Author Interview: Robin Jay, author of THE ART OF THE BUSINESS LUNCH

Our special guest author today is Robin Jay, author of THE ART OF THE BUSINESS LUNCH (Career Press, 2006)!

Robin Jay is a past President of Las Vegas Women in Communications, and has served on the Board of Directors for several organizations including the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (JDF) and The Advertising Community Talent Show (ACTS). She has written articles for Forbes.com, Hospitality Executive Magazine and What's On Magazine, and has also written ad copy for such clients as the MGM Grand Hotel and the Sahara Hotel & Casino. She has been awarded the WIC Electronic Media Award for Radio Account Executive of the Year. Ms. Jay enjoys playing golf, singing and is a gourmet cook. She lives in Las Vegas , Nevada with her dog Georgie.

You can visit her website at http://www.robinjay.com/ and her blog at www.robinjay.com/ blog.

Welcome to The Writer’s Life, Robin! Would you give us a brief synopsis of what your book is about?

Sure! It’s about building solid, long-lasting, PRODUCTIVE business relationships. It’s about introducing a social aspect into your business relationships as a means of getting to know your clients better and to actually build friendships with them. You’ll find more success in your business life and more joy in your personal life when you become involved with your clients.

Why did you choose to write about business lunches?

I sold advertising for more than 18 years. During that time, I personally hosted more than 3,000 client lunches…and my sales increased by more than 2,000%! I knew I was on to something and I wanted to share my knowledge and experience with others. Also, I discovered that people aren’t made to feel very special anymore; everything is so fast-paced and most people are under so much pressure to perform. By taking them out to lunch and making it all about them, they will feel special and enjoy their time with you. And people prefer to do business with people they like.

I was reading your book last night and I have to say I was very intrigued with it because as a small business owner, there are many tips inside that would even apply to me in my marketing plan for Pump Up Your Book Promotion and one of the tips was knowing what your customers want. How would you suggest I go about finding out what my customers want besides coming out and asking them or is that basically what I should do?

Absolutely you can ask them…but it’s better if you already know. Put yourself in their shoes. Just like you and I discovered that business blogs might drive more business my way than a writer’s blog, you need to imagine what would best serve your customers. No two customers are the same, so don’t treat them like they are. There is nothing wrong with asking them what their goals are for a tour. It’s really similar to taking an order in a restaurant. Are you expected to know that I’m in the mood for a burger, read my mind and then show up with one, cooked just the way I like it? Not at all! However, if I order a burger, and you ask me how I would like it, you might suggest that I try it with avocado, grilled onions or whatever the house specialty is. The same thing is true of business. Clients or customers come to you because they want what you have…but they don’t know the details. They don’t know exactly what you are capable of doing for them. That is where communication is key. You need to ask them what they want and then offer different solutions for their needs. It’s never just about money…it’s always about VALUE!

I especially love the part where you said, "Sharing a meal with others is one of the fastest ways to get to know them." Can you give us an example of this?

The BEST way to get to know someone is by playing golf with them. You will find out if they cheat, lie or if they are fun and sportsman-like. But not everyone plays golf. Lunch is the next best thing. In a social setting, people let their guard down. They forget you are looking. They may get drunk or careless…they may be indiscreet. It’s up to you to keep their confidences and be a friend to them. They will always appreciate your discretion and your compassion.

Does it matter which restaurant you choose for your business lunch?

Absolutely. You have so much riding on a business lunch why not stack the deck in your favor? Choose a restaurant that caters to a business diner. These are steak houses, higher-end restaurants…or even a great Chinese restaurant in a strip mall. You need to discover great restaurants for business lunches when out with your friends. I have a Top 10 list of criteria to look for in choosing the right restaurant for a business lunch in my book. It lists things like location, A/V capabilities, menu, price and service. Then make a list of those restaurants, organize them geographically, and have that list ready when you call to make a lunch date.

How about ordering? Does it matter what you order?

Yes! Avoid ordering foods that are challenging to eat! You know the list: big burgers, red sauce on pasta, ribs, etc. If you think you might end up wearing it, order something ELSE! You can’t do business with a big stain on your shirt or tie!

How about alcohol? Allowed or not allowed?

I talk about this a LOT in my book. Basically, it’s follow the leader. NEVER EVER drink when your client is not drinking. People get sloppy with a drink or two. I try to limit alcohol to one drink. Be prepared so that if your client wants a second drink, you are ready to put on the brakes. Perhaps you have a meeting later, are working on budgets, or other task that will require you to be sharp. Say, “Maybe next time, but I have a big meeting I have to get ready for this afternoon.” Being prepared is the key to everything about the business lunch.

Why should you never pay for a business lunch with cash?

Think about the last time your friend offered to buy lunch with cash. Did you insist on chipping in or ask to get the tip? A credit card is authoritative. It says, “I’ve got it!” without weakness.

Why do you have to stop eating when everyone else stops eating?

It’s awkward to have one person at a table eating when everyone else is done. Get your food to go or just forget about it. Don’t make your clients wait on you while you graze away. If YOU finish before your client, then slow down. You don’t want them to feel rushed. You really need to pace yourself so that you keep up with them as best as possible.

What kind of research did you have to put into the writing of THE ART OF THE BUSINESS LUNCH?

As I said, I’ve been on more than 3,000 client lunches. That’s a LOT of research! Then there was the writing aspect which, as a first-timer, was a real education. From the Maui Writer’s Conference to the Book Expo America to every book I could find on writing an publishing, I’ve had a heck of an education.

You are published by CareerPress. Can you tell us a little bit about them and what kind of manuscripts they are accepting?

They specialize in business, non-fiction. Check out their website at www.CareerPress.com to see their list. “How to Work for an Idiot” and “The Secrets of Power Negotiating” are on their list of titles.

What's next for Robin Jay? More books?

Absolutely! I’m totally hooked on writing. I know I was meant to do this, and I have a lot to share. My next book is about going outside your comfort zone in order to achieve more.

I thank you for coming, Robin. Your book is absolutely wonderful and I will be giving it a full review at Pump Up Your Book Promotion Galleria of Books. Meanwhile, can you tell my readers where they can get a copy?

Thank you, Dorothy. My book is available wherever books are sold…but if your readers would like a SIGNED copy OR an audio book, they need to come to my site at http://www.robinjay.com/.

Tags: the writer's life, book promotion, book publicity, author interviews, blogging authors, guest blog, guest bloggers, book blog, virtual book tour, online book promotion, Robin Jay
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