Financially Responsible Marketing

Entertaining Clients On A Budget

Posted by on May 17, 2012

One on one interaction with your top clients is an excellent way to win contracts, get to know more about your consumer’s business and gain favour when a client relationship has faced a hardship, but who has the budget?  Entertaining your business partners while not breaking the bank can be challenging to any small business owner.

Whether over drinks, dinner or a round of golf, entertaining important clients is a great way to deepen connections, build rapport, develop loyalty and finalize the details on valuable business contracts.  In a small or growing business, budgets are often tight, but that doesn’t mean you are relegated to in-house coffee or day old doughnuts to try and swoon your big clients.

Here are some ideas on how to make your partners feel a little bit spoiled while getting the most out of your limited entertainment budget:

1.  Evaluate your guest list

  • Repeat business is key to any successful company and treating your best clients well both on and off the playing field is an excellent strategy to ensure repeat business.  Entertaining offers a relaxed way to get to know your top clients personally, as well as getting the inside scoop on what problems your client may be facing or their plans for future development.
  • When budgets are tight, it’s important to be selective with your invitations to ensure you are not only getting the most out of your dollar, but that you are allowing for quality interaction between yourself and your partner.  Focus on clients who have the greatest potential for bringing in new business, or clients whose orders tend to be most profitable.  It is also important to choose member(s) of your client team carefully:  you want to engage with key decision makers and those who have a hand in upcoming corporate developments.

2.  Business dining on a budget

  • Think beyond the standard business dinner to avoid spending your quarterly entertainment budget on just a few meals.  By focusing your client dining experiences on early or mid-day endeavors, you will generally avoid costly alcohol consumption beyond a single glass of wine per attendee, which will keep you conversation more clear, and your budgets in check.
  • Breakfast, even in a fine hotel, is often a rather affordable option.  Not only do you provide a high-end dining environment, but mornings are often when people have the freshest ideas, they rarely face difficulty before the first cup of morning coffee, and both you and your client are freed up for the rest of day to conduct regular business.
  • Afternoon tea at a hotel or up-scale teashop can be a very civilized and enjoyable way to discuss business.  This can serve to revitalize ideas in the afternoon, and your client will enjoy the novelty of something other than a traditional business lunch

3. Add the personal touch

  • Attention to small details, even with something as simple as a business lunch, can speak volumes about the care you provide your clients in your business relationship.  Get to know your clients to make your entertainment choices count and ensure your money is spent only on activities they are sure to enjoy.  Although golf is a corporate standard, perhaps your client would prefer a wine tasting, or has an interest in architecture or museums.  Cater to your client and potentially save on costly endeavors which would go unappreciated
  • Conduct a personal tour of your city for out of town guests.  This can serve as entertainment and education for clients who may be unfamiliar with the area, and provide you the opportunity to hi-light the impact your business has on the community.  By taking the time to conduct the tour yourself, you add a personal touch to the event and incur minimal cost beyond a quarter tank of gas and a light lunch.

Reaping the rewards of corporate entertaining can be achieved even on the most scant budget.  For more creative ideas contact Imaginis Marketing Inc and allow to share our successes in client engagement.