Once upon a time, the power lunch was all the sales rage. But then came the power breakfast which quickly became the darling of networking sales. Today, both are staple foods of the entrepreneurial sales person’s diet. But what separates a power breakfast from a power lunch? And what are the techniques that will make both or either work well for you?
Related: The psychology behind better sales
The power breakfast – eggs on acid
Proponents of the power breakfast have a good argument. For a start, people are at their sharpest, mentally, in the morning. That means they’re more likely to pay attention, more likely to be enthusiastic and consequently more open to starting a sales conversation.
Factor in what many food experts deem as the most important meal of the day, that they’re cheaper than lunches and there’s no alcohol involved – and the power breakfast seems to be a sale’s ‘win-win.’
The power lunch
Until the advent of breakfast meetings, power lunches were the traditional workhorse of business meals and still, in many scenarios continue to be so.
Lunch is faster paced than breakfast. It doesn’t cut into personal time, and it certainly doesn’t raise the stressful issue of including a spouse or partner in the way breakfasts or after-work dinners do. Their timing is generally controlled by the working day and as a consequence last one or one and a half hours only.
Horses for courses
In my opinion, breakfast meetings provide the perfect environment for networking. Early morning is a convivial time of the day, and the number of breakfast meetings clubs concurs with that.
You’ll be meeting people at their best part of the day where you can forge new links and new business opportunities without going into an over-sell mode.
On the other hand, the power lunch offers an ideal opportunity to sign off a deal struck during the morning. Or at the very least, reward your sales endeavours and potential new client with a relaxing break from proceedings in a neutral and mutually pleasurable environment.
A winning technique for breakfast networking
Okay, so you’re networking over eggs and coffee. You’ve researched the breakfast meeting you’ve decided to join and you’re face-to-face with prospective customers. Rule number one – don’t get carried away.
My biggest advice for when you’re networking is LEAVE YOUR BUSINESS CARD AT HOME. Seems rather counter-intuitive doesn’t it? After all, everyone else is trying to give everyone else a business card so why not join in?
Believe me, it’s far more effective, in sales terms, to take charge of the communications by obtaining your prospects’ details rather than giving them yours and hoping for the best. When you’ve got their details tell them you’ll be in touch – and make sure you do.
How to organise a power lunch
The wrong venue, the wrong environment, the wrong outcome. If you’ve planned to meet your client for lunch, here are the essential considerations.
First, choose a venue suitable for all. If your client is meeting you, make sure you book somewhere convenient and central. Within the venue you choose YOU MUST pick a table that’s in a private, quiet location. And away from the bar. Nothing worse than potential eavesdropping or rowdy interruption to kill the atmosphere.
And, if you’re continuing the sales conversation, make sure the table has enough elbow room plus room for paperwork, laptops and phones. In this situation, a wi-fi connection should also come as standard.
Whether networking over breakfast or signing that deal over lunch, one of the greatest strengths of a successful sales person is the demeanour within which they conduct themselves.
Remember, chin up, don’t fold your arms, be open. Ask questions and get to know your client, or get to know them more. Shake hands positively, don’t lecture. Always listen.
This is a very short walk-through of breakfast and lunch power meetings – the kind of meetings that can win you sales and turn you from an eager entrepreneur to a successful sales business person.
Sales Commando teaches each step in far more detail, and my recommendation is that you take out a course with us. That said, the above tips, hints and tricks will see you through the basics of successful networking and deal closing over breakfast and lunch. Good luck!