Las Vegas, NV
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Expense accounts continue to come under scrutiny as companies look to tighten their belts. Business Relationship Expert and award-winning author Robin Jay was quoted in Tuesday's Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper, following expense-account scandals at eHealth Ontario and, most recently, at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. As the author of "The Art of the Business Lunch: Building Relationships Between 12 and 2," Jay is often called upon to defend the validity of expense accounts and the importance of socializing with clients.
The article, written by Dave McGinn, stated, "The provincial government told Ontario's largest agencies to follow the same rules for wining and dining clients as the province's public service in an attempt to clamp down on lavish spending. Yet while spending shenanigans still clearly exist in agencies that operate at arm's length from the government, experts say most private-sector companies have strict policies governing expense accounts, adding that anyone with access to one probably treats it with caution these days."
Jay said, "It's a huge mistake for companies to cut their expense accounts significantly. People prefer to do business with people they like – and there is no better way to get to know someone than by breaking bread with them, socializing with them, and finding new ways that you can help them to do their job better. You just can't accomplish these goals in traditional office meetings." In the article, Jay warned, "Giving up an expense account means you are setting yourself up for your competition to move in and take over your business." Jay knows this is true because, according to her, she's done it. "I've been the one to win accounts from others because I make face time a priority."
Jay stresses the importance of securing valuable "face time" with your clients – whether over meals, networking, mixers, or even simple coffee meetings. "I've scored big in sales by being the one my clients see all the time. I've even had clients tell me that in spite of budget cuts, they are going to stick with me because I'm always there….taking them out to lunch and keeping them up-to-date while my competition was nowhere to be seen."
Jay adds, "It's essential to the success of any business that you take the necessary steps to build solid, productive, high-endurance relationships. The best way to do that is to socialize with your clients whenever possible. Now that I work for myself, I still entertain clients. As a small business owner, it sometimes puts a strain on my budget, but I appreciate the value of "quality time" with my clients, so I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is."
Increased scrutiny of expense accounts is to be expected as most companies are looking for anyplace where they can cut costs. But, according to Jay, having expense accounts is critical to the success of any business. Whether or not your sales reps or executives travel for business or are working locally, you tie their hands when you don't allow them to wine and dine your company's clients.
Jay is also a contributor to "The Power of the Platform: Speakers on Purpose," is an anthology from some of the world's top motivational speakers, due out later this month. In her chapter, "B Face 2 Face 4 Success," Jay shares how you can stretch even the smallest expense budget to get significant face time with clients. She recommends, "Make sure you are getting the best ROI (return on investment) for your networking and socializing dollars, by authenticating where your dollars are going to be spent. If your socializing budget is just $100 - $200 a month, determine ahead of time how to spend that to your utmost advantage. Your plan for the month might include a Chamber of Commerce breakfast, three morning coffee meetings, two lunches, and one cocktail mixer. $200 can go a long way toward gaining quality face time when you plan how to spend it effectively."
For more information, contact Robin Jay through the Las Vegas Convention Speakers Bureau. Robin@LVCSB.com
or call her at 702-460-1420.