It seems simple enough. “Let’s do lunch and talk some business.” But without a plan of action on how to follow up after you’ve taken your last bite, you might end up with a prospect who falls off the grid.

A business lunch is a great business development tool, but it should be only one step in your sales process. Most clients are not going to be won over with one meal. Expect to be in it for the long haul. It may take months, if not years to cultivate and win a client.

Once you’ve had the opportunity to plant the seeds of a relationship with a business lunch, it’s crucial to nurture them to make them grow. Consider the following:

Stay in regular contact with your prospect by using a contact management system.

Find ways to stay on their radar that may be slightly “out of the box” such as sending invitations to unusual events (gallery openings, fundraisers, sporting events).

Demonstrate that you’re thinking of them by emailing articles and links that might be of interest.

Be a conduit to other people that might be of interest to your prospect. Facilitate introductions, so that you are viewed as a valuable resource.

Be patient and understand that persistent and intelligent outreach that is value-driven and not merely “touching base” will ultimately help you to convert a prospect into a client.

Author's Bio: 

Adrian Miller is the President of Adrian Miller Sales Training, a training and business consulting firm that she founded in 1989. Adrian Miller Sales Training designs and delivers executive-level strategic consulting and sales-level performance training for your unique business. As a recognized sales training expert, Adrian’s results-driven solutions go far beyond “theory” and “feel-good rhetoric.” Her vision is focused exactly on what you need: a sales force that is achieving more.

Adrian works with clients that range from Fortune 500 companies to small entrepreneurial firms. Her clients encompass a vast diversity of industries, including financial services, publishing, manufacturing, accounting, biotechnology, legal, healthcare and technology.

Adrian is a nationally recognized lecturer, a sought-after conference speaker, and an accomplished author of “The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success”. Frequently published in major business publications, her articles cover a broad range of sales-related topics.

A leading force in the local business community, Adrian is the President of Long Island Entrepreneurs’ Group and the Founder of BBN (Better Business Networking). An active community leader as well, Adrian volunteers her time working with many community and charitable organizations.