Client Entertaining – Do you need alcohol to connect?

Don’t worry you aren’t forgotten. I still talk about you and I’m reminded of your existence every day. The thing is unless I quit my job and live under a rock you will always be there. I’m not trying to run away from you, I’m trying to stand up to you.

Monday morning sales meeting and the pressure is intense. The market is competitive and I have to stand out from my competitors to be successful. Sales is fast paced and if I am not out in the industry networking and reaching out to new clients I have no hope. I know what I am up against. Most sales managers are entertaining clients every night of the week, schmoozing over wine and cocaine until early hours of the morning.

It wasn’t long ago that sales manager was me. Long lunches, late night drinking and the dread of knowing I had to be at work the following day. Those early morning alarms where I have only had two hours sleep still make me shudder. When I finally did manage to get to work, I looked like shit and I stunk of booze. I could hardly string a sentence together and I was exhausted. It didn’t end there, this would continue for three days, post client event. Every time I justified to myself that it was worth it. It was worth using alcohol to break down the barriers with a client so we could connect. I was so willing to make myself physically and mentally sick for three days to build a relationship with a human being. When did I start thinking like this?

I remember when I was young I’d go to parties and school dances with my friends. We would spend our holidays at the beach, explore the local mall, watch movies and have sleepovers. I was an only child so I was always meeting new kids and making new friends. Except back then I didn’t need alcohol to connect with people. It wasn’t until I was fifteen that I got introduced to booze and like everyone else I got addicted to the way it made me feel. I also liked that alcohol brought everyone together and allowed us to be our true selves. It felt like we were creating special bonds between each other. But looking back I realised I had already created those bonds and I was always myself before I had ever taken that first sip of alcohol.

This reliance on alcohol to connect with people isn’t real and has nearly ruined me a few times. I don’t need it, I already get energised off people’s energy and have since a young age. I love conversing and learning to enjoy what someone has to offer. Being sober I give people my true self not a person that doesn’t give a shit and can hardly stay engaged longer than ten minutes. One of the main reasons I hadn’t became sober sooner was because I wasn’t confident enough to think that people wouldn’t like me or want to do business with me without alcohol. I had to realise that my success is not from alcohol it’s from me. Why would I let alcohol take credit for that?

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