The debate on whether or not to provide lunches to office personnel rages on. I’ve done maybe a hundred or more and most have netted nothing. As a medical sales rep I used to do frequent lunches at all of the orthopaedic resident training programs in my territory all of which netted exactly nothing.
Let us, however, not throw lunches completely out of the window. Sometimes they are very worthwhile, but you have to be the judge and prequalify. A suggestion is to first ask if the prospect might actually be interested in your offering. That’s not by any means a guarantee, but can be a viable start.
I would definitely advocate lunches, etc. for good customers as a showing of appreciation, but sales reps serving as a catering service is much more often abused than not.
Once I was providing lunch for 8 residents and was running late so I confirmed the number and asked if they could just order and I’ll pay upon arrival. Soon after my entrance a team of pizza delivery people marched in with a corresponding drop of my jaw.
They had ordered pizza for the entire medical college and, as luck would have it, there was an ATM machine right there. I went moderately insane for a brief period and did no more lunches for several years.
A few years ago I made a triumphant return to providing lunches and then remembered why I stopped doing them. Most of the time nothing good comes from it unless you enjoy wasting time and money and getting annoyed for no apparent reason.
With qualifying lunches comes qualifying customers. If it’s a good risk then I’ll do it. If it isn’t or if I’m not sure then I won’t. If it’s a good customer who I’d like to reward then I will.
The efforts to abuse the sales rep in this regard continue and my usual response is that we have a No Lunches policy for now that may or may not change in the future. If I’m in a bad mood I might say that my goal is to bring enough revenue into your practice where you’ll be able to finally be able to afford your own lunches.
OK, so I’m a little bitter about this, but the fact remains that it’s usually a terrible idea that will get you nowhere. You’ll know when it’s a good idea and, in those cases, you’ll serve everyone best by rolling out the red carpet and sparing no expense. But most of the time you’ll serve best by sparing yourself the expense.If you disagree with me you’re not necessarily wrong (and I’m not necessarily always right), but that’s my opinion wrought from years of abuse and I’m sticking with it.
"In Search of the Wholey Sale" -