Consults......

Business By mackeymom Updated 26 May 2009 , 12:35pm by pastrychef22

mackeymom Posted 21 May 2009 , 9:04pm
post #1 of 14

Helllooooo ladies! I want to know how you conduct your consults. When someone comes in wanting a cake what questions do you ask? Other then the obvious how many ppl, colors, flavors, themes etc. Do you show them pics of your past cakes?

I have someone requesting an anniversary cake, and she is not giving me any direction! And I'd hate to create something I like that she thinks is horrendous! I guess I am afraid of too much creative liberty. I don't know what questions to ask to get some help from her!!

TIA!

13 replies
Kitagrl Posted 21 May 2009 , 9:11pm
post #2 of 14

If they don't know what they want....I usually ask if they have a decorating theme. That helps ALOT. If not, I ask what things/colors the recipient likes. If that doesn't work, then I send them to Google Images and ask them to find a few cakes they like and then show them to me. Doesn't have to be cakes they like exactly, but at least going to the direction they want so you know better which direction to take the design.

Momkiksbutt Posted 21 May 2009 , 9:11pm
post #3 of 14

I usually have a client make a detailed list of what they want on their cake, what shape, etc. I will have them come and look through my catalog, and bring their own pictures of what they think they will like.

Doing this in person forces the client to come up with something, instead of just making a general statement and leaving you wondering. I'll have the face to face for all wedding and anniversary cake consults...not necessarily for birthdays, but you can if you want, or if the client is being very indecisive. Works for me...I bet it will for you too.

By the way, some freedom of creation, is a good thing....sometimes the client really won't know what they will like, or maybe they just will have terrible judgment. I love clients that allow me to be creative.

Kitagrl Posted 21 May 2009 , 9:14pm
post #4 of 14

I know, I love when clients say "something like this but I trust you to make it look nice" so I have an idea of what they want but then don't have to copy exactly.

mackeymom Posted 21 May 2009 , 9:28pm
post #5 of 14

Oh yes creative liberty is a good thing! I just used the wrong words. I guess I ment to say: What if we have different creative preferences. I make something which is totaly awesome (you know, cuz I have AWESOME taste! icon_smile.gif but she doesn't care for it. I don't want our creative differences causeing bad word-of-mouth.

The goole images is a great idea! Should I print some for her too look at? I haven't done that because I wouldn't want her to think I made those cakes. I don't want to take credit for someone elses work, or miss represeting myself. What if she brings in a picture of a cake and wants it EXACTLY like the one she found on line? Then what?!

Kitagrl Posted 21 May 2009 , 9:36pm
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mackeymom

Oh yes creative liberty is a good thing! I just used the wrong words. I guess I ment to say: What if we have different creative preferences. I make something which is totaly awesome (you know, cuz I have AWESOME taste! icon_smile.gif but she doesn't care for it. I don't want our creative differences causeing bad word-of-mouth.

The goole images is a great idea! Should I print some for her too look at? I haven't done that because I wouldn't want her to think I made those cakes. I don't want to take credit for someone elses work, or miss represeting myself. What if she brings in a picture of a cake and wants it EXACTLY like the one she found on line? Then what?!




I just have them look because they know what they want and I have no clue...someone could claim they don't know what they want but when it comes down to looking at photos, they are going to start narrowing things down. I don't do alot of home consults so via email I just send them on a search for what they want and have them report back. haha. If I have a cake I think they'll like I send it but usually I just have them take a look online.

I copy cakes online if requested....if you think about it, bridal magazines are full of cakes that brides are going to take to their baker and say "I want this cake". I don't think its a big deal. Besides for the most part each decorator is going to have a slightly unique style and the cakes will be slightly different anyway.

debster Posted 21 May 2009 , 9:50pm
post #7 of 14

I always send them a few picks via email to get them thinking before they come and tell them that they can pick and choose what they like from one cake to the other. Pictures always seem to help for me anyway.

indydebi Posted 22 May 2009 , 12:11am
post #8 of 14

"If you don't know what you want, then neither do I."

"Oh good! That means I get to do anything I want and YOU don't get to complain!"

---------------------------------------

Seriously, never ask them questions like "what do you like?" Too open ended and infinite answers .... they can't sort thru ALL the options in a nano-second.

Don't ask them questions that gives them too many options. Narrow it down. Ask questions that gives them a choice of 2: Are you looking for a sheet cake or a layered cake? Do you want all one flavor or multiple flavors? Do you want general flowers on the cake or a specific theme?
Are you expecting more or less than 50 people? What are some things you've seen on cakes that you DON'T want or like?

What you're doing is a process of elimination and your follow up questions are based on their answers.

debster Posted 22 May 2009 , 2:04am
post #9 of 14

That's what I like about you Indydebi STRAIGHT and to the POINT, hahahahaha

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 25 May 2009 , 2:17am
post #10 of 14

I was gonna say what Debi said. If they don't know what they want on the cake, ask them what they DON'T want on the cake.

Typically when I start a cake consultation, I start with the deal breaker information - When do you need this cake? Lots of times a person thinks I can whip up a cake in a few hours. I hate to go through the whole color, design, message process only to find out I can't make the cake for them.

Then I start with the most basic elements down to the most detailed.
Type (cake/cupcakes/cookies)
Size/Amount
Flavor
Type of frosting (fondant/bc)
Design
Colors
Message (if any)

I've found it to be the easiest way to take an order, and I tell them that. "Let's get the basic stuff out of the way (type, size, flavor)" then "ok, now for the fun part! (decorations)"

Denise Posted 25 May 2009 , 5:37pm
post #11 of 14

When I talk to a bride and set up the consultation I ask her to:

bring color swatches
pictures of cakes she likes
a list of things she doesn't like

I also ask where the reception is going to be held and how many people they are expecting so I have an idea of their needs.

When I actually meet with the bride one of the first things I ask is shape!! Shape determines servings. Sometimes a bride will have pictures of what has caught her eye and I can get a gauge of whether she likes traditional, contemporary.

I always have paper to draw on and can show them dummies of the cake sizes they are considering. I can also show them laces and cutters.

Sometimes they choose a cake right off my site and I have changed elements to make it uniquely theirs.

indydebi Posted 25 May 2009 , 7:31pm
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denise

When I actually meet with the bride one of the first things I ask is shape!!


Absolutely!! Once they tell me shape, then I can tell them, "For 150 guests, you can have 4 tiers of a round cake or 3 tiers with a square cake." With shape and number of tiers out of the way, it seems to go faster. (Also eliminates the "dumb" conversations about wanting a 7 tier cake to serve 80 people! icon_confused.gif )

Denise Posted 25 May 2009 , 7:56pm
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

(Also eliminates the "dumb" conversations about wanting a 7 tier cake to serve 80 people! icon_confused.gif )




icon_surprised.gificon_surprised.gificon_surprised.gificon_surprised.gif

That always cracks me up when someone emails me and says they want a 5 tiered cake to serve 100 or less. icon_biggrin.gif I gently explain that it not possible !

pastrychef22 Posted 26 May 2009 , 12:35pm
post #14 of 14

I always like to show pictures of my past cakes this usually helps those that do not know what they want get an idea and I can go from there. Most of the other people might look at the cake pictures but already have an idea that we can work with and build on.


Also I hope it is ok that I responded to this post since it started out hello ladies. This site has more than ladies on here. icon_evil.gif but i am just messing around people say that alot and i thought I would nmess with you all about it. icon_biggrin.gificon_smile.gificon_razz.gificon_wink.gificon_twisted.gif

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