Whether you’re hoping to obtain a prospective sale or want to treat one of your long term clients, taking them out for a day or evening of entertainment is sure to impress.  There are tons of different entertainment ideas, and which is best for you will depend on your budget, the time you have available, and the relationship you have with your client.  In this article, we’re going to take a look at some great options to help you decide.

1. Cocktail Making

Nothing will relax both you and your client better than an afternoon or evening spent cocktail making.  Not only will you both get to mix and enjoy some delicious drinks, but you’ll also have a great conversation starter.  If you want to make a night of it, you could enjoy a cocktail making class at the beginning of the evening and then go on to a restaurant to discuss your businesses.  Either way, this is a great idea for business owners who are slightly nervous and want to entertain their clients in a structured way.

2. A Day on the Greens

Although golf is historically considered to be a gentleman’s sport, it’s something that people of all ages, and from all backgrounds, enjoy.  You could take your client out for a full day on the greens, or you could simply visit the driving range and practice your swing.  If your client is a keen golfer and you’re a bit worried about your talent, it’s worth using a golf swing analyzer to help you improve before the meeting.  These can be easily bought online and have made a large difference to many people’s games.

3. Fly Fishing

Another full day activity, fly fishing is as relaxing as it is competitive.  The US and Canada are home to some fabulous fly fishing locations, many of which are home to trophy sized trout.  All you need to get started is a tackle box and a rod too, so there’s hardly any equipment involved.  That said, if you are a novice, it is worth hiring a guide to take you to some of the best places and show you the ropes.  Hopefully, though, you’ll be able to entertain your client on your own, and discuss business in between reeling in the big boys.

4. Movie Fun

Some clients are huge film junkies and love nothing more than heading to the movies and catching the latest flicks.  If this sounds true of your client, consider booking premium seats for the latest movie, or, if you can afford it, netting some tickets to an upcoming film festival.  The only thing to keep in mind about this entertainment idea is that there won’t be any time to discuss business while you’re watching a film.  So, make sure to ensure there is enough time, either before or after the film, to meet for a few drinks or a meal and talk business then.

5. Watch a Game

Everyone loves a good sporting event – even if they’re not that knowledgeable about the sport in general, the whole experience can be tons of fun.  If you live in a city where there are regular sporting events, consider booking premium seats for you and your client.  You could also consider booking a VIP or corporate box if you can afford to.  Order some drinks, some great food, and enjoy the atmosphere.  You’ll get bonus points if you know which team your client supports and can obtain tickets to watch them.

6. Head to the Slopes

Most locations in the US are close to ski slopes, and this can be an especially fun winter activity.  Book a day on the slopes and enjoy some active fun.  If you do happen to live somewhere like New York City and can’t visit the slopes just for a day, it’s worth making a weekend out of it.  This will enable you to have fun during the day, and discuss business during the evenings.  A weekend trip will also show your client how important they are to you.

7. Conduct a Personal Tour

If you’re working to a budget, and have a client visiting you from out of town, it can be a lot of fun to give them a personal tour of your city.  This is pretty much free (you’ll just have to pay for gas), and can not only be a lot of fun for your client, but can also be educational for them as well.  Where applicable, you can also show them the impact that your business has had on the local community.

8. Place Your Bets

If you are entertaining a few clients at once, it can be a great idea to head to a local casino.  Enjoy a few games on the slot machines, and then head to a table for an evening of poker.  Not only is this quite a competitive game, but you’ll be able to learn more about your clients through the way they act.  Are they good at bluffing, or can you see straight through them?  This will help you massively when it comes to negotiating later.

9. Fine Dining

If your client is quite reserved in nature, they may appreciate nothing more than an evening at a fine dining restaurant.  Most locations have these, but if you know of a location that serves fantastic food, and where all the staff know your name, you’re sure to impress.  Ask for a private table if you can, and make sure you reserve it ahead of time so you’re not left embarrassed on the night.  You’ll get bonus points if you know your clients favorite cuisine, and can take them somewhere where they can enjoy it.

10. Happy Families

If you know your client has a family that they don’t like leaving at home, and you are in a similar situation, it can be a good idea to suggest bringing the families along.  Not only can this help to make the meeting a lot more personal, but it can be a lot of fun for everyone involved.  When doing this, though, it’s a good idea to plan the entertainment in advance and ask your client what his/her family enjoys doing.  This way, you can pick activities that everyone will love.  There’s nothing worse than meeting up with a client’s family and everyone being bored.

11. Wine Tasting

If you live close by to a vineyard, it can be lots of fun to take a client out for a day of wine tasting.  You’ll be swirling, sniffing, and slipping in unison, as you discuss your favorite drinks.  And, even if you don’t live close to a vineyard, most cities have wine tasting events where you can do a similar thing.  Just make sure that you have some form of chauffeured transport home if you are going to take part in this!

12. Art Gallery Fun

Again, this is probably only going to be an option for you if you live in a city, but if you are entertaining a client who you know loves his art, visiting a gallery can be a great networking idea.  Most galleries have events or exhibitions on throughout the year, which can help to make a previously visited location more interesting.  Make sure to check what is on in your area, and see if you can purchase any premium tickets to make the event more special.

13. Everyone on Board!

If you run a big business, and are rich enough to own your own private yacht (or know someone who does), it’s definitely worthwhile arranging to take your client out for a spin.  There’s nothing more relaxing than an afternoon on the open water, and you’re sure to impress with your talent.  Plus, if you pack a cooler full of drinks and food, you’ll have everything you need for an afternoon at sea.  You’ll also have plenty of time to discuss business in a private location.

14. Make it Charitable

Another idea is to invite a client to a charity event that you are participating in.  This could be anything from a sponsored hike up a mountain, to a charity cycle ride.  Try and think of a way to make the event memorable, while also showing your client that you have a human side and care about others in your community.  It’s incredibly easy to have a lot of fun while helping others at the same time, and a quick browse online should bring up plenty of options in your locale.

Most people take their clients out for lunch and a few drinks.  And, while this can be enjoyable, it’s not exactly memorable, and it’s almost expected.  Instead of doing this, consider one of the above instead.  All of these ideas are creative, and sure to be lots of fun for all involved.  Just remember to consider your client, his personality and what he likes to do in his spare time before booking something he will hate.

By Eddy

Eddy is the editorial columnist in Business Fundas, and oversees partner relationships. He posts articles of partners on various topics related to strategy, marketing, supply chain, technology management, social media, e-business, finance, economics and operations management. The articles posted are copyrighted under a Creative Commons unported license 4.0. To contact him, please direct your emails to [email protected].