As the end of the fiscal year looms for many businesses, belts are tightening for both those that are bootstrapping and those that are working within the confines of an annual budget. However, December is also frequently a crucial month for both wooing new clients and reaffirming contracts for the year ahead, making continued investment in client entertainment a must.
There are several strategies for approaching client entertainment while keeping costs down, but only a few will help you save cash without anyone noticing. Our top five suggestions include:
- Take the Lead on Dinner Reservations: Taking charge of where you go to dinner helps keep the dinner selection within budget, and also gives you the chance to use sites like Savored.com to get 10-30% discounts on your bill (that your client will never know about).
- Keep it to Happy Hour: Give your client an excuse to duck out of work early, and give yourself a break on the drink tab, by grabbing drinks during happy hour.
- Go See a Show: When you have clients in from out of town, dinner, followed by drinks, followed by a night out can drive up costs fast. Save money for a second night of socializing by buying half-price tickets to comedy, theater, sports and Broadway shows with sites like Goldstar.com.
- Get into a Habit: If you entertain near your office frequently, spend some time finding an under-the-radar locale with great food and modest prices. Even if the place isn’t glamorous, the back story of how you found it, and the sense that you are sharing a personal interest and an opportunity for a great meal, can make the experience special and memorable for your client.
- Be creative: Think outside of the box to find free cultural events that will also make your meeting more social. If your client enjoys fine wines, go to a wine tasting, if they like art, go to an art opening, and if you don’t know what they like, just ask—spending money on something you know they will enjoy will pay for itself.
What steps do you take to help ensure contract renewals with clients? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!