Wine Your Way to Success
So you’re going to dinner with a prospective client and you want to seal the deal. You’ve come this far - why ruin it with a few faux pas over food? As the CEO of wines.com, I know how important wining and dining is when it comes to securing new business. The next time you’re breaking bread with a client, consider these tips:
- Never assume anything. Just because someone runs a highly profitable business, it doesn’t mean they have extravagant tastes in wine. I’ve met many CEOs who run large companies, and they like simple, inexpensive wines. When in doubt, don’t assume. Ask.
- Avoid the cost question. The easiest way to order wine without defaulting to overpriced brand names is to simply go down the wine list; never pick the cheapest or most expensive wine. Shoot down or up a couple notches from that middle point, and you’ll more than likely hit a homerun. Anything too expensive is just ego.
- Properly pair the wine. When you’re ready to pick the wine, ask your client what he or she is going to eat. If he’s eating something heavy like meats, default to red wine and blends. If she’s eating a lighter meal like fish, stick to white wines. Also, consider pairing food with a wine from that region. For example, if you’re eating Italian food, stick to super Tuscans and Pinot Grigios. If you’re eating French cuisine, suggest a Bordeaux.
- do your research. If you really want to make a good impression, download the restaurant’s wine list and study it beforehand. When it’s time to make your choice, explain your selection to your client. Remember to keep it simple and relate the decision to food. They’ll immediately see that you are careful, inquisitive and selective— all redeeming qualities in a future partner.
These are a just a few of the things I’ve found to be helpful when it comes to wining and dining a client. At the end of the day, picking the right wine can say a lot about how you’re going to handle the client relationship. The more you invest in your selection, the better off you will be.
Alex Andrawes is the CEO of wines.com. E-mail Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org.