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The Virginia Engineer's Guest Articles

Stop Taking Your Customers To Lunch

June, 2006

Stop Taking Your Customers To Lunch
Seven Ways To Differentiate Yourself From Your Competition

By Allyson Lewis

Imagine walking into your favorite Italian restaurant. You likely have been looking forward to it all day and when you simply walk in the front door and smell the delicious aromas your heart begins to pound just a little bit faster. You sit down at the table with your family and friends and subconsciously your senses begin to register all of the different things that are occurring. Your ears hear the pleasant chatter of friendly conversation all around you, the soft music gently drifts by, the artwork on the walls is pleasing to your eyes and oh yeah, there is the smell of all of that delicious Italian food.

The reason you love this particular place is that it involves all of your senses—you can see it, touch it, smell it, taste it and hear it. You are much more likely to feel strongly about an experience when it involves all of your senses than when it does not. Involving the senses will create “anchors” in your customer’s minds regarding your business. When you take them out to lunch at a fabulous restaurant, while they may appreciate your gesture, they are “anchoring” the happy experience with the restaurant and not necessarily with you or with your company.

With this in mind, we decided we would stop taking our customers to lunch and begin inviting them to our office for those lunch meetings. We make it a point to have something that has a strong, delicious smell. As soon as the receptionist lets us know the customer has arrived we move into action. The table has already been set, the glasses filled wi