bon vi·vant and business development
noun ˌbän-vē-ˈvänt, ˌbōⁿ-vē-ˈväⁿ
: a person having cultivated, refined, and sociable tastes especially with respect to food and drink
Bon vivant in French quite literally means good liver, which makes me love the phrase even more for some odd reason.
For me a bon vivant is someone who tells me where to have really good pizza when I’m in Chicago or where I should go to buy cool vintage jewelry, find local art, or get really great tea. These guys and gals about town share their inside knowledge about everything from books to business services to the best websites; in short they know how to live well and are enthusiastic about sharing what they know. But what does this have to do with business or making money? Everyone appreciates information about special experiences. When you share this kind of information you create a connection. People are always asking about building relationships, well this is one of the things when authentically shared, creates interest and connectivity.
Do you know how many cities I’ve been in where someone has suggested the Macaroni Grill for dinner or a shopping mall for great shopping? I want to find a treasure. I want a recommendation of a restaurant where you’re on a first name basis with the bartender and there’s a great appetizer that I MUST order although it’s not on the menu. I want to know about a book that changed your life or your favorite TED talk or a place that makes great craft cocktails. Taking clients to the Opera or a box at a sports game is one avenue for business development, but truly unique experiences require creativity and thought. If you want to develop a relationship with a potential client consider delivering the unexpected.
Special experiences don’t need to be expensive. Your particular worldview and inside information can be simple. Where’s the best place to park if I go to a baseball game downtown? Where should I go to watch the sunset in your city? Where’s the best happy hour? These aren’t particularly fancy things, but sharing them with people invites a kind of depth to the relationship that makes you memorable.
If you come to San Diego go to Craft and Commerce in Little Italy for interesting cocktails, but the best mules are at the Starlite Lounge on the other side of the freeway. If you want a great cheap steak go to the Turf Club in Golden Hill. It’s a bit of a dive, but the food is cheap and you grill your own steak and the wallpaper has been there since the 1950s. For great coffee served by lovely Italians go to Pappalecco in HIllcrest or Little Italy. And if you want to do something interesting for your kid’s birthday I’ll connect you to my client who does garden parties for kids, fairy gardens, veggie gardens, you name it! Even cool garden parties for adults.
You know a million things that are completely and utterly unique to you. When you share them, you’ll find that people will remember you and value your singular perspective. I would love to know your favorite restaurant in Atlanta, what you like to buy clients as a gift or your favorite pen to use. I’ll appreciate and catalogue every tidbit with extraordinary delight and care and I’ll remember exactly where I got the recommendation.