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December 2009

Paying For Client Entertainment: Why Not The Gun Range?

Back in the salad days of recruiting, when I was an account manager selling staffing to local companies, I had an expense account.   At every firm I went to, it was understood that meals, drinks, coffee, golf, and the occasional entertainment expense was not only acceptable, it was required.  In fact, on one occasion, I was told that my expense reports were not robust enough, and I needed to spend more if I wanted to be score highly in my next employee evaluation.  I spent more.

At my last company before starting my firm, excessive expenses were frowned upon.  The company was a public one, and profitability played into the manager's bonus, so there was no pressure to spend for the joy of it.  Spending was okay, but no one said double your account his month. 

I don't know if things have changed in the last several years - certainly now that I own the business the money I spend is more select - but I wonder how much is has changed for the rest of the industry.  I know my wife often laments my paying for meals - she thinks it's a residue of having an expense account all those years.

I bring this up because yesterday I was down at the gun range test firing a Colt 1911, and it dawned on me as I was paying how awesome it would have been to take clients to the range instead of the golf course. 

1) Even the most liberal of guys likes to fire a gun now and then.

2) Enthusiasts will think you are the best account manager. EVER.

3) It only takes an hour, first an afternoon or morning for golf.

4) It's relatively cheap, even if you have to rent the gun.  $100-150 is cheaper than golf and sometimes even drinks.

5) You stand out.  No one forgets firing a weapon. 

Sure, there might be some kind of complaints if you announce it to their office, but it's a great way to relieve stress, and get someone out of the office at lunch. 

Any account managers want to weigh in anonymously?  I'm tweeting this as well.