s best to avoid restaurants that serve just one kind of food (Italian, Mexican, Chinese, etc.) because, even if you like the food, there’s no guarantee your customer will. And, if they don’t like the food, it isn’t going to help you close the sale.

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