Since the dawn of time, the majority of the world’s major business has been conducted over lunch. That’s true. A lot of people don’t know this, but key provisions of the Louisiana Purchase were negotiated during excruciatingly long lunches. History repeats itself, folks, and there will come a time in the future where you have to pick a neutral location to make commerce happen. These are my five favorite spots to business at during lunch.
Lunch at the club isn’t just for old guys who want to lean back and sip gin & tonics while staring at the SportsCenter ticker while contemplating ways to leave their wives. Sure, there’s a lot of that, as well as affluent mommies in tennis skirts sipping chardonnay while their dickhead kids raise hell at school, but the club is also thriving with business. Country clubs are safe spaces for closers. Everyone knows that. When you walk through the doors and are immediately greeted by some pimple-faced dweeb who’s trying to pay his way through college waiting on you hand and foot, you can’t help but let your guard down. That’s why it’s a great option for commerce. No need to worry about the bullshit, because you’ve got home field advantage. You know where the power tables are and which seat is located directly under the vent that blows out ice cold air.
And don’t be afraid to agree to a meeting at their club. If they want this sit down to be on their turf, let them know you’re not rattled by happily agreeing to it. Business is unpredictable, and sometimes it’s important to hone your skills by stepping outside of your comfort zone. Plus, you can tell a lot about your counterpart by how much or how little they berate the waitress.
If you’re serious about being a rain maker in your industry, it’s absolutely imperative that you have a go-to high-end steakhouse. Think Perry’s, Bob’s, Nick and Sam’s or Benny’s. Basically any spot with the namesake of some dude who probably fucks will work. Don’t let the prospect of a bill that will be north of two-hundo scare you away, because it’s pay to play, baby. You wanna run with the bulls? Well you better be prepared to drop 48 dollars on an 8 oz. filet. Those are the rules.
But don’t let the high dollar stuff fool you; this isn’t just a chance for you to play grab ass and eat a good meal on the company dime while you cross the t’s and dot the lower-case j’s. This is about channeling your primal instinct during what will undoubtedly be a knock-down-drag-out deal. Closers eat meat. Zach Morris’s dad? Probably loves a good t-bone. Dwight Schrute? Enjoys every part of the goose because of its delicious, smoky, rich flavor. Bill Brasky? Got his wife pregnant and she gave birth to a delicious 16-ounce steak. The combination of red meat and a relaxed dark ambiance will bring out the best in all parties at the table.
You might think that the last place you’d want to business with someone is a coffee shop. After all, they’re filled with blogger scum and shitty young adult novel writing trash, and those “people” aren’t exactly movers and shakers. Odds are you’ll be so repulsed by the lack of success that surrounds you at this hipster turd hole that you’ll be doing whatever you can to make things as quick and painless as possible, and that’s exactly why coffee shops are a very formidable option.
Face it: your calendar is a goddam nightmare. You can’t reschedule that 2 o’clock for a third time. You don’t have time for smalltalk and pleasantries, and that’s the beauty of a coffee shop. Nothing about it says, “Oh, I’d love to hang out here for awhile.” Combine that atmosphere with freshly brewed-free-range-ethical-fair trade compliant closer juice, and the deals will basically close themselves.
Sometimes the life of a big dog can get a little monotonous. Rise, grind, rinse, repeat. That’s why sometimes I reach deep into my pitching repertoire and toss a slow curveball just to watch the other guy’s knees buckle. For me, there’s no better way to do that than scheduling something at America’s favorite buffet pizza joint, Cici’s. Depending on your objective, this can be a great way to get inside a foe’s head. When your assistant hits send on that calendar invite, it’s fucking on. You’re about to find out how badly this young man or woman wants to do a deal, and their desperation only means goods things for you. “If you wanna do a deal real bad, you’re gonna do a real bad deal. – T. Boone Pickens” – Dave
I’ve often said that you never truly know someone until you’ve been to an all-you-can-eat establishment, and Cici’s is the gold standard. With so many variations of pizza, you could legitimately sit there all day and not try everything. Remember that your objective isn’t to gorge on delicious Alfredo pizza, it’s to assess how your prospective business partners react to a high-stress target rich environment. Did they play it safe and only try the pepperoni? You may want to rethink this partnership, chief. It’s 2016, and diversity reigns supreme, baby.
Here’s the truth: your boss, and your boss’s boss, probably partake in the occasional gentleman’s club lunch. It’s a dirty little secret that I’m here to blow the lid off of. Boom. Just blew the lid off of it.
Now that you know the truth, you should think about how you can use this to your advantage. If you’re dick-deep in some particularly contentious negotiations, a change of scenery may work wonders towards a resolution. Depending on what level of sleaze your counterpart is, you could really take advantage of the situation and turn some heads around your office. Here’s the move: show up, eat lunch, do business and leave. Other than your waitress, pay no attention to the dancers. None. Don’t gawk, comment, or even acknowledge their existence. Think Michael Corleone when he went to visit Cuba in Godfather 2. This will let everyone know that you’re a big league cutter, and nude women have no effect on you whatsoever. Stay focused, and let them get distracted. .
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