Business is almost always a team effort. All of us require a network of team members, all working on what they do best in order to make sure that the client is well taken care of.
Building on that, there’s a very important social aspect to business. People don’t just do business with you because you have a product or service they need, they also buy from you because they like you.
That means you often need to spend personal time with your clients and just be sociable.
Lunches, dinners, whatever. Sometimes the most productive business meetings involve sharing a meal and not talking about business at all.
And then there are occasions where business and social get blurred, such as multi-day retreats, or trade shows.
Trade shows are a perfect example of occasions where team members need to specialize. It’s grueling to spend all day working a booth and/or walking the show, on top of scheduling vendor meetings or presentations, AND having to attend parties and events every night.
That’s why your trade show delegation should always appoint designated drinkers.
The designated drinker’s job is to socialize with your clients and vendors as much as necessary, especially if your business contacts have an appetite for nightlife.
THEN, everyone else on your team can get a good night’s sleep and get up early, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to attend important meetings with a clear head.
It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
Like any job, it requires skill and ability. It also requires maintaining a sense of the big picture.
There was one lunch meeting I had with a big client years ago, where I brought along my vendor contact, one of their national sales guys.
He proceeded to put away six pints in an hour-long lunch meeting.
By the standards of today’s era, that’s a little much.
Fortunately, his performance didn’t hurt my relationship with my client, but by the same token it didn’t really help, either.
Just remember, that everything you should have an objective in mind.