Having worked in software development for almost 15 years I’ve had quite a few “free lunches” over the years. Staffing and consulting companies have as many goodies in their swag bags as a pharma-rep with the next blockbuster drug and they’re usually more than happy to supply the team and office with a stack of pizzas.
There are a few reasons they like to do this:
- To build and strengthen the relationship with the client
- To keep their consultants happy
- To find out about the client’s upcoming projects
- To introduce themselves to other consultants for future recruitment
Aside from being free food, this is a chance for the team to kick back and talk about anything but work! The theme and tone is usually light and relaxed.
While this is a social event, it’s also a chance for the company to keep their ears peeled for opportunities to develop new business with the client. Make it all about business though and people will just clam up, grab their food and scurry back to their cubes. Instead the host should make mental notes to follow up on later directly.
Using social media to grow your business should be a lot like this. Going right for your prospective client’s jugular isn’t going to work and you’ll be wasting your time.
Introducing yourself and build a relationship should come before trying to seal the deal. As you go, collect tidbits of information along the way so when you see an opportunity you can explain how your services can help.
Just don’t forget once you’ve landed that great new client that they may have very hungry developers with a taste for pizza.