When it comes to growing your business, one of the most important factors in success is making a good impression on your prospective clients. Not only do you need to show people how they can benefit from your product or service, but you also have to be more memorable than the competition.
Well, lucky for you, this article will give you one easy trick that can help you boost your new business: lunch. It sounds simple because it truly is.
In this article, we’ll go over four main reasons why you should always serve a catered lunch at your business meetings with prospective clients.
1. It Makes You More Persuasive
Not only will providing a catered lunch at your meeting make you stand out from the competition, but it has also been proven by social scientists that food can make a person more persuasive.
One way in which this works is that eating with somebody generally invokes a socializing effect upon the people. While you eat, you chat, you get to know each other, and you participate in a social interaction.
Social scientists have found that even a simple 10 minutes of informal socializing before decision making can have drastic positive effects on an outcome compared to decision making with no social interaction. Though there is no simple explanation for why this occurs, it is very likely that person will be influenced to make a positive decision after discovering shared attributes or common interests.
Aside from this social aspect of sharing food with prospective clients, it has also been found that food alone makes you more persuasive.
Social scientists have known this since at least the 1960s, when researchers at Yale tested the theory that people were more susceptible to persuasive materials if they were eating. Subjects who were exposed to the persuasive materials while eating were more likely to have a positive reaction to the materials if they were eating compared to people who weren’t offered any food.
2. Changing Regulations Make It Necessary
We now know how food can make you seem more persuasive to prospective clients, so why is it necessary to apply this to your business approach?
Well, many industries have been undergoing new regulations that restrict access to influencers in their industry. For instance, pharmaceutical sales reps used to be able to walk right into the backroom of a doctor’s office and sell their product.
Now, rules and regulations prevent them from being able to access the doctor easily. To get around this new issue of restricted access, many sales reps have resorted to offering free lunch to potential new business as a tool to get them in the door and sell their product.
Think of a catered lunch as a golden lure used to incentivize new clients to care and to show up. It’s not rocket science to know that everybody loves free food, and as consumers demand more transparency in how companies make deals, the B2B sector will continue to shift toward this new process of meeting and deal making.
3. The Right Food Choices Make You More Trustworthy
While there are obviously many perks to setting up a catered lunch for your business meeting, research has also found that making the right food choices can make you seem more trustworthy to the person you are sharing a meal with.
When going out for lunch, you might not put much thought into what you order, and that can be a real detriment. A study from the University of Chicago found that subjects were more likely to trust someone who eats the same food as they do compared to those who chose a different dish. This increased trust also created an increased likelihood of cooperation.
With a catered meal, you can not only cut down on the chances of choosing a different dish from your prospective client, you could also offer multiple dishes at your meeting and deliberately wait to see what the other person selects before selecting the same.
Additionally, discovering your prospective client’s food preferences and offering a healthy and delicious catered meal will certainly show them that you have good sense and are willing to earn their trust.
4. It Works
So we’ve look at some of the science behind why offering a catered meal for your prospective clients is a great idea, but we also don’t have to look far to see how this has succeeded in the real world.
Any business’s sales team working in the B2B sector will be able to increase their sales with catering services. People in the marketing industry, including marketing sales reps, often utilize corporate catering as a resource to increase sales. This is a trend that has also proven successful for IT sales teams to land new business.
Business lunches have been a tool for impressive business partners or prospective clients for decades, and offering a catered corporate lunch is one more way to impress your peers. While the competition may simply be picking up the tab at the restaurant across the street, you’ll be dazzling them with professional service and delicious meals brought right to them.
Now that you know why you should be using corporate catering services, you just need to make sure you’re choosing the right company. You’ll want to find a company that will take care of all your needs, from set up to take down, while providing tasty and healthy dishes that will help you close the deal.