*frustrated* More And More "just Cake" People. *lo

Decorating By Niquie Updated 21 Jun 2010 , 9:11pm by cakeglitz

Niquie Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 9:11am
post #1 of 52

Wow, I literally got mad and then almost wanted to cry the more I thought about this. Ok, so where I live, is a very small place, but still full of people that want a custom, homemade cake. Anyway, I am almost ready to just throw in the towel here because even though they all want custom, they expect to get custom for Walmart and grocery store prices. I had a person email me today for a half sheet with a super hero, and make it look cool. I called the customer, quoted $45, which is already too low anyway, and the person got quiet. So I said, "did you here my price", customer says "yes, but that's a lot for just a cake". So, seeing as how I'm in pain from having had surgery last week, and even more frustrated with people like this, I said (without thinking), "its a homemade, custom designed cake, and the price is what it is" (quite sarcastically). Now I realize this may have been a bad choice of words, but at the same time I am losing my love for the craft because of people like this. Oh, then customer says, "I'm pretty sure that Walmart or town grocery store doesn't do (super hero), but I'll let you know what I decide.

Now, this is just my opinion, but seems to me if it was just cake, then it wouldn't matter in the first place if it had your super hero on it or not.

My question to everyone who owns a business, and even those who don't, how do you keep faith when things like this just keep happening? And how do you not curse out, and hang up the phone on muggles, LOL? Should I just give up on my business while I'm living here, or what? It's just happening more and more, and I don't know what to do.

I just knew you guys would understand and be able to help me with keeping my sanity on this one. Sorry so long, but thanks for reading.[/b][/i]

51 replies
snocilla Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 9:22am
post #2 of 52

awww.. hang in there! There are customers out there who are willing to pay for not only customization, but a better tasting cake! Eventually, they will come to you!

awatterson Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 9:43am
post #3 of 52

When that person calls back I would tell them that I was booked for that date. I am with Snocilla, stick with it and they will eventually come around. Do you have a website? That way people can see your prices before calling you so that they are not completely shocked.

jayne1873 Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 9:58am
post #4 of 52

I so understand. You can buy a 9" round decorated cake in Asda here for about £8-10. I would charge approx £35 depending on the amount of decoration and they are what! - so go to Asda. I only make cakes part time and work part time so am not desperate for their business its just the love of making them but people just dont understand the amount of time it takes to make these cakes, decorate and even plan them!
Dont let it put you off others know our worth x

tinygoose Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 10:17am
post #5 of 52

It might be helpful to get a book on sales techniques. As my husband says "It's all about how you frame it."

Also, I always figure I'm going to go through about 10+ or more "lookie loos" before I come across someone serious. Knowing this it makes it easier when you don't get a sale.

I can pretty much sum up in a two minute conversation if I'm doing their cake or not. Things I listen for are:

Cake "lookie loo's" FIRST questions go like this:
~How much are your cakes?
~I need a cake three tiered cake for 20 people, what would you charge?
~I'm looking for a (simple, nothing fancy, baby shower cake) blah blah, what would you charge.
~I'm on a budget, and looking for ......(not that I don't expect people to not be on a budget, but if they lead with this sentence, I know that I probably won't be doing this cake.)
~I'm celebrating my 22nd birthday and I really like this cake (sends pic of elaborate cake for 70+ people) for 15 people. Could you send me a quote.


Serious cake buyers FIRST questions go more like this:
~My daughter is having her 40th birthday, and I was looking for someone who could make a purse cake with a lipstick, compact...something like that. Is that something you do? What is your availability?
~I need a cake for a baby shower, something cute, 25 people in blue and yellow...maybe with some daisies, or sunflowers, she likes anything cheerful.
~My mom is celebrating her 70th birthday, and she loves teacups....

*Note, a serious cake buyers doesn't lead with price because it's not their first concern, they usually lead with the design, occasion details, etc. Granted there are way fewer of these people around, but knowing this I spend more time with them on the phone, going over designs ideas, getting them excited about making the cake custom to them, easing into budgets, etc. If price doesn't come up at all for the first 15 minutes, that's a good sign.

The "lookie loos" I usually send them a "designer cakes start at _____," and go up from there email. Or, if they have sent me a pic...."That cake would run approx. ____, for ___ of people, addition charges apply for change in design, premium fillings and delivery. If I hear back from them...fine, but usually sending them a minimum order price is enough to weed out the "lookie loos".

leepat Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 11:04am
post #6 of 52

We call those people shoppers at our bakery. Just ignore them they are everywhere not just in your town. Because some of them do end up coming to us after a few birthday cakes from grocery stores we are nice to them and just reply if we can help you in any way please don't hesitate to call us. Business is business, don't take it personally.

Limpy Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 11:29am
post #7 of 52

We all have had those people want a great custom cake for very few dollars. Compare it to this: Customer wants a dress. Calls you. You quote price. Caller says that she can get it at big box store for less dollars. How can you compare a custom made dress with one off the rack from the big box store? You can't. I have finally reached the stage, where when I quote my price,if the caller does not like this,then they need to go elsewhere. I mean,would you go into your local baker & haggle over the posted price of a cake because you wanted it cheaper & expect them to lower the price? Of course not! Stand firm knowing that your price is fair,your talent unique & your cakes yummy. As mentioned,sincere customers will come to you & also spread the word after they have tried your product & this will result in word of mouth customers which will FAR outweigh those that want something for nothing.

cakesbycathy Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 12:13pm
post #8 of 52

I actually think your response is fine, just said in a non-sarcastic manner. Lol!
Seriously, people need to understand that if they are ordering a CUSTOM cake then they are going to pay CUSTOM prices. There is nothing wrong with saying "I understand if that is out of your budget. Good luck in your search."

Then just move on to the next one (as frustrating as that can be to do icon_wink.gif )

Karen421 Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 12:57pm
post #9 of 52

I love when I hear/read people say "it's just a cake". Well ok, If it is "just a cake" then why don't you just go ahead, and whip one right up? icon_biggrin.gif

Katiebelle74 Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 1:16pm
post #10 of 52

I used to be thrown by that too but am used to handling it now and you will get there too. My response usually goes something like this

"We all cater to different areas of the market. Wal-mart may be more within your budget and you are welcome to go there. What I offer is a made from scratch cake with real buttercream, real butter, real vanilla, all natural ingredients and is custom designed for each client, it is a high end product. I understand that different people have different tastes in what they want in their cake. If you are accustomed to a different style of cake that's ok."

mamawrobin Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 1:21pm
post #11 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiebelle74

I used to be thrown by that too but am used to handling it now and you will get there too. My response usually goes something like this

"We all cater to different areas of the market. Wal-mart may be more within your budget and you are welcome to go there. What I offer is a made from scratch cake with real buttercream, real butter, real vanilla, all natural ingredients and is custom designed for each client, it is a high end product. I understand that different people have different tastes in what they want in their cake. If you are accustomed to a different style of cake that's ok."




What she said thumbs_up.gif

cookingmama75 Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 1:56pm
post #12 of 52

Im so glad i found this topic,Im just starting out and came across this a few times,I totally agree with all the comments,esp tinygoose spot on!

KayMc Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 2:19pm
post #13 of 52

Katiebelle has THEE perfect response! Everyone who sells cakes should print that and keep it by the phone!

dahir Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 2:50pm
post #14 of 52

For me I just try to keep in mind my experience when I bought my Car. I really really wanted the Lincoln Navigater but my budget fit the Mercury Mariner better icon_smile.gif Guess which one I got.
Oddly enough they would not sell me the Lincoln for the Mercury Price.

Tracy

neelycharmed Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 3:14pm
post #15 of 52

same thing here, makes you want to give up cakes all together... But then you get people who really appreciate what you do and then you fall in love with cake again! icon_smile.gif
Here's how my last phone order went - only this lady wanted a 5 layer wedding cake.
I told her I needed $100.00 deposit, and she then had the nerve to say "well how much else to I have to give you for the whole cake?" icon_confused.gif
I mean 5 layer fondant, with crazy piping and tons of details... yeah, $100.00 wouldl cover that!! icon_eek.gif
needless to say I haven't heard back! icon_biggrin.gif
Jodi

cakelace Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 3:34pm
post #16 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karen421

I love when I hear/read people say "it's just a cake". Well ok, If it is "just a cake" then why don't you just go ahead, and whip one right up? icon_biggrin.gif


.



So true- people don't realize the hours put into designing/baking/decorating a cake. Let them take that fancy request into walmart and see what they say- nope 'pre-made frozen cakes' just don't fit that mold of unique and custom.

Whipping one up for themselves! Now that's a sarcastic comment I'd love to say!

mixinvixen Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 3:51pm
post #17 of 52

i guess i must be the odd man out, because i don't mind paying good money for what i want, but i also want to know up front a price point that my needs are going to be...i tell them what i want and then ask how much it will be..usually within the same breath. if someone dismissively put me off or gave me a bland, generic response because i asked for the price up front, i'd feel compelled to ask somebody else the questions.

people with money to spend didn't usually get that way by not thinking about money first.

lomfise Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 4:16pm
post #18 of 52

I think in your situation, I would first tell the callers what other posters have mentioned, that your cakes or customized for each customer, that the cakes are better quality and then offer them a taste sample.

I'm thinking that tasting one of your cakes would make people want to pay more. Maybe not the first time, but after having tasted the Wallmart cake they will return to you for their next cake. And then tell their friends and family that your cakes are better.

And please don't be sarcastic when they call icon_lol.gif I know it's hard, I do it often myself, but there is nothing worse when calling someone than to be met by sarcasm.

Katiebelle74 Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 7:19pm
post #19 of 52

thanks KayMc!
also figured I would mention (assuming it's a bday and not a wedding) then on a really good day I also add in something along the lines of.....

please keep me in mind if you have an event come up where you would like to try a high end cake.

KayMc Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 8:16pm
post #20 of 52

Oh boy, Katiebelle! Your responses get better and better!!!!! icon_biggrin.gif

7yyrt Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 8:36pm
post #21 of 52

-.

Niquie Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 8:36pm
post #22 of 52

Thanks so much everyone for your encouraging words and advice. I think I will start saying something along the lines of what Katiebelle said. Gotta remember to print that out and hang it by the phone. I just let this get to me too much I guess. It's just really hard to stay happy when this seems to be the only calls or emails I'm getting lately.

Oh, and in response to minivixen, I have a site that has my prices, cake size, and how many servings for that size of cake as well. If the customer had gone to my website they would have had my prices up front. So, either the customer didn't go to my website, or thought they would call and try to get me to go cheaper than what my website said. Either way, I totally agree with you that I don't mind paying good money for what I want, which is exactly why I don't understand why so many people think that custom should cost the same as Walmart.

veghed Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 8:54pm
post #23 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiebelle74


please keep me in mind if you have an event come up where you would like to try a high end cake.




This.

Sometimes, if you just let it sink in, they will return after the 'sticker shock' has worn off.

Or not.

I used to be a manicurist and sometimes customers came into the shop and could not understand why the hairdressers charged more than the ones at Supercuts.

When I first started out doing nails, I was really nervous about pricing. Someone else in the business told me to say, "I do not compete by price, but by quality of service." I can tell you that when I did lower prices or throw in freebies, customers lost respect and did not appreciate the value.

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 9:20pm
post #24 of 52

I often wonder if all these "it's just cake" people bat an eyelash at paying $40 for a steak in a restaurant. After all, it's just a slab of beef.

On the flip side, I've been able to calm down a few people this grad season by telling them it's just cake. At the grocery store I get A LOT of nervous mothers ordering their kid's grad party cake and they stress over the design, colors, message, etc. And they all don't want to pay a lot of money either. So if they get too neurotic, I ask them casually if the party is going to be an open house or is everyone going to get there at a certain time? Every time they say it's an open house. That's when I tell them, "In that case, you might just want to go with cupcakes or a scored sheet cake. Because you're going to get people that swing by more than half way through the party to just grab some food and all they'll see is a half eaten cake. So by going with a scored cake or cupcakes, you can still have a nice presentation at any time throughout the party." I give them this option in place of the sheet cakes that have the fancy piping and scrolls and a picture of the graduate, a grad cap topper and roses. Because no matter how pretty it starts, there's going to be people that come in half way through and see a half eaten cake. "Oh I'm sure it was very nice. . ."

MomMiller Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 9:25pm
post #25 of 52

It's interesting to read this today. I was sitting with a woman yesterday discussing my cake business. I told her MY cost for making a certain cake. She laughed and said why does it cost that much when you can buy one at Walmart for $$$$. I LOVE MY HUSBAND!!!! He leaned forward and said, "she puts fresh eggs, cream and butter in her cakes, you won't find anything fresh in ANY Walmart bakery"
Needless to say, the lady couldn't argue with his point and totally agreed that my cost was a very fair price.

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 9:45pm
post #26 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by MomMiller

It's interesting to read this today. I was sitting with a woman yesterday discussing my cake business. I told her MY cost for making a certain cake. She laughed and said why does it cost that much when you can buy one at Walmart for $$$$. I LOVE MY HUSBAND!!!! He leaned forward and said, "she puts fresh eggs, cream and butter in her cakes, you won't find anything fresh in ANY Walmart bakery"
Needless to say, the lady couldn't argue with his point and totally agreed that my cost was a very fair price.




People at my job often ask when the cake is going to be baked for a saturday order. I pretend to think for a second and say, "A few months prior. We get all our cake and frosting shipped in prebaked and frozen. I think the expiration date on the cakes in our freezer right now are sometime next summer."

icon_razz.gif Is that too much information? icon_twisted.gif

Ozzysmom Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 9:53pm
post #27 of 52

This is why I love CC, just when you think your the only one who deals with "it's just cake" people someone comes up with a post about it...

My favorite is I need the 3 tier cake for 15 people, lol, i get that so much

what ever you do don't bend, your work takes time, the "real cake" people will pay your price for a custom cake and come back for more icon_smile.gif

peg818 Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 11:20pm
post #28 of 52

Frankly i wouldn't pay what i charge people for cake, that is why i make them, I was too cheap to pay someone else to do it for me.


Oh and i have told more then one that the grocery store is just down the road, good luck. I really like this comment when they are looking for donated cakes.

sweetiesbykim Posted 20 Jun 2010 , 11:54pm
post #29 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by peg818

Frankly i wouldn't pay what i charge people for cake, that is why i make them, I was too cheap to pay someone else to do it for me.
Oh and i have told more then one that the grocery store is just down the road, good luck. I really like this comment when they are looking for donated cakes.




Regarding donations, with the same "what's the big deal, it's only a cheap and easy cake, but can you add this and this and this":
I've used a great line I got from CC a few weeks ago, and it worked -no questions asked, and the utmost respect given to me and my business:

"I'm so sorry, but my budget for donation cakes has been used up for June and July. Thanks so much for thinking of me though!"

Niquie Posted 21 Jun 2010 , 12:16am
post #30 of 52

I haven't had the donation cake question asked yet, but where I am, I'm sure I'll get one soon. I don't mind donating one or two every now and then, especially if it's for a good cause or for a child who would otherwise not have a cake or something like that. I am definitely going to take the advice you guys are giving and keep it in my head, and by my phone!!! I am thinking about changingn my signature in my emails to what Katiebelle said when I respond to muggles, LOL!!!

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