Many people mistakenly consider the June 1 to Labor Day time period to be “dead” for growing business. I consider it the perfect time to enhance existing business relationships, and possibly even create new ones.
Summer presents some unique opportunities for entertaining clients in many relaxing venues. My former boss is an ardent sailor and rewards his good clients with memorable day trips sailing on Lake Michigan. Clients knew they had achieved platinum status when they were invited to join in one of these rituals of fresh water bonding. For many, it was the highlight of their summer.
If your major metropolitan area has a decent major league baseball team, or if they don’t but are playing one, dinner and a ball game can be a nice bonding event. It can be even better if you know your client has baseball-hungry teens and you include them. You can’t go wrong making a man look good in the eyes of his children.
Golf presents some positive opportunities as well as some potential pitfalls. Let’s start with the upside. If you spend four hours sharing a golf cart with somebody and you’re not a total jerk, you potentially have made a friend for life.
Now let’s talk about the downside. If your client is a serious golfer and you are a hack, this won’t work. If you are a serious golfer and your client is a hack, you run the risk of embarrassing them, which is counterproductive to your purpose. Golf is a complex game played by people with different levels of skill, pace, and rules interpretations, so finding a good client pairing that works well for both parties can prove difficult. Don’t give up hope on golf. Here are two more suggestions.
Bring your client to a charity “scramble” event. Notice, I didn’t say an industry or trade event where your competitors will have access to the client. A “scramble” is a best ball team event. No matter how bad a golfer your client is, I guarantee that they will make one or two shots that will benefit your team and leave them feeling good about themselves.
Another golf related entertainment option is attending a professional golf tournament (Web.com, PGA, or Champions) in your area. In Chicago, we are fortunate to have the BMW Championship here at Conway Farms this year, and next year the U.S. Open will be played north of “the cheddar wall” in Wisconsin at Erin Hills. Tickets are already on sale for that major event. Many of these events offer enhanced air-conditioned hospitality tent options with food and beverages included, which guarantee you will enjoy the event in maximum comfort.
Maybe you or your client is not a golfer, a sailor, or a baseball fan. There are a number of upscale outdoor music/concert venues that are ideal for summer entertaining. You can get a lot of mileage by inviting a client couple to the “hot” concert event of the summer. Everybody wants to be thought of as “hip” and this gives you the opportunity to make your client hip. Many clients truly need help in that area and recognize it. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
The summer doldrums are a result of the limitations of our own minds. Summer is the ideal time to enhance existing client relationships.
The key to putting together a successful summer entertainment event is knowing your client. What do they like to do? What do their families do for fun? There is nothing better than sharing a fun filled relaxing event with a client to cement a long- term relationship.
What are you waiting for?
Until the next time…..