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Buy a packet of chocolate biscuits of Course!

Tuesday was hot and Pete was worried about the packet of chocolate biscuits he’d bought from Tesco’s.  Were they going to melt?  He looked at them as they sat there on the plate, looking back at him, daring him to take them to the fridge!  The office didn’t have air conditioning, and the air floating around felt like hot air from a stove turned on at 100*C.

The meeting was starting in 15 minutes.  The coffee was percolating in the lunch room.  The smells of roasted coffee were wafting on the air waves into the meeting room.

Jim arrived and the introductions were made.   “Morning Pete, I’m Jim.  It’s nice to meet you”

Pete held out his hand and shook Jim’s.  It was a solid firm handshake, a good start thought Pete.

“Hey Jim, welcome, it’s great to be able to have you to our office.  As promised, I have the chocolate biscuits!  Oh, and the coffee is brewing.  I think you said on the phone, white with no sugar, is this correct?”

“Good memory Pete” said Jim, “That is exactly right.

Pete went and got the piping hot brew. He and Jim settled down for their meeting.

The biscuits went down a treat.

“Pete, I’ve never had anyone put biscuits on the table when I have come to a meeting – especially not chocolate ones – thanks!”

“You’re welcome Jim, it’s just something we do and gives me a great excuse to have chocolate biscuits with my morning coffee, because I just blame you for any weight gain!”   Jim laughed, and they both got down to business.

Pete outlined the offering and proposal to Jim.   The meeting and discussion were fluid with great questions from Jim eliciting deep thought processes from Pete, to the questions he asked.

However, at the end of the meeting Jim decided not to take the business proposal any further.

Again, Pete liked Jim’s firm handshake when they parted company.

Pete was frustrated that he hadn’t been able to close the sale and reflected back on what he may have been able to do better.  He then let it rest and he thought nothing more of the proposal, but just every now and then just kept in touch with Jim.

Detaching himself from the outcome was a lesson learnt by Pete a long time ago.

13 months later, Pete received an unexpected e-mail from Jim.  It popped up the screen like a flash of light.  Jim wanted another meeting.

Did Pete have time in his diary to schedule it.  Jim needed Pete to come to his office as he needed to talk with him about a new proposal he had been pondering on.

Pete arrived at the office and was ushered into a lovely meeting room.   The table and chairs were a deep mahogany.  On the walls were 4 paintings of Warship’s in full sail, at the Battle of Trafalgar.  Warmth and light streamed into the room from 2 top to bottom glass windows.

Pete again put down on the table, the packet of chocolate biscuits he had bought with him for the meeting.

Jim walked in.  “Ah, good afternoon Pete,” and thrust his hand out to shake Pete’s.   Pete again marvelled at the firmness of the handshake.

“Oh goodness’”, said Jim, “I see you have brought the chocolate biscuits again for our meeting.  Do you provide gym membership to your clients as well!?”

“Jim,” said Pete.  “I think it is the little things that count in business. Chocolate biscuits are especially one of those little big things, that should be ‘Business Essentials’ for any meeting!”

“Too true, Pete, too true. Since our last meeting images of those biscuits keep flashing up in my head like a lightbulb turning on and off, so I’m not surprised you have brought them.   Look Pete, I’ve been thinking about you often, and our initial discussion over the last year or so.   I’ve been following your posts on-line and reading your articles.  I like them, in fact I like them a lot.  Can you resurrect that proposal you gave me last year; we need to do some business?  I do have some fundamental changes though.”

“Sure Jim.”  And with that Pete and Jim chatted again about how Pete could help Jim’s company.

At the end of the meeting, Jim signed the proposal wanting Pete to come and run a series of Elie Specialist Leadership programmes in the business to bring the line manager’s up to spec so they would be in line with Jim’s vision for his business.

On the way home from the meeting, Pete reflected on what the ROI was from those packets of biscuits he had taken to both meetings.  So, he pulled to the side of the road and pulled out his notepad and pen and began writing.

Cost of:

Biscuits:                                         £4 – two x packets of

LinkedIn Membership – Annual:      £888 – where Jim had first met Pete

Hourly meeting rate:                       £1004, two x hours @ 502 per hour


Investment for programme:       £14,997

Pete popped his calculator onto his lap and started to tap some numbers in.  The ROI thrust him back in his seat as thought he had been punched in the stomach.

ROI =791%    From 2 packets of biscuits!

Oh, my goodness!  Pete sat in the car and marvelled at what the numbers were telling him.  He reflected on how such a small gesture of providing a packet of chocolate biscuits on occasion at each meeting could have such a profound impact on being remembered by a prospective client.

This is a great marketing strategy he thought.  I must do this more often!

Nine months later, once the programme was completed, Jim asked to speak with Pete again.

Pete of course went and bought the obligatory packet of biscuits that he and Jim always had at each meeting when they discussed business over coffee.

“Pete, we’ve had real success with the programme,” said Jim.  “The managers have enjoyed it, and they say they have noticed the difference in their work peers, in their behaviour and attitude.  I have noticed the difference in each manager, which they probably don’t realise themselves.”

“I would like you to do another programme but this time on a one to one basis with a particular manager I have here.  He is totally different to the other managers.  I can see the potential in him, and I need to chisel off the rough edges.  Do you think the same programme would work or would it be a different programme?”

“Jim, based on what you’ve told me, this programme needs to be totally different and bespoke to this particular manager,” said Pete.  “I’ll put together another proposal for you to consider.   How does that sound?”

Two weeks later, Jim accepted the new proposal.    Pete again took out his notepad and pen and did the ROI calculations.

Cost of:

Biscuits:  1 packet of                               £2

Hourly rate:  1.5 hours @£502 p/h

Meeting and proposal                          £753.



Investment for programme:               £8997

ROI = 1192% from 1 packet of biscuits.

Combined ROI = 1005%:

Again, Pete reflected on how the little things in marketing can make such a big difference in business and building relationships.

Doing Business is about getting the little things right and making a really good impression with a client.  1 packet of chocolate biscuits initially led to being remembered which led to a friendship with Jim, and a great understanding of his business and a management team that are aligned with the vision and journey that Jim is on.

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