Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Partner - Risk Management
Executive - Sales Administation
Asso.prof.(commerce & Management) Pg
Retired From Air India
Talent Acquisition Expert
Great! Your RMs are lucky to be tippled by their clients! There is lot to envy about their job!
Ok. Humour apart, your company appears to have been confused between "business call' and "general discussion". What brings you more business, former or latter? First decided on that count. Why do RMs visit their clients? Possibly to provide financial advice? Let the discussion be revolved around the financial investment and let your RMs leave the place.
Your RMs need to handle this matter professionally. If some client insists on taking drinks, they can be told politely "No'. Please note that liquor is such a liquid that makes one to spill the beans! In Hindi it can be said that Dil ki baat hote pe aati hai. Today it is just a peg or two of wine but these high and mighty people may go further also. Can you control this through HR Policies?
Psychology of rich is very different. Imagine for a while some RM is lured to become an agent and told to bring vital information from the business rival. If the project succeeds, the RM could be showered with some investment. Company will also become happy but you could be setting a dangerous precedent!
No need to make a policy as such on consumption of liquor. Since RMs role is advisory, its sanctity must be cherished. Nevertheless, in rarest of rare case they may consume a tot or two but such consumption must be reported on the same day or on the next day.
3rd April 2015 From India, Bangalore
This is happening in everywhere regarding for business approval among with clients and Corporate companies. But we have to bring some restriction for drinking Alcohol consumption with clients because of they should not suffer by health problem as well as company should not go to de-growth .
3rd April 2015 From India, Mumbai
Enforcing this policy means that the RM's can't claim reimbursement for the liquor or alcoholic beverage.
And don't call them Relationship Managers. Maybe portfolio managers? or advisers or something appropriate.
Hope this helps.
3rd April 2015 From India, Mumbai
4th April 2015 From India, New Delhi
5th April 2015 From India, Mumbai
Treating people as adults does not mean that organisation can leave everything to maturity of employees.
This financial services organisation should clearly spell out no drinking with clients if meeting for an official discussion.
Every one has a different capacity to hold drinks.
The organisation cannot be expected to rely on any officials capacity to hold drinks and should frame a general rule for such interactions.
If client calls for a purely social interaction then off course we can leave it to maturity of officials to behave consistent with organisation culture.
5th April 2015 From India, Pune
Your post implies that whether to take drinks or not should be left to the discretion of the RM. Nevertheless, organisations cannot run on individual's discretion. Objective of laying down rules and regulations is to bring uniformity in the behaviour amongst all the staff members. There is every possibility of difference in the interpretation of the phrases like "discretion" or "maturity". What if under the garb of "maturity", RMs start fulfilling their boozing instincts?
I have seen MNCs wherein the employees are not allowed to accept any gifts. Going further, these MNCs do not allow employees to accept even new year diaries from the suppliers or customers. However, the poster of this post, i.e. Aparna has asked about liquor. This is a far more personalised offer. Let us not forget the difference between "tea" and "wine". Former is a part and parcel of Indian's daily life but not latter.
The actual problem is not about acceptance of offer of liquor. The actual problems lies in not having business like approach by the RMs. Offering advice on managing funds is a highly cerebral activity. This would require understanding risk appetite of the customer and matching it with the right product.
If the quality is advice is of superior level then there is no need to satisfy the client by accepting a peg or two. There is a difference between "customer delight" and "customer appeasement". A customer can be delighted even if the service is provided is within the parameters of service. To delight a customer, employees need to go extra mile. Nevertheless, that extra mile should not lead to regalement. Otherwise that extra mile could bring extra problems in its wake. Let us not forget about it.
I do not understand this. Treat your RM as a responsible person, who can take/make his/her own decision. If a client discussion is followed by lunch including couple of drinks, so be it. Act as grown up individuals and let the RM decide what needs to be done, rather than being instructed by the HR/HQ. Anyone responsible enough will not get sozzled by few drinks. Where to put a stop is what the RM should know from his own drinking habits. Let's treat people as mature adults.
5th April 2015 From India, Bangalore
The first point was about the fact that the RM can't refuse to drink because they have to develop a raport with the customer. Well, this is definitely a wrong idea that someone has put in because he likes free drinks. He may even be asking for the drinks.
You are talking of an Indian business scenario. In a business meeting in india, drinks are not on the table. Even if you meet someone at home they don't offer drinks, they offer tea. If you come in the evening when the client mortally has a drink, they will offer you one out of curtsy but not be offended if you refuse.
There are many grounds for refusal. One is to say that our new HR rule is that we are not allowed to drink while on duty, so please excuse me. Other is to take the excuse of having to drive / ride and the law does not permit. The fact that one has to take a public transport where even the smallest infraction takes a massive leap in perception of others if you smell of alcohol (say he stumbled and fell on a lady, if he smells of alcohol, the public will beat him up or the cops around will simply jail him as drunk predator)
If you want to soften the blow, he can say "I would appreciate a coke or a soda if it's not too much trouble"
What exactly are your RM trying to do ? They are suppose to sell mainly on professional skills and the companies ability. Some of them may get friendly and become close to the client and family. But those are exceptions, not the rule.
Next you will find bills of RM asking for reibmursement of "escort costs" because that helps him develop raaport with the client ?
(Yeah, I know that's extreme, but where does building a report end and non professional behaviour begin ?)
6th April 2015 From India, Mumbai
Wow, your RM's seem to be really smart..... They are trying to have their cake & eat it too.....
Asking for ‘HR approval’ for allowing ‘customer paid liquor’ during business meeting is a nice move... :-)
So, tell us what your policy would achieve:
1. If someone does not consume alcohol, then won't this policy discriminate with him saying he is not able to follow 'guidelines' to build rapport with customers?
2. If someone gets arrested for drunk driving, would they state HR policy & say the company asks them to do so?
3. If the RM misbehave at customer premises / public place under the influence of alcohol, then could they state HR policy & say the company asks them to do so?
There are already many ways, that employees in such sales position twist the rules with (claiming false receipts for liquor under restaurant food bills, etc). Why do you want to give them a "free hit" to do it officially.
Tomorrow, they will say "There was only one committee member opposing our deal; so to get the business, I had to bribe / kill him". Make a policy for that.....
If RM's want to go extra mile with the customer, then they should do it at their cost & at their time. Business hours & budgets should be strict to business. Officially, you would surely want to earn business with your products, & not with booze.
My suggestion is, Do not get lured into the false premise build by RM's, that Alcohol is mandatory for cracking the deals....
6th April 2015
6th April 2015 From India, Bangalore
11th April 2015 From India, Pune