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BOOK EXCERPT, WAY #17 REVOLUTIONIZE WORK ENTERTAINMENT
Entertaining clients over steak and wine dinners is exhausting.
I know, because I did it for almost seven years — and it can be a serious drag on your health and wellness goals. I would often dread work trips where we had multiple nights planned at fancy restaurants or gastropubs in London. Sometimes I’d even drink that second or third (or fourth) drink because I just didn’t want to be there and I was throwing an inner temper tantrum.
At the time, I’d rather be saving my booze for the weekend with my actual girlfriends or for going on first dates with guys. Waking up early to work out during week and eating healthy have always been priorities for me. On all business trips, I’d pack sneakers and workout clothes and bring along healthy snacks but then, once I’d hit that third glass of wine, I knew it was game over.
Sure, there is a time and place to bond over wine or beer and it sure can be hilariously fun. But if you’re in sales or tasked with building client relationships, you don’t have to resign yourself to a life of boozy entertainment. Luckily, in 2018, and your options are way more versatile than they were back in 2008.
Here are some methods I developed at the end of my career in finance that now work well for my professional clients.
1. Suggest a coffee meeting.
In a coffee meeting, you can chat with your business contact for 45 minutes, cover company updates, ask about their kids, and then — boom — you’re done! You can line up three to four coffees and knock out all your meetings in one day (and still have lunch by yourself!). Please, switch to decaf or tea at some point to save your adrenals.
2. Lunch at a fancy salad bar.
You’re going to eat a salad for lunch anyway, right? If that’s the case (and I hope it is), ask your professional contact to meet over casual salads. They’ll appreciate the healthy gesture and the time saved.
3. Sit outside.
We all need more time outdoors, so on a nice day, I’d suggest grabbing coffee and sitting outside. On of my favorite business trip memories is stopping by an outdoor cafe and sampling dark chocolate at the food trucks with a consultant I covered.
4. Have a club soda mocktail.
At work cocktail events, make your first drink club soda and lime. No one will know the difference.
If you’re skeptical about my tips, here’s another story for you: Before I jumped ship from the finance world, I mentioned to my boss how much fun it would be to hit up Barry’s Bootcamp in Boston with the consultants we covered. We’d provide a unique experience for them, create more of a bond by seeing each other sweat, and get that adrenaline rush from a challenging workout class (plus, I hoped we’d be able to skip the heavy drinking afterward). We didn’t end up making it happen before I left for nutrition school, but two years later I got a text from my old boss that he was in a taxi in Boston, en route to Barry’s Bootcamp to take our consultants out for a hard run and thanked me. I was flattered.
I often notice how the tech, advertising and fashion industries tend to lead the way with unique client entertainment and thinking outside the box. Years ago, I remember my friends in these roles would take their female clients out for a spa afternoon, go get their nails done while talking shop at a boutique salon, or book exclusive bikes for a SoulCycle class with their business partners.
So be radical. Be different. People will remember you better. And most importantly, you’ll feel better. And that’s worth more than any unlimited expense account.