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How to get free drinks and get treated like A VIP Everywhere You Go

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A few years back I hired a life coach and one of the keys he shared with me about meeting new people was to “be the mayor” everywhere you go. What does that entail exactly? Well, the mayor talks to everybody: men, women, bouncers, etc. When I first started adopting this idea, I lived in San Francisco and had a bar that I was a regular at. By the end of about 2 months I was on a first name basis with all of the bartenders, I knew all of the doormen by first name, and I was on a first name basis with the club manager. I was such a regular that I had my 28th b-day there.

During this time a few interesting things happened. After a while I was no longer asked to pay a cover charge. To add to that, regardless of how long the line was I never had to wait. In fact one time, while I was studying for the GMAT I went in for a quick drink and on my way out I ran into 5 friends, and the line was about an hour long. When I ran into the friends I walked them to the front of the line and the bouncer said “You guys are with Srini. You’re cool. Go ahead.” Eventually the bartenders would even give me several free drinks. Of course, I always made a point to tip well. When I left San Francisco I was convinced that it was just a fluke and it had been this one bar.

My first night in LA, I went to a bar on an off night and spent an hour talking with the bartender. When I was ready to go the bartender said “no worries man. Your first night in LA, the drink is on me.” To this day, I go into the bar once in 6 months, but the bartender always gives me free drinks. At the bar in San Francisco, I’m treated a like family member. Last summer I managed to accomplish the same thing in San Diego, the first night I was in town. So, now onto what you actually want to know: How to get free drinks/VIP treatment.

1. Remember Names: This is probably the most powerful thing you can do with people in the hospitality industry. There is something incredible that happens when you remember a person’s name. You go from customer to friend. There have been bartenders who don’t remember my name, but when I remember their’s, they love me for it.

2. Remember details: Most people never talk to the bartenders. They just want to get their drinks and be on their way. You need to realize that while you are out having your leisure night, getting buzzed/drunk, this is how your bartenders are paying their rent. Would you want them to come to your office drunk and not be cool? When you remember details about a person’s life, especially a bartender or somebody who’s used to dealing with people who don’t give a s#$t, a person who remembers details stands out. Think of yourself as a Vegas Casino host and the bar staff as your clients. It also shows sincerity and compassion.

3. Go to a bar on off night: Sometimes I will go to a local trendy bar on a night when it’s completely dead on purpose. This way I can get get to know the bar staff and befriend them. On the weekends they are often busy and if you end up wanting to talk to them and get to know them, then you’re just an annoying guy won’t shut up.

4. Positive Energy: People in the hospitality industry are used to being treated like dirt. Bouncers deal with people who complain about lines all day long. Bartenders deal with people who are irritated that it’s taking so long to get drinks. Be the opposite of this. Tell your bartenders “No worries” if they take a long time to get your drink. If the lines are long, just chat with the bouncer about something else.

5. Be the mayor: I think is the perfect way to wrap up this post up. This is not my original idea so I can’t take credit for it, but I want to expand a bit on it. The key here is to be a positive outgoing person that other people enjoy being around. You want bring a good vibe to the bar/club that other people enjoy. Don’t be the drunken a-hole trouble maker.

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