I've had a few consultations and they always seem to go well. I know partly they are just being polite but I believe they like my cake better then the others they have tried. Some of them even say so.
What is your order to consult ratio? Do you follow up with a nice card or note of some sort? Does that help?
the only time i follow up is if i only have room for one more cake on their day and i get another request. then i'll send them a quick email letting them know that someone else has requested their date and ask if they are still interested. i set a goal of 75 weddings for this year, and i'm at 80, so i'm not chasing anyone down for more orders.
What is your order to consult ratio?
currently i book about 75-80% of brides that i meet with.
For the most part, I book at the initial setting. But I have a few that will get back to me. If they don't in a fair amount of time, I will call them.
I have had a few via e-mail and phone to start, never a sit down consultation. Those I always get back to, they seem to be just a inquiry rather than a serious committment.
Though I did one via e-mail and never formally met the bride. That was quite interesting. But it went well.
I never call a bride to tell them I have someone "interested" unless person "B" is ready to lay down a deposit. And it's not really ever come up.
I dont' follow up. In 2007, my bride booked with me an average of 27.5 days after our sampling appt. In 2008, it's running 11.2 days....the longest took 61 days to book. Brides are doing good research and doing comparison shopping (which I always encourage them to do).
Based on my 2008 bookings and the number of samplings still pending, I have an 85%+ book rate.
I always followup if I don't hear back, if only to get rid of their info if they're a 'no'. I almost never lose a bride once we sit down in person at a consult, but this year I did have one go elsewhere for the price after I was sure she was sold, and another who said they were already sure they wanted to book before we even met, who hasn't said yes yet because she's had some "events come up that have complicated things", whatever that means. But like I said, I don't usually lose them once we meet.
If too much time passes and I think they might be a 'no', I'll usually email them or call them and say "I just wanted to check in with you and see if you are still interesting in reserving your date. Could you give me a quick call (or email) back and let me know if you'd still like me to hold it?"
I think brides are afraid to call back with a 'no' because they're worried about ...saying 'no'...so I make it very casual, but I do need to hear back. And yes, I will say "I have someone inquiring about your date, so if you could let me know by (whatever date), that would be great". It makes them think they might be missing out if they don't make a decision.