How Agressive Are You At A Bridal Consult?

Business By tarheelgirl Updated 19 Jan 2010 , 3:05am by tarheelgirl

tarheelgirl Posted 17 Jan 2010 , 3:16pm
post #1 of 24

I'm generally not a pushy person, well unless you ask the hubby... icon_biggrin.gif I don't push for that deposit but I do let them know that unless I have it they may come back a week later and I am booked. Usually if the cake is to their liking then they book and give a deposit. I met with a bride yesterday who I think would have written a deposit right then but her mom looked shocked when I gave them a price. She was a hard one to read. I sent the rest of the samples along with the contract with them. I know we aren't going to book each and every bride but it leaves me rethinking what I could have done differently at the tasting. icon_confused.gif I do normally book 80% of the brides I work with at the time of tasting. Maybe its just me but it stings a little.. icon_razz.gif All I can say is this girl is getting married in April so if the mom is shopping for a deal she better hurry up! icon_biggrin.gif

23 replies
costumeczar Posted 17 Jan 2010 , 3:23pm
post #2 of 24

I don't push for a payment at the actual tasting at all. If it was me, I'd want time to go home and look over the contract without having the vendor sitting ther looking at me while I read it. I do have people who book at the tasting, but I don't push the subject. Don't be insulted if someone doesn't sign right away, some people just want time to consider their options.

tarheelgirl Posted 17 Jan 2010 , 3:34pm
post #3 of 24

I wasn't really insulted.. it was probably more of having to get up at 7:30 on a Saturday morning! icon_razz.gif I actually met with a bride/groom a couple weeks ago who start arguing about flavors! He said I should get something out of this wedding for getting you that 2 ct ring!! icon_surprised.gif That was a little awkward so I got up for a few minutes to let them finish their spat. They never called back.. although I even wonder if they got married!

jammjenks Posted 17 Jan 2010 , 4:37pm
post #4 of 24

When they sit down, I tell them to go ahead and begin tasting the samples. As they are sampling, I ask questions and fill in my order form. I begin by asking the wedding date. (Actually, I always already know the date, but I ask then anyway) Then I pencil it on my calendar with a "?". I say, "I'm writing you down on the calendar with a '?'. You can tell me later if you want me to erase the '?'."

We proceed on through design/flavors/prices/etc. Once I have it all written down, I simply say, "Now, should I erase that '?' or leave it? If I do leave it, your date is not guaranteed." If they tell me they do want to book w/ me, then we make payment arrangements.

Make sense?

peg818 Posted 17 Jan 2010 , 4:51pm
post #5 of 24

I actually encourage people to shop around, especially if they look as if the price is to expensive.

I don't like to be pressured into a sale, so i won't do that to another.

tarheelgirl Posted 17 Jan 2010 , 4:59pm
post #6 of 24

Jammjenks, that is a cool way of doing it! Aggressive but not in a pushy aggressive way! icon_biggrin.gif

I definitely agree with telling them to shop around!

Ruth0209 Posted 17 Jan 2010 , 5:23pm
post #7 of 24

I almost never take a deposit at the consultation. Like jammjenks, I start with tasting the samples and ask questions about the date, venue, time, number of guests, etc., while they're sampling. Then we talk about design, colors, etc.

If I can give them an estimate on the cake, I do that next. Then I tell them I will put together a proposed contract with all the details and e-mail it to them. If they want to book they can print it and send it to me with the deposit. I explain that the 25% non-refundable deposit books the date for them, with the balance due two weeks before the wedding, which is the last day they can make changes to design, servings, etc., without additional cost.

I tell them that in the meantime before I get their deposit, if I have another bride interested in their date I will call them first to see if they are going to book with me before I "give away" their date to someone else. They seem to appreciate that. I also always ask if they need any recommendations for other vendors and give them business cards or verbal recommendations for those.

I book almost all the brides I have consultations with, so it seems to work. As Peg said, I HATE being pressured to make a decision when the vendor is right there breathing down my neck, especially if I'm going to sign a three page contract.

Over and over, brides tell me they book with the vendors who are the most helpful and pleasant to them. My daughter and I were shocked at how witchy a lot of wedding vendors are, and we did not give any of them our money no matter how competitive their bids were. I just will not give my business to rude or unappreciative people.

I try to make the consultation/tasting a pleasant, non-threatening experience for them.

_Jamie_ Posted 17 Jan 2010 , 5:41pm
post #8 of 24

If I am meeting with them, it is already at the point that they are booking. So they are bringing a deposit. I do most of my stuff through email.

The_Lil_Cakehouse Posted 17 Jan 2010 , 5:51pm
post #9 of 24

For those of you who have a home bakery business where do you do your tastings? I've often wondered this. I don't know if I'd have them at my house, I have a 3yr old and 4 month old, I don't think playing kids and a front room full of toys are the best atmosphere to come into when trying to make a professional impression.

indydebi Posted 17 Jan 2010 , 6:20pm
post #10 of 24

In 2009, my brides took an average of 17 days to make their decision, ranging from 2 to 73 days. Up from 10.2 days in 2008. I think this shows that brides are shopping more "in this economy" and taking their time before deciding.

I actually told my brides, "As I mentioned in my email, I am not expecting a deposit, a check or a commitment today. I DO expect you to leave with a full tummy and some good information that will enable you to make a good decision, when you are ready to do that. But today, we are just going to enjoy some good food and cake, and talk about your wedding. Sound good to you?"

Without exception, you could almost hear the sound of relief and it takes a lot of the anxiety out of it for them.

At the end, I'd tell them, "If I'm the first person you've sampled with, I want to you sample at least one, preferably two other bakers. You're about to spend a lot of money on this event and you should be sure that the vendors you pick match your wish-list, your style and your budget. If you do find someone that is more suited to what you're looking for, I encourage you to book with them .... this is your wedding and you want it as perfect as possible ..... and I ask that you let me know so I can release this date to other potential brides. Just a reminder that you are not booked until I have a contract and a deposit, but you I do have you down as a tentative."

One bride said, "Wow, that's odd that you tell us to check with other bakers!" I put on my gramma smile and said, "Oh, that's because I"m arrogantly confident enough to know that if you do compare me with other bakers, that you'll call me to book.

And she did. icon_biggrin.gif

Jenn2179 Posted 17 Jan 2010 , 6:54pm
post #11 of 24

I too tell my brides if they aren't sure to try other bakeries. 9 times out of 10 they come back to me. I hardly ever get a deposit the night of our consultation. It's a lot of money and I understand that. Plus many times I can't give them a price right then and there.

tarheelgirl Posted 17 Jan 2010 , 6:58pm
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Quote:

For those of you who have a home bakery business where do you do your tastings? I've often wondered this. I don't know if I'd have them at my house, I have a 3yr old and 4 month old, I don't think playing kids and a front room full of toys are the best atmosphere to come into when trying to make a professional impression.




I meet in a local coffee shop. I may start having consultations at my home but right now the coffee shop is a convenient location for both of us. Just ask permission of the manager especially if they sell baked items.

I actually had a bride meet with me and later called after the wedding to say they loved the cake as well as her guest. She said that my personality was actually what made them choose me! So I know if it were me personally choosing a baker I would opt for the more helpful, nice baker rather the witchy cheaper one! icon_biggrin.gif

As always Indydebi.. I love your approach to things!

indydebi Posted 17 Jan 2010 , 7:03pm
post #13 of 24

[quote="tarheelgirl"]

Quote:
Quote:

So I know if it were me personally choosing a baker I would opt for the more helpful, nice baker rather the witchy cheaper one! icon_biggrin.gif



Part of my "make sure they match your personality" speech was also telling them, "I may be the best price in town, but if I'm a real bag lady to work with, you just dont' need that kind of stress on your wedding day!" Then I'd laugh and say, "I hope I've passed THAT test already for you!" icon_lol.gif

It has long been my opinion that brides will book with the vendors they perceive to be the most helpful. Which is why a lot of my advice has nothing to do with food or cake ..... just little observations and experiences that I pass along to them to help them have a nice wedding. LIke part of my intro packet is a document of "Tips for an Outdoor Wedding". 90% of the tips have nothing to do with food/cake, but it's helpful to the bride to have this info at her fingertips, and she thinks I'm great for helping her out! icon_biggrin.gif

HarleyDee Posted 17 Jan 2010 , 7:22pm
post #14 of 24

When I meet I let them know that my free consultation is just that, free. I tell them they absolutely do not have to make a decision at the meeting, but I make sure that they understand that I'm a one woman show, and that I only do a limited number of cakes per week, and that I cannot hold dates without a deposit. Everyone who has booked with me does so either at the consult or within a couple of days.

cblupe Posted 17 Jan 2010 , 7:33pm
post #15 of 24

" LIke part of my intro packet is a document of "Tips for an Outdoor Wedding". 90% of the tips have nothing to do with food/cake, but it's helpful to the bride to have this info at her fingertips, and she thinks I'm great for helping her out! "

So are your tips on your website to share with us????

indydebi Posted 17 Jan 2010 , 8:01pm
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by cblupe

" LIke part of my intro packet is a document of "Tips for an Outdoor Wedding". 90% of the tips have nothing to do with food/cake, but it's helpful to the bride to have this info at her fingertips, and she thinks I'm great for helping her out! "

So are your tips on your website to share with us????




Hmmm..... great idea! I'm sitting here writing a few articles now, so I'll put this one on the list and add it to my blog! (I should be reading for my Anthropology class, but cake is just more interesting!)

Swede-cakes Posted 18 Jan 2010 , 2:32am
post #17 of 24

I also follow the "no pressure" rule. I tell them in both in my confirmation email and at the complimentary consultation that they are under no pressure to book while we meet, as a lot of information is discussed and I want them to really love what they're about to order. "So take the contract home, look it over, think about what we discussed and if you want to book me, just return the completed contract and a Hold-The-Date deposit." I can't tell you how many couples smile when I say this. (And you can see their shoulders relax too! lol!)

SassyCakes, I have a licensed home based company, and I used to fret about where to host my consultations. Did one at my house, but it was a weekday, three kids (9,7,4) at school. After that, I realized that it would be hit-or-miss doing it at home as I was getting MANY Saturday appt. requests, so I host them now at a social club my family belongs to in a neighboring town. It's a relaxed, quiet atmosphere and I can see them start to de-stress the moment they sit down. If you're on the vendor list at a particular event site or function hall, why not inquire as to whether you could meet with your clients there? It would give them exposure as well. Just a thought. icon_smile.gif

ladyonzlake Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 1:45am
post #18 of 24

I know that it's always tough when you don't book one of your tastings but that's the way it goes sometimes and you can't take it personally.

I rent a kitchen and rent the confernce room there for my tastings. I email the bride and information form to fill out prior to the tasting and pre-fill out an estimate (on Quickbooks). Once she gets there I start with asking her what she has in mind and let her thumb through some books. Then I update her estimate on what she tells me. I let her (them) start tasting while I do this.

I'm not a pushy sales person, just very personable. My last tasting I took a deposit for 4 out of the 5 tasting appts. that I had. This doesn't always happen though...one day I had 7 appts. and took no deposits so it just depends I guess. I've also had brides book with me 2-3 months after the tasting.

Renaejrk Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 2:08am
post #19 of 24

This is a really great thread for those of us that haven't started a business yet but plan to! This is so helpful to me - I will definitely be using a lot of this info for myself! Especially from Indydebi!! You are always great!

leah_s Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 2:26am
post #20 of 24

Hmmmm . . .I'm way more agressive than you guys. I complete my info sheet, look at the dress pic, let them look at picture books while I sketch. Then they pick a sketch that's "their cake." As a salesperson, I'm wanting them to "own" that cake. You know how on "Say Yes to the Dress" the salesperson always aks, "Is this your dress" Well once they say, "That's MY cake" they can't separate themselves from it.

Then I do the tasting and complete the invoice-estimate. I go over the invoice, ask for questions and end with, "Are you ready to book your cake now and get this crossed off your to do list?" Or "Are you ready to put down a deposit on your cake so that you know it will be there on your wedding day?" Generally they book. Except in January when I get way more looky-loos than any other month.

snarkybaker Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 2:35am
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

Hmmmm . . .I'm way more agressive than you guys. I complete my info sheet, look at the dress pic, let them look at picture books while I sketch. Then they pick a sketch that's "their cake." As a salesperson, I'm wanting them to "own" that cake. You know how on "Say Yes to the Dress" the salesperson always aks, "Is this your dress" Well once they say, "That's MY cake" they can't separate themselves from it.

Then I do the tasting and complete the invoice-estimate. I go over the invoice, ask for questions and end with, "Are you ready to book your cake now and get this crossed off your to do list?" Or "Are you ready to put down a deposit on your cake so that you know it will be there on your wedding day?" Generally they book. Except in January when I get way more looky-loos than any other month.




A sketch is an AWESOME sales tool. You get them talking about their dress and flowers and all of a sudden BAM!! They REALLY want that cake.

leah_s Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 2:39am
post #22 of 24

EX-actly! I even throw in a few DIY tips for non-cake items. Recco the best florist, best invitations person, etc.

tesso Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 2:40am
post #23 of 24

I usually do a free consultation, let them think on it, pencil in the date, deposit when contract signed, two weeks before wedding for final payment and any changes.

I am what some of you call a cake hobbist..( i like that term) I make my cakes from home...keeps overhead low..and lets me be able to adjust my rates to give every bride her dream cake.

I just did a christmas cake that was $300 dollar cheaper than anyone else quoted them. The groom and bride both cried with happiness, they were on a very tight budget. The grandmother was thilled and was able to afford the cake for them. as a wedding gift. They got their cake..and I felt good about doing it and making their dream cake.

Oh also, I meet at the local library..mostly..they have meeting rooms and I have a list of wedding planning books that they might like to check out..etc..

tarheelgirl Posted 19 Jan 2010 , 3:05am
post #24 of 24

Drawing out a sketch is definitely that thing that really hooks them! icon_biggrin.gif It's their vision coming to life on paper. I have one more tasting this week. Let's see if I can get 2 out of 3 booked! I think I have a lot of looky-loos too right now. icon_lol.gif

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