I'm trying to pinpoint if I am doing something wrong or if this is just normal for a lot of people to inquire about cakes, but probably 50% or more don't buy (well, at least lately). Shocking as it may be, my prices at $2-3 a slice are on the higher side, so is this the reason? I just quoted someone $55-70 for a two tiered cake to serve 25 and haven't heard back. That shouldn't be outrageous in any market, should it? What am I doing wrong here? Should I be offering other options? I don't plan on lowering my prices because I really don't want to pay myself any less than I do. Maybe I'm just not selling myself enough? Does anyone have any tips to offer on the selling end of things for inquiries or should I just be happy with the amount of business I have? I do get anywhere between 1-5 orders per weekend but I would love to be growing and have steadier orders.
Hmm, great question. I'm just getting my business going, but I can relate to what you're saying. I also struggle with the 'selling' part of the business. I tend to discuss possibilities with a client, tell them how much and then let them go away and think about it. I'll usually follow up a couple of days later, and some do order, some don't. I do think a key thing is to ask for the business. There are a ton of sales technique books available - I plan on reading a couple to improve my 'hustling'!
I would love to know what people's enquiry:sale ratio is.
You know, I was wondering the same thing...I'm going to guess that my ratio is around 60/40 .. like 60% of the people I meet with book me...
but here's another confusing thing for me. I have my prices clearly displayed on my website, and yet people still email me asking for a price quote, I tell them my base rate, as posted on my website, and they say "Oh crud, that's out of our buget." Like didn't you just see the pricing on my website?!?!
Well, I get a lot of phone calls and emails that never write or call me back. I try to be very straight forward and informative. i've had someone wanting a sculpted airplane cake to serve 40 for $50. A wedding to serve 300 for $500... I would much rather be straight forward on the phone and only waste 5 minutes of my time, than schedule and tasting/consultation and waste a lot more.
I don't know that I could really do a percentage... I guess on average I get 5-8 phone calls/emails per day from new inquiries, and some days none of them call or email me back. Others all of them will book...
The ones that do contact me back for a meeting, I book about 95%.
I get alot of inquiries...and about 95% of the time they order but its only after they ask a million and one questions. Now the other 5% i'm assuming don't like my prices so they don't book. I think that your prices are very reasonable so maybe they ask just so that they can keep u in mind for future orders.
I have a lot of people that call and wanting a price quote. And some don't call back and some do. Don't sell yourself short, just hang in there. I looked online and a standard cake decorator makes somewhere between $13-$15 an hour. I rate myself at $10.00. I explain this to my clients and I break everything down for them(What it cost to make the cake). Some totally get it and others, well, you know. I started doing this last year and it was pretty slow, but here in the last three months things have gotten better.
You also need to keep in mind, that right now a lot of people are having hard times especially with what is going on with this recession. Some clients I quote low and I tell them if they really love the cake, I'll always be happy taking a tip as well as paying for the cake. And a lot of times this works out pretty well.
Hang in there, things will get better.......
The main reason we don't have lots of work is at the corner. Your Walmart, Publix, Costo, Sams. Since they are in the market, and they are that cheap, people have lost interest in pay a higher price unless is a wedding cake also Publix and if i'm not wrong, Walmart have started to do wedding cakes also. A cake decorator, can not compete with their prices, and this happens all the time. Remember that people don't know much about the time consumming with this art, and they don't expect us to charge them for that. They will make inquires, but at the end, this type of person is not a pottencial customer, they will buy at the store, because is cheaper. I have my steady clients that brings me their friends and i no don't expect a lot of people that need a quote throug an email and the firts word that i see is "budget", buy from me. I just give them my flat rate. I will not going to lower my prices, because i want to sell desperately. I want my work to be appreciate. I love this, but they will not take advantage of me, because i want to sell.
Hi, I have 2 things I do to market myself and my cakes.
1. I tell them even though I charge $2 to$4 for a serving. Remember, a glass of tea in a restaurant costs $2.50. It takes no time, no product and no talent. And your cake is a work of love for me. I have invested many hours in classes, travel, and tools to do this type of cake.
2. This is not just a slice of cake, but, this is also your centerpiece for the
occasion. So, just a slice of cake is certainly less money. But, I am creating you a custom cake for your occasion.
I dont know if this will help. But, I always preface, my appointments with the above statements. Hope it helps someone.
I suppose maybe it just feels like it is that many. I went back through my email and its actually about 30% that haven't booked. So, I guess that's not so bad. I should expect everyone to book and really I don't want them to b/c I would be too busy.
Thanks for your responses! Its so wonderful to have such good support.
You are very welcome.....have a wonderful day
Some people think that a "cool cake" takes no work. So although they don't always book....you are probably better off.
One girl emailed me that she wanted a cake for her graduation. Then she sends the link for the Pink Cake Box cake that is a sculpted bust in a business suit on top of a couple of briefcases or something like that with the detailed fondant out w/ a vest. Way Fancy. Anyway...I told her sure....$600. (she wanted a small version). Obviously she didn't book...but honestly....I don't care...I'm not putting that much work and effort to only make pennies.
It might help if you set a minimum in place, that would cut down on some inquiries, and the ones that do contact you, you know that they are ok with the minimum.
well of the newbies that are just checking prices i lose about 40%...the thing is...over time you build a clientele ....they are used to your prices, you are just having growing pains....it gets easier after you get established....it all about the repeat customers, and getting a great reputation.