Corporate Hospitality

Day off work; here I sit high up in the stands, 37 degrees outside. Corporate box. Food, drink, great view of the game, enjoying a bit of corporate hospitality. Am I being softened up for a sale, thanked for previous work or both? And should that matter?

It’s certainly true that relationships are the lifeblood of business in the western world, and treating clients to gifts at Christmas, a lunch to say thanks or a day out at a sporting event often goes hand in hand. Other cultures might look at this and think you were ‘buying favours’, and in some cases that might be true. For my part, I have always found that being thanked in this way makes a nice impression, but has not overly influenced my decision to go with one provider or another. When I have reciprocated to my clients, it has been a genuine thank you to them for their support, and sometimes (say over a lunch) a chat about what we do and what we could do better.

It can sometimes backfire. I remember a Melbourne real estate agent telling me how their local newspaper advertising account manager had been in to see them to explain the new year’s rate rises. The agent almost blew his top and basically showed the rep the door, during which the rep blurted out “but I’ll take you to the footy!” to which came the reply “I don’t want to go to the footy with you!”. Ouch.

About the author

Charlie has spent more than 20 years in Perth’s tech and startup sector, firstly as a founder himself, through to exit, and more recently as a writer, advisor and investor. Originally from the UK, Charlie worked in Singapore before arriving in Perth in 1997 to do an MBA at UWA. Graduating as top student in 1999 he set up online real estate business aussiehome.com, running it for 10 years before selling to REIWA, whereupon Charlie ran reiwa.com. In 2013, he moved to Business News to lead their digital transformation as CEO, and then worked for the federal government’s Accelerating Commercialisation program, funding pre-revenue startups and innovative businesses. He now works in an advisory capacity for multiple tech and other businesses, is managing editor of Startup News and co-host of the Startup West podcast. He also writes a column for Business News on startups. Charlie sits on the advisory boards of WA Leaders, TEDxPerth, WAITTA, the Perth Symphony Orchestra, and the full board of Rise Network.

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