Free Cakes For Networking Purposes

Business By karateka Updated 28 Dec 2010 , 1:05am by indydebi

karateka Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 1:11am
post #1 of 19

When you guys bring free cakes to the Fire Dept, Police station, flower shops, photography studios, etc to advertise and network....

Do you call to make an appointment, or do you just show up during operating hours and drop stuff off?

18 replies
jenmat Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 2:06am
post #2 of 19

Hmmm, I'm a dropper. I like to give people pleasant surprises, and it looks like less of a sales call. However, I'm not sure that some photogs may not have set hours, I would check with those guys.

You're really strugglin still, aren't ya?

karateka Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 2:16am
post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jentreu

Hmmm, I'm a dropper. I like to give people pleasant surprises, and it looks like less of a sales call. However, I'm not sure that some photogs may not have set hours, I would check with those guys.

You're really strugglin still, aren't ya?




Yep.

I'm convinced there's something horrid I've done that I don't know about and will never be able to fix or make right. Thing is.....I'm contracted to a year of theknot.com so I can't just quit. I see Rafael Logrono talking about all the orders he has (FB) and I just sit and stew in envy.......I have to be offensive to just about everyone, and just be completely oblivious to it. It's the only thing I can think of.

I had such a promising wedding consult recently and she promised to email me a family recipe and she hasn't. But enough whining. Gotta go to my paying job in the am, and it starts early. Off to bed.

cakegirl1973 Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 2:56pm
post #4 of 19

I don't have any advice, but just wanted to chime in to encourage you to keep going! I am trying to get my gig going, too. It's tough. I have had several tastings that seemed to go well and then I never hear from them again. I am just trying to focus on building my portfolio, since I think my recipes are pretty solid. So, hang in there, keep going, and know that you aren't alone!

cakinallday Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 3:06pm
post #5 of 19

I've done this before. I called, let the secretary know who I was and the purpose for the call (I'd like to bring samples) and I asked how many people were there because I didn't want to bring too few samples and is there a day that is best for the company. It worked out, I ended up bring the samples about two weeks later and everyone was happy....HTH

Tclanton Posted 6 Dec 2010 , 3:41pm
post #6 of 19

I think that cake decorating has taken a huge upswing due to the artists on TV that I love to sit and watch as well. They have a huge fan following and more people are trying their luck. I started doing cakes in March of this year with no anticipation of doing them for the general public. However I had so much fun doing it that I havent stopped. I dont have a huge following of clients as of yet either and often it is bothersome. But on the other hand I have been able to make them as needed and not be overwhelmed. I work full time, love to camp and enjoy my weekends away from home, so I really havent pushed my creations. I should go out, give samples, and offer my business card to keep on hand - especially now that ole man winter has set in. I agree with earlier post that states to surprise them. I wish you much luck in your future!!!

Annabakescakes Posted 16 Dec 2010 , 6:57am
post #7 of 19

I would say that it is best to just drop by, and maybe not see how many people are there. I wouldn't "stake out" the place, but try to get a general idea of how many people are there, and bring a little less! Leave them wanting more, and they are more apt to order! Make sure to leave cards, so they know who to contact.

costumeczar Posted 16 Dec 2010 , 12:59pm
post #8 of 19

Giving samples to local wedding planners might be a good option, too, not just to fire stations etc.

artscallion Posted 16 Dec 2010 , 1:11pm
post #9 of 19

Only two things better than surprise cake...surprise sex and surprise money.

If you schedule it, everyone will be waiting around that day with their own expectations of "cake day!!" This can result in lots of, "well the cake was okay, but I was expecting bigger pieces. I didn't bring dessert today cause I thought this would be it." etc.

In a surprise, you have no expectations to meet. Whatever you bring will be better than the lack of cake they had before you walked in.

Annabakescakes Posted 16 Dec 2010 , 6:29pm
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by artscallion

Only two things better than surprise cake...surprise sex and surprise money.

If you schedule it, everyone will be waiting around that day with their own expectations of "cake day!!" This can result in lots of, "well the cake was okay, but I was expecting bigger pieces. I didn't bring dessert today cause I thought this would be it." etc.

In a surprise, you have no expectations to meet. Whatever you bring will be better than the lack of cake they had before you walked in.




I wish we could "like" posts on here, like facebook!

I'll just pretend.

(Like!!)

leah_s Posted 16 Dec 2010 , 6:38pm
post #11 of 19

The free cakes need to be given to people who are highly likely to refer biz to you. I do not take cakes to the firehouse. I have taken them to dress shops, florists, country clubs, and photographers.

indydebi Posted 17 Dec 2010 , 12:40am
post #12 of 19

I've taken freebies to police stations and fire houses just as a "just because" thing. (One was a canceled cake and I donated it.)

In the August issue of CC was my column about getting "in" with other wedding vendors. The two vendors I interviewed were not impressed with "drop off" cakes. Both (and they are not alone, based on my years of hanging out with wedding vendors) are motivated by building relationships, not by free cake. The wedding planner wants to see the baker's facility and talk to him/her. The photographer wants a win-win relationship and he achieves that with one on one conversations, not with a free cake in one hand and a business card in the other.

dropping freebies off at businesses are hit and miss. developming relationships with wedding vendors takes time and work.

Tclanton Posted 17 Dec 2010 , 1:35pm
post #13 of 19

Question? When you take in cakes, do you take in fully decorated cakes? Or is it just basic iced cake with a border?

karateka Posted 17 Dec 2010 , 2:04pm
post #14 of 19

So...I was thinking bringing in cake and a card, just a "I'm out there" sort of thing, and saying if they would like to meet or talk to give me a call. I'm willing to work on a relationship. I just need to take the first step, and a free small cake as an introduction seemed like a nice way to say "Hi", no?

I guess it isn't good form to put flowers on a cake you bring to a florist?

indydebi Posted 17 Dec 2010 , 2:11pm
post #15 of 19

based on what these two people said in the interview, they would prefer the first step be a phone call to make an appt. The photographer friend said he likes his first meetings to be just the two of them at a Starbucks over coffee .... no photo albums, no free cake. He said, (and I quote), "Shoving a cake into one hand and a biz card in the other and saying 'refer me' just isn't going to cut it." He wants to get to know the person first ..... both said the cake was almost secondary to waht they look for.

We (the caker) are asking them to turn the most precious thing in the world .... their brides .... over to us. And they want to build a trust level first.

The wedding planner wants to see the facility to see how clean it is; she wants to see photos and she'll be looking for straight cakes, smooth BC and unbumpy fondant.

My highest recommendation to building relationships with other wedding vendors is to join a wedding networking group. If there isn't one in your area .... start one.

KrazyAboutCake Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 5:55pm
post #16 of 19

Taking samples to Salons and Day Spa's are great businesses to get the buzz word going. You know how women like to talk in the salons. If you take them to corporations find out who the HR person is. Usually the HR person is the one that will purchase cake for company birthdays. Real Estate agents would be another good source. What a nice Thank You from the real Estate agent to give after a closing on a home.

When I had my salon, I gave gifte certificates away to business, i.e. wedding planners, photographers, makeup artist, real estate agents, all the local businesses. How I worked it was I would sign up the business with the dollar amount they wanted. I would give them the certificates at no cost except here is the thing. When that certificate was redemmed than I would invoice the company for the gift certificate on a monthly basis. You see it is a win win, the company doesn't have to put up hundreds of dollars that may not be used, my name still got out there regardless if it was used and if it was redeemed, I made money and the business paid at the time of invoice. You need to use a system so you know what company gave the certificate out. I just made up certificates pertaining to each business with a number on it. I also gave out gift certificate as well to charities.
I hope this will help.
Happy Holidays

karateka Posted 20 Dec 2010 , 6:17pm
post #17 of 19

A good idea, thank you!

RobzC8kz Posted 27 Dec 2010 , 11:31pm
post #18 of 19

I've been doing cakes on a part-time and full-time basis, on and off for three years, I've never given out a free cake, and my phone keeps on ringin'!

I have been on the recieving end of a "free sample" when I worked for a bakery. A lady came in to the shop to "give away" free cookies that she had decorated and wrapped. Along with the sample came a flyer, business card, and a request to allow her to put a display up on our counter for her to sell her cookies!

I guess if you've recieved requests from vendors to try your cakes, and it's in your budget, I don't see the harm. But I wouldn't just throw freebies at people. It's a bit off-putting if you come on too strong.

Just my $.02

But hey...do whatever works!!

indydebi Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 1:05am
post #19 of 19

I think this thread has two different questions and two different types of advice going. The title asks about how to "network". Some of the advice is geared toward "how to get people to order cakes". Please note that these are two different things with two different goals.

If the goal is Networking, that is getting to know a group of people who can refer business to you (and you refer business to them). This is the one you want to build a relationship with, to get to know them on a personal and professional level. you become a friend and a trusted professional.

If the goal is to get your name out just so people will order cakes, then that's a different tactic all together; more low key; more in-and-out type of "relationship". You are not a friend but just a business owner who sells something the person might need someday.

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