As any service-based company will attest to, it's critical to have expertise and passion for the world we work and play in. But even with clients who are outside that F&B bubble, it's important to throw back one or two drinks to open up a new dialogue and break up the day-to-day monotony.
Here are 4 reasons why you should drink with your clients.
Get the Truth
They don't say "in vino veritas" for nothing. Alcohol is life's social lubricant and sometimes just what a client needs to open up about what their real goals are for a project, or even what's secretly coming down the pipeline from corporate that you otherwise might not know about. There's nothing like a cocktail or 2 to unlock the jaws of even the most tight lipped client.
As service providers, it's part of the job to always have answers and be strong in front of the clients, but being vulnerable shifts the power dynamic and creates sympathy and empathy. This in turn can generate a deeper connection than the run of the mill weekly calls that run through agendas and metrics reports.
Being vulnerable or allowing someone to be vulnerable with you is a reminder that at a basic level everyone's human and infinitely flawed. In finding those imperfections, it allows us to connect with one another, bringing out the individual traits that make you and your clients who they are.
Show A Different Expertise
When you're in the food and beverage world for example, it's important to know your Pinots from your Cabernets, your brulée from your cassoulet. But just because you aren't a foodie doesn't mean you can't show expertise in a unique way outside of the four walls of your office.
It's a great way to spark a new conversation and find common ground even with the most buttoned up client. It's also important to show a breadth of knowledge and passion that can spark new curiosity and creativity.
All Work No Play
Even if you're meeting with your clients in-office often, the face time you have with them outside of the office has a completely different effect. It allows them to have fun and the permission to be playful in a way that most office environments don't (unless you're Snapchat).
There is enormous value in a neutral location outside of the office where you can eat, drink and be merry. Sometime shoptalk will ensue, but it lets the client in on your playful, casual side and allows them to do the same.
There's nothing like making a fool out of yourself to create an inside joke or bonding moment with a client that will have a much longer lasting impact than that spreadsheet you just reviewed.
Now I'm not saying that you should get sloppy (how embarrassing, and amateur would it be to make your client hold your hair back), but you would be surprised at how much progress you can make both personally and professionally by breaking the barrier between work and play. As if you needed an excuse for that second martini.