Should I get someone drunk to do a deal?

Ying & Yang.

Bonnie & Clyde.

Sales & Alcohol.

My father would often tell me as a child how intertwined his career was with boozy nights out, but it wasn’t until I landed a job in sales that I believed him.

In my experience – large deals aren’t settled with arguments, discounts or giftsthey are generally settled over a bottle of whiskey and a cigar.

I gave up alcohol for two years – and honestly felt it more difficult to achieve in a business context.

My clients told me privately they felt they couldn’t relax around me, that they felt I wasn’t as much fun and that they felt vulnerable to being influenced.

In a profession plagued by moral ambiguities – I question myself continually, is it ok to use alcohol as a tool to close a deal?

Alcohol and Sales Culture

According to health.com – sales ranks in the top 10 worst professions with high rates of depression.

The days can be long and monotonous – with long hours, uncertainty of income and abuse from potential clients contributing to poor mental health.

Historically in sales, there is also an evident trend of alcohol being associated with the profession- from moments of celebration to events with unlimited tabs.

As people in the industry are most susceptible to using alcohol as a mechanism to alleviate depressive feeling in the short term – I feel that they are especially at risk for long term health problems.

Alcohol and Persuasion

In a job which requires so much finesse to carefully orchestrate a successful close, any edge that can be gained to assist is always welcomed by any salesperson.

Drinking, through its effect on the brain – passively makes the subject more susceptible to being coached and manipulated.

Conversely, if bi-partisan drinking is involved – often excess consumption can impact your ability to function at a high level in a professional setting.

Ultimately, I feel that if you need to make your prospect drunk in order to bond or convince them; there is something fundamentally wrong with the way you are conducting yourself day to day.

Alcohol as a Cultural/Societal Lubricant

Language, race or background – it seems that everything goes out the window as more alcohol is consumed.

Alcohol functions as a lubricant – allowing people of all shapes and sizes to interact free from inhibitions. This can be valuable – but up to a certain point; no one really remembers how or why they got there.

I have often found deals that I have been promised don’t look as rosy to prospects in the morning.

That being said, drinking is a universal notion in most cultures; and abstaining from the practice can put you on the backfoot when it comes to bonding.

What do I think?

I have tried both.

I didn’t have my first beer till I was 19 (what a loser, right?)

Whilst I have gone vast periods of life not drinking, there have also been times which featured a lot (Spring Break) – but in my older age I have realized several things.

Firstly, I have grown to appreciate the taste and variety of various different alcohols.

Secondly, I see drinking often as part of a social exercise; not necessarily a business one. Given that I try to only do business with people I like – drinking can sometimes be a step in that journey together.

Finally – I believe everything comes in moderation. Having 1-2 beers is a lot different to having more than 10.

In conclusion, I believe in entertaining clients and I do enjoy drinking with them – but if my goal is to use this as a tactic to do business I think it is fundamentally wrong.

The reason I chose to drink in the company of potential clients is that I want to get to know them in a social context and to take a break from the hard business questions to enjoy the opportunity to learn about their human side.

Should we completely ban drinking in the workplace or are you like me and think it can be fun and enjoyable?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below

About The Author

Dailius Wilson

Dailius Wilson is the 24 year old founder of WolfofYorkStreet.com – helping the world's top SaaS companies to optimise their sales and marketing efforts. Dailius is currently a Director at TrustRadius and a digital blogger at increasemyonlinebusiness.com. Dailius was named as one of the Top 30 Entrepreneurs in Australia for 2015 by Anthill Online and was ranked in the Top 100 SEO Experts in the World. Dailius has also been a guest on the Ellen Degeneres Show and has over 10,000,000 views on Youtube