I place a great deal of value on the business lunch. They’re versatile and enjoyable. You can use them to reward a valued associate, make plans with vendors, or build relationships with clients or prospective clients. They’re efficient, too. Everyone has to eat, right? 

Here are some business lunches that you may not have considered arranging as a way to improve yourself and your business. In no particular order of importance, these are just some of my favorites.

For starters, extend a lunch invitation to the senior executive from an industry association of which you are a member. Their regular interface with industry issues and other contractor-members gives them a unique perspective on your business. I’ve made a practice of doing this for years and these mini-meetings have always proven valuable.

It’s always a good idea for business folks to keep up with local politics. You should ring up your city or county councilperson or alderman for a lunch. You don’t need an agenda. Just kick off the conversation with a question, sit back and listen. Say what you want about politicians, they know a lot of people and they love to talk. You need them talking about you when the topic is roofing. And most politicians value the input of their constituents, especially job creators like you.

Asking a roof consultant out for a bite to eat for no particular reason could be the start of a beautiful relationship. You find out where their pain is and sooner or later you will be the one to help take it away. Roof consultants control a tremendous amount of work in this country and it’s often quality work performed with top-drawer clients. And, like association executives and politicians, they’ll value your input.

I hope you’re already in fellowship with your top building official(s). Some of these folks carry more sway than the politicians for whom they work. They come in all flavors and varieties, but they’re all human and all have to eat. Getting to know your building official, even on a casual basis, can become a very valuable resource. 

This next one may strike you as odd, but I know roofing contractors who’ve made a practice of meeting with other subcontractors for years. So take a plumbing contractor out for a nice lunch. Find a (non-roofing) contractor you know to be successful and strike up a relationship. You may find that you have much to learn from each other and, as you work in different channels, there is no competitive threat.

Last, but I hope not least, how about me? I plan to do some extensive traveling over the next several years, and I may be giving you a call. We can swap old war stories. In the meantime, how about joining me and the entire Roofing Contractor team for lunch at our Best of Success Conference in Marco Island, Fla. September 26 – 27? Learn more about how you can attend on pages 46 and 47 or online at BestofSuccessConference.com. Hope to see you there!