The Power of Entertaining

The Power of Entertaining

 What comes to mind when you think about building business relationships? One of the first is likely one-on-one, face-to-face meetings or attending networking events. Each of the aforementioned tactics has its own merits, but don’t underestimate the power of entertaining to help you close a deal or land a new client.

Author Eddie Osterland coined the term “Power Entertaining,” a concept that holds immense potential in the business world—if done correctly, that is. Your clients often don’t want to be in stuffy meetings any more than you do; it’s important to build a rapport outside the office to further connect with them on a personal level, which has the potential to strengthen their loyalty and trust in you.

So, what is Power Entertaining? According to Osterland, it’s about “creating an experience for guests, built around great wine, great food, great company and great ambience. It’s about giving people enjoyable memories that cause them to remember you fondly and make them want to do business with you in the future.”

It’s Part of Business

Business development can—and should—include a dose of Power Entertaining. Create memorable company events throughout the year, complete with guest lists that include current and prospective clients. Events are a great way for your company to make a lasting impression and build much more organic relationships, particularly with prospective clients. Set a budget for Power Entertaining at the start of the year and stick to a schedule of events—quarterly, for example—that appeals to your network.

Be a Good Host

If you’re going to plan a memorable event, then you need to be prepared to be an equally memorable and enthusiastic host. Make each guest feel special, and take the time to chat with them throughout the events. The same level of hospitality should also be extended to any plus ones who may be in attendance. You never know who they know, and word travels equally fast if an event is a positive or negative experience.

Serve the Best

As Osterland said, great food and great wine are two key elements of Power Entertaining. Consider working with a new restaurant in town to provide guests with an unexpected culinary experience, and put some thought into the types of wine you’ll serve to create proper pairings—this is where it doesn’t hurt to look into a sommelier or experienced wine merchant. If your event is right after work, as many business events are, serve your best food first. Most events save the best for last, but guests at after-work events often drop by early and don’t stay late, so you don’t want your best dishes to go to waste. Make sure you have nice plates and glassware on hand to elevate the event further, as well as an experienced bartender.

Don’t Forget the Favours

A small take-home item will contribute to the memorable element of your event. It doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant to make an impact, but consider an item that’s useful to your guests. For example, Osterland suggests providing guests with nicely designed cards that outline the food and wine pairings served throughout the evening. It may seem small, but any added touches will contribute to the event’s overall experience and guests’ anticipation for your next event.