I know I have seen where people send a pre-consultation survey to bride. For the life of me I can not find any refernces to it on the board.
So I just really want an idea of what they want to discuss, kind of get them thinking. And to give me an idea to prepare some photos I think they might like. Kind of like a preinterview with a realtor.
So far i have: date, Site, Time, Shape of cake preferred, icing preferred, flowers being used at wedding, what type of topper they have in mind, whether they want to serve or keep top tier....
But then I got to thinking, that sounds like what I would ask AT the consultation. So then i got all confused!
So any hints or help is greatly appreciated.
I've never filled out anything like that with realtors, car salesmen, or any other kind of sales person. You're right ... those ARE the questions and topics you will discuss with the bride.
If I were a bride ... and got a questionaire asking me what kind of icing I wanted ... I'd probably wad it up and call someone else. Cake civilians have no idea what Italian Merinque or fondant or crisco-bc, butter bc are. All they know is "icing". The time you spend across the table from them is when you get to display your expertise .... instead of just asking the bride what she wants.
YOu're not an order taker ... you're a cake designer. If you send this type of form to them in advance, then all you're doing is just asking them to fax in their order to the Subway shop for lunch....in cake version.
I wouldn't do it at all. Don't throw away your opportunity to talk with them, get to know them, build a rapport with them, gain their trust and confidence. Don't throw that away by being a sandwich order taker.
what do you do if they don't know the difference in fondant, crisco bc or butter bc. do you make samples of 3 different icings for them to taste or what?
i agree with indydebi, you don't want to send a questionairre. typically how it goes is, i'll get an email from a bride saying "my wedding is this date, are you available and can we set up a tasting". my reply is usually something like this:
Congratulations on your engagement! I still have an opening for (date), if you would like to schedule a tasting. Are you available (offer 1 or 2 dates/times). I hold tastings at (insert place with address and directions if necessary). You can choose three cake flavors to taste and I will ice and fill them with buttercream. If you have pictures of cakes that you like it is helpful to bring them with you, as well as color swatches or other materials.
I look forward to hearing from you!
(signed with name, business name, and phone number)
its short and sweet. most brides have no other questions, they just tell me their flavors, and we meet to discuss everything else. sometimes they want to ask me specific pricing or delivery details, or something adn then i will address those concerns. otherwise, everything else is discussed in person. i do ask that they bring photos, just because it means they've done some research. if the bride does a little homework into what styles she likes the tastings go SOOOO much smoother!
Ok, so then I will just send an informational sheet.
Send me your cake/icing choices
Bring up to 3 people
Bring color samples, flower sample, inivatation or save the date
Bring any cake ideas you wish to incorporate
Here are the directions
See you then, callif you have questions.....
Is that better? The other did not seem right to me either....I think I will use that as my interview worksheet....
One additional question, what do you think about using my laptop to view photos. I have the photos from other people clearly marked, plus I would be able to reference my website. Do you think that is ok? Most brides are from a PC friendly generation so I think they would be ok with that.....
Thanks for the help,
How many guests they are inviting
I tell them to bring any pictures of cakes that they have found that they like so I can get an idea of their preferences. I get this info for my notes whether we are communicating by email or phone. I don't send them any information sheet.
I dont ask what flavor they want to try, I provide 3 or 4 samples of whatever I have baked that week.
I use to try to ask how many would be coming for the consult but I kept forgetting so now I just make 2 plates and let them share if more people come. My sample sizes are pretty large so sharing isn't a problem. If they ask how many can come I tell them that I'd prefer to have no more than 4 for the consult due to seating. Bringing all the bridesmaids with all of their opinions can be too much input too, but I don't say that part.
I have many brides comment on how fun and painless the wedding cake consult is - I think simplifying the process makes them feel more at ease. They have a lot going on right now. I think they appreciate it if you can just keep it simple.
Using the laptop is a fine idea. Some brides come in already knowing what design they want, but many like to look at a lot of designs while at the consult.
i actually don't like the lap top idea personally. (and im in the PC generation, i use my laptop for everything!) when i'm looking at cakes i prefer large photos with some details. its just easier to flip back and forth. and i have a lot of brides who like to go back and forth in my portfolio. i just see this as being harder on a computer. and, like i said, i like large photos. i print 8x10s of all my cakes so that hte details are fairly easy to see up close. thats larger than my screen.
if you do use a laptop don't set it up as a slideshow. your brides will want to linger on photos they like, and skip photos they dont. a slideshow doesn't allow for that.
I have photos in books, but I also will bring up a photo on the laptop if I need to. I have a turntable in front of me and it makes it SO much easier to spin the laptop around to show them the pic.
Also makes it SO much easier to spin the laptop around to show them the order forms they will be receiving from me via email and explain what everything that I've written down means.
You also asked about fondant. I had one bride who really liked the look of fondant, but as many, heard it tasted terrible. I gave her a sample at the tasting and dispelled that myth right then and there.
One thing I've learned it to give options, but not too many options. If you give too many options it only confuses your customer. Ask basic questions and get a feel for what they are wanting and then be the pro that you are and make suggestions.
Also, I personally don't like the idea of having to fill out a form. I'd rather call them and speaking personally with them to get all the info vs. sending a form in. I'm all about the customer service and adding that personal touch and I don't think a form gives the right first impression I'd want to give.
I have these call forms so I don't forget my speech,
I ask people for their name, event date, location, number of guests attending, their phone number, email and who referred them. Then I have like 6 blank lines to write whatever else they have to say, or if we schedule a consultation, if they know the flavors they want...
then I say something like,
' a consultation costs $25 and will be deducted from the total cost of your cake, at the consultation you can taste any 2 cakes and fillings you would like to taste along with a sample of my basic buttercream and fondant. At the consultation, you will taste these, we'll discuss my terms of service very quickly and then continue on to designing your cake. At this time, if you have any pictures of cakes you like, colors you want matched, or other inspiration for your reception, I would like to see it. Before we meet, I would like you to think of 2 or 3 words that you would use to describe what you want your reception to feel like - classic, fairy tale, organic... "
And that's it. I make them tell me the flavor choices 4 days ahead of time. Even though I don't bake until the day before most of the time... I'm really strict on this. I am typically pretty busy, and you should respect that and give me notice!
[quote="aligotmatt"]I have these call forms so I don't forget my speech,
Before we meet, I would like you to think of 2 or 3 words that you would use to describe what you want your reception to feel like - classic, fairy tale, organic... " quote]
Oh, that is a great idea. That is actually what i was trying to get from the form. I really just wanted an idea of what they were thinking about. I know others arounf here come with drawings and photos ready.
I I will ask the basics before and the details during the consultation.
Thanks for the help,
Ok, While we are on the topic of the consultaiton...
I know Debi says she has the mints and the punch out for her consultations.
What if I have a couple sugar cookies and some cake truffles as well. Perhaps wrapped up nicely ina box for them to take home and consider. As long as we are talking about sales and all....
Pushy or no??...You know my Dh would never wonder if selling extra was pushy, he would jsut call it business....why do women let themselves worry about the soft side of business?? Just a thought...