You have landed a lunch meeting with potential business partners. Congratulations—this could be a major step forward for your company. Now you must concern yourself with impressing the people you meet so they will want to partner with you. Below are some of the steps you should follow to have a good experience at a lunch meeting with potential business partners.
Come with a Plan or Proposal
When meeting with potential business partners, you must come prepared to discuss your ideas. Bring packets, visual aids, notes and anything else you may need. Write down notes for yourself so that you don’t risk forgetting the important points you would like to discuss. Remember that it’s also possible they may not want to talk business right away in order to get to know you as a person first, so don’t steer the conversation to business matters until the subject is brought up. Keep it light, but also keep it directed. Get to know the person and then let the conversation naturally move into business.
Look the Part
You should follow much of the same advice as you would in a job interview or formal business meeting. You should dress nicely. Look the part! Business casual is usually acceptable for lunch meetings although it is better to err on the side of dressing more formally. It is possible the lunch invitation mentioned dress, in which case you should follow that instruction.
Do not wear scents that are overpowering. Do not wear clothes or accessories that are too gaudy or numerous. Ensure your hair, nails, and other elements of your personal hygiene are in order as well. Strive to be yourself, but be approachable. Dress for the situation so that you can make the right impression.
Be Intelligent and Articulate
Aside from your physical appearance and your ideas, you will want to come across as a thoughtful, intelligent, and articulate individual. Take your time to speak carefully and intellectually. Remember, you don’t have to give an answer right away, especially if any deals struck will be major changes. Be thoughtful and considerate. Listen to what they have to say to you and respond to it accordingly.
Really listen, don’t just wait to say what’s on your mind, but respond to what is being said. Politely state that you need some time to think over the proposal and, preferably, take copies of any proposals with you. You can then run these by a qualified business attorney for advice. Like Strauss Troy says, “Business owners need and deserve creative solutions delivered in a prompt, proactive and efficient manner.” Reach out to all of your resources so that you can make the best impression possible.
You will likely be nervous while attending this meeting and may perhaps be tempted to act unlike yourself. You should not put on a facade or act overly professional. If you are going into business with someone, they deserve to see the real you. You will come across as more genuine and believable this way, and your potential partners will respond positively to that. Know what you want out of the meeting and discover what your potential partners want, and you both can come to an honest understanding.
A lunch meeting with potential business partners can be incredibly stressful. Overcome that stress by coming to the meeting prepared, taking care in your appearance, and being yourself. You will be sure to impress anyone you meet.