One of the great sales directors with whom I worked many years ago gave me a simple tip: “If you buy a client a cup of coffee, never, ever, ever ask for a receipt.”

You see, asking for a receipt means you are going to claim the charge as a business expense. What’s the big deal? Well, it gives the subtle impression that, even after all the thousands of dollars the client has spent with you or your company, you do not value the relationship enough to buy him a cup of coffee.

Yes, it’s a small thing. But little things can add up to a boatload of good – or bad – feeling. If you don’t ask for a receipt when you treat your client to a drink or dinner, you give the impression that you care about him on a personal level.

Don’t worry. You can still write it off as a business expense. In most cases, you’ll get a receipt without asking. If you don’t, you’ll have a credit card statement you can use to prove the expense.

The point is, forget about yourself. Your clients are important. If you’re not willing to spend a few bucks to buy them a cup of coffee from time to time, how much do you value those relationships?

[Ed. Note: David Cross is Senior Internet Consultant for Agora Inc. There’s a lot you may not know about building an Internet business. David has the answers – and he’ll be sharing them with an exclusive group of business builders at ETR’s 5 Days in July conference. If you have the slightest interest in creating a fully functioning Internet business in one week, sign up for our hotlist right here.]

Although David hails from Blackpool, England – which is often referred to as the “Las Vegas of England” – he shunned a career in show business and instead followed a meandering career path overflowing with “life’s great experiences,” working or living in over 20 countries along the way. Chef, teacher of Transcendental Meditation, guest presenter on QVC, earthquake relief volunteer, CEO of a web hosting company, marketer at a radio station and all combined with years of direct marketing, PR and sales experience for clients as diverse as health food stores, small charities and right up to multinational public companies. David brought unique talent and experience to his role for six years as Senior Internet Consultant to Agora Publishing Group. Working closely with Agora’s publishers and marketers to test new ideas and marketing campaigns, Agora’s Internet revenues topped $200 million in 2007. David understands and can communicate fluently with creative “right-brain” marketers and analytical “left-brain” IT and software teams, all with equal ease. He has a proven track record for generating results and creative thinking and excels at making trouble to find new ways of making things happen! He lives on a small farm close to Mount Hood in Oregon with his wife Cinda, a veterinarian, and their four children and a menagerie of animals (no more, please!). When not marketing or brainstorming you’ll find David following a dream of self-sufficiency for food, power and water within 10 years, tending the land and caring for the farm and animals. Not surprisingly, David is an engaging and knowledgeable speaker with many amusing anecdotes from his work and travels over the years.

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