Steak Dinner Marketing… Would Harvard Business Review Approve?

t-bone-steakAs some of you know, I recently sent an email to my students and friends with a very special offer: For everyone who brings a qualified guest to my upcoming “Sales & Marketing for Smart People” workshop, I’m giving away a free steak dinner, actually a $100 gift certificate to Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

What I said in my email is that this offer just by itself teaches a very important sales lesson – that you can make some of your very best deals and close a lot more prospects over a nice dinner. It’s a smart sales and marketing technique I’ve used hundreds of times negotiating the deals that have launched my many businesses.

As it turns out, Harvard Business Review seems to agree with me. A recent article, “Should You Eat While You Negotiate?” covers this very issue:

Across cultures, dining together is a common part of the process of reaching negotiated agreements. In Russia and Japan, important business dealings are conducted almost exclusively while dining and drinking and in the U.S., many negotiations begin with “Let’s do lunch.” But are business deals actually improved when people discuss important matters over a meal?

Lakshmi Balachandra, an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Babson College, conducted her own study. Her conclusion was that “individuals who negotiated in restaurants created 12% greater profits … This suggests that eating while deciding important matters offers profitable, measurable benefits through mutually productive discussions.”

And she’ll be investigating the issue further:

In future experiments, I will continue to explore the reasons why eating while deciding important matters increases the productivity of discussions. In the meantime, you would be wise to suggest “doing lunch” whenever you meet to negotiate.

I agree. But you don’t have to just “do lunch.” A steak dinner works great, too. It shows your commitment to building relationships that create “win-win” business deals for everyone. It’s definitely worked our great for me – and I sure didn’t need to read Harvard Business Review to learn that a steak dinner is one smart sales and marketing strategy.

If you want to find out more, come to my two-day workshop “Sales & Marketing For Smart People.” Bring a highly qualified guest and all three of us might even go out to a steak dinner together and work out a profitable business deal.

One comment

  1. Linda LeBlanc

    Count me in. I’m a true “foodie”. The common bond found around the table fosters unity and relationships that are comfortable, making dining together an ideal place to discover and agree.

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