A large percentage of client entertainment events serve alcohol. It makes sense to entertain guests in this way and help them loosen up when talking business, but regardless of whether you are taking clients out for drinks or hosting an event that serves alcohol, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind to make sure the event is a success.
Tell Your Client About The Alcohol
Tell your client long beforehand that the event will be a drinking affair. If your client states that he or she does not drink, accommodations could be made to make sure that your client is still entertained without creating an atmosphere that your client is uncomfortable with.
Don't Focus On The Alcohol
When taking a client out for drinks or entertaining him or her at the event, forget that there is alcohol involved. You will still need to focus heavily on the business at hand and the deal you are trying to make. Neither the alcohol nor the setting should be the topic of conversation.
If You Choose A Bar, Pick The Right One
In general, it is better to take a client to an event you are hosting that serves alcohol rather than taking a client to a bar. If you do need to head to a bar, such as if you are meeting a client at the last minute, make sure to head to a bar that you do not frequent. Otherwise, there is a risk you will run into too many people you know, which could derail your plans. Also, carefully select a bar that is not too crowded and where there is not loud music playing. Otherwise, you may find it difficult for your client to hear what you are saying. Also, the best location to talk business is usually a relaxing atmosphere, which is something that noisiness is not conducive to.
If only you and a single client will be meeting at a bar, it may be fun to sit at the bar while discussing business. However, if there are three or more individuals, it is better to have a table. Three individuals at a bar having a conversation is very unnatural and uncomfortable.
Talk About Business As Early As Possible
Make sure to talk about business as early in the event as possible. Do not wait until you have had too many drinks because you will want business to be the driving force in your interaction. However, if you focus on business, along with a nice couple of drinks, you'll build a much better business relationship with your client.