How To Entertain Your Business Clients

If you work in business, and particularly if you run your own company, there will probably be times when big clients come to see you. When this happens, they may choose to stay overnight, and ideally, you will want to arrange some entertainment for them to ensure that they think well of you and enjoy their stay. The better you look after these important clients, the more work they can potentially give to your business, so it is certainly something to bear in mind. If you are worried about the prospect of entertaining your clients and you’re not sure where to start or what to do, here are some ideas on how to keep them happy.

Have A Plan

The first most important element of entertaining big, important clients is that you should have a plan in advance. Simply taking them out for a meal and then being unsure what to do next isn’t something that will endear you to them, especially if you promised them a fun evening full of entertainment. Make sure you have a full itinerary planned and ensure that anything that needs to be booked in advance is secured. The last thing you want to do is arrive at a venue to find that it is already full – if you have no backup plan, the evening could end on an early and rather sour note.

Ask Them

Once you know that you are taking someone (or more than one person) out for a good evening, it can be a good idea to check with them to see what they like or what they want to do. They may have a favourite restaurant, or they may love trying new cocktails, for example. Perhaps they want you to hire company for the evening, and you can find out more about hiring here. The key is to keep your client happy and to do what you can to facilitate them. If you want to show them something different, then add that into the mix too. It will always help if you can research them first so that you can take them to places they are sure to enjoy. 

Don’t Talk About Work

It may seem like an odd point to make, but talking about work and your business can be off-putting for your client. They already know what it is you do and how they benefit from it, and although you will often have a reason for taking your client out and showing them a good time (you may want them to upgrade their contract, or sign on for another year, for example) talking about it just isn’t fun. There is plenty of time for that during meetings, so steer clear of work talk if you possibly can. Entertain your clients is about creating a relationship so that future deals are easier, not about focusing on one imminent deal that needs to be finalised.

Don’t Do Business

Just as it’s important not to talk about business with your client or supplier during the evening, it’s also important not to talk about business with anything else either. Your phone might ring, you might get an email, but that doesn’t mean you should answer it or reply unless it’s extremely urgent. Taking time away from your guest to talk to someone else about business is rude and unprofessional, and is not going to look good in your client’s eyes, especially if they are left alone while you do it. Ideally, you should turn your phone off completely and concentrate on making sure your client has a fabulous time. You can also leave a voicemail or out of office email auto-reply that explains that you can’t answer right now but that you will as soon as possible.

Keep The Receipts

Entertaining business clients, partners, or suppliers might be fun, but it’s not the same as going out with friends and family, and it is possible to claim some or all of the money you spend back again when it comes time to submit your accounts. Make sure you keep all the receipts to send to your accountant, or if you choose to do your accounts yourself keep them in a safe place until you need them. This could save you a lot of money.

Listen When They Talk

Not everyone is a good listener, but when it comes to taking a client out for dinner or to a club, or anywhere else that they want to go, listening is all important. You’ll find out a lot about how they work this way, even though you’re not going to be talking about business. You’ll also be able to work out how to approach requests and queries in the future if you listen carefully to what they are saying in the present. Gaining as much information as you possibly can is hugely useful and can stand you in good stead as your relationship goes on. Plus, if the client knows you are happy to listen, they will think better of you in general.


Just because you are going out for an evening of entertainment, it doesn’t mean that you have to drink a huge amount (even if your client decides to). Drinking too much can lead to all kinds of problems including saying the wrong thing. Remember that even though you’re not in the office, this is still a business meeting of sorts, and not an evening out with friends. A professional demeanour at all times is essential to maintain an air of professionalism no matter what.

Remember Your Manners

If you know that you eat too fast or that your table manners leave something to be desired if you know that you can forget to say please and thank you at times, or any number of other small points that make up good manners, make sure you practice before you go out. Ask a friend or partner what they would suggest, and have them go through the evening with you. Your guest should be seated before you are, and they should choose the wine you’re having with dinner, for example. Napkins go on the lap and not in the collar. There are dozens of small things to remember, but they can make a big difference when you’re trying to make a good impression.


Pete White Pete White

Love Shrewsbury editor and chief developer at The Web Orchard, find out more on

Read More from Pete White