I’d like to buy you dinner


Client appreciation dinners are a great way to recognize your best clients and thank them for their loyalty. Basically, you invite them to a free dinner where you present awards and gifts, introduce them to other clients in their niche, and enjoy a good meal.

You might have guest speakers who may be willing to co-sponsor the event. You might invite your clients to bring guests. Or you might keep the evening information-free and pitch-free and just have a good time.

A Facebook friend of mine, a Realtor, mentioned his firm’s upcoming “Top Referring Client Appreciation Dinner.” I thought that was a smart variation on the idea because his clients have to do something to get invited to the dinner.

There’s a little competition involved. Clients hear about the event and want to come. After the dinner, they see photos on your website and do their best to get invited the following year. Those who do attend will work hard to make the guest list again the following year. They’ll also talk about the dinner to their friends and colleagues.

Of course, it also allows you to promote the subject of referrals to all of your clients by simply talking about the dinner in your newsletter.

When you recognize good behavior (referrals), you reinforce that behavior and it tends to be repeated. When you recognize that behavior publicly, many of those who didn’t get recognized (invited) will change their behavior so they can be included the next time.

The bottom line is that you get more referrals, not just from those who make the grade as “top referrers” but from all of your clients. Your top referrer may send you ten clients, but you may have 100 clients who send you one or two.

If you can’t or don’t want to do a client appreciation dinner (criminal defense lawyers, I’m talking to you), how about a dinner for professionals? Invite your best referral sources and recognize them for their efforts.

If a client or referral source appreciation dinner isn’t in your budget, consider a breakfast or luncheon. Or, invite your best referring client or referral source out to dinner, just the two of you, to say thank you for their support throughout the year. Next year, you can invite a few more.

Here’s another way to get more referrals