Appropriate Professional Response?

Business By cutiepiecupcake Updated 31 Mar 2011 , 4:30am by coldtropics

cutiepiecupcake Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 10:18am
post #1 of 11

Ok.. before I proceed, I just want to make it clear that I am in no way 'bagging-out' or venting about this potential customer's enquiry - she was very friendly and polite. My intention is to receive honest feedback regarding the way I have worded my response for future reference.
So the scenario was a common one - the customer attempting to 'bargain' with my quote by means of comparing mine with another she has received from a different baker. This has probably occurred many a time for most of you in business, however, it was a first for me as I am relatively new to business. I do not wish to negotiate my prices in this situation as I am offering her the base rate I charge without decoration and I have spent quite some time researching my competition and pricing my product according to my overheads etc.
Here is how the conversation played out:
My quote was as follows:
130 x regular sized cupcakes with swiss meringue buttercream or ganache swirl @$3 each
1 x 6"white choc mud cake covered and filled with white choc ganache and featuring a wall of white chocolate mud slates @$40
1 x cupcake tower hire @$15
Total = $445

Her response:
Hi........,

Thank you so much for quoting on the cupcakes and cake so quickly. What you are proposing sounds lovely however I have received another quote for $375, charging $2 per cupcake. Of course I totally understand that you may not want to revise your quote, but if you would like to you are most welcome as ........... will be a far better location for us to pick everything up.

I will look forward to hearing from you.
Have a great day,

My response:
Hi .........,

Thanks for getting back to me. I would love to be able to offer to 'match' the price of the other quote you have received, unfortunately I can not due to the factors involved in the process of working out my costs ie; quality control over my ingredients. The quality of my ingredients is the biggest part of what makes my business successful, take for example the high quality chocolate I use - fine couverture as opposed to cheap compound chocolate costs over $15 p/kg and that is without taking into consideration the cost of shipping. As with a lot of services you require when organising your big day - "you pay for what you get." For me to match the other quote means I would have to compromise on the quality of my ingredients. I'm sure you can understand and appreciate that compromising the quality of my ingredients is not an option for me, as not only would it risk the reputation of my business, it would also be offering second rate quality to your guests on your one big special day - I personally would not want to be responsible for that.

Thanks for your time ......., please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance.

Regards,

...............
Was this an appropriate response? I don't want to sound as though I'm ranting at her.. nor do I just want to fob her off and say "no.. I refuse to negotiate.. goodbye and good luck." How do you deal with such enquiries? And what is your response?

Thanks
icon_smile.gif

10 replies
letsgetcaking Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 1:15pm
post #2 of 11

I don't think you need to be so detailed about how you run your business. I would keep it brief. Something like:

"The price quote I have given was calculated in order to ensure my customers are getting the highest quality product for the best price."

Quote:
Quote:

The quality of my ingredients is the biggest part of what makes my business successful.




I definitely would not list the cost of ingredients you use. The customers won't know how it factors into the overall cost of their cake (not to mention everything else that goes into it).

As a customer, I think the second half of your response is a little off-putting. I don't think you were meaning to, but it sounds passive/aggressive...that if she goes with another company, her wedding guests won't appreciate being served an inferior product.

I'm not in business yet, but this is one of the parts I least look forward to. icon_smile.gif

Corrie76 Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 1:39pm
post #3 of 11

I agree that it's too wordy and too much explanation. You already aren't going to get her business on this one order so don't spend so much of your valuable time trying to justify your costs to her. I would have responded similar to this:
Dear Customer,
As much as I'd love to match the other quote, I am unable to do so based on my own costs involved. I wish you the best with your upcomming event and look forward to working with you for any of your future needs.
Sincerely,
The Baker
In two sentences, I conveyed the message that I can't match the price, I'm supportive of my customers, I have a positive attitude and left her with the feeling I'd like to work with her down the road. Plus it only took about a minute to compose my response and now I can concentrate more of my time focusing on my customers who have ordered with me.
Also, if I were you I'd totally advertize the quality of my ingredients used, but at another time and place, like on the "about us" or "about our products" section of a website or any literature you may provide in your shop or discussions with customers prior to ordering with you...you want to inform the potential customers about your quality, not the ones who are going with someone else...when you do that, it connotates the message, "you have no taste for quality, cheapskate!" and may leave them feeling like you have an attitude about their poor decision to choose price over quality....which is a valid attitude to have- but you never want the customer to know that!

Bluehue Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 2:03pm
post #4 of 11

OP - her reply to your email gave you an ultimation -
Honestly, i would have replied...along these lines.

Thankyou for your return email - I can appreciate you wishing to save $70.00.
My prices are not for everyone.
Thank you for your enquiry - perhaps we shall speak again.

Kind Regards
xxxxxx



You don't have to give an epic story about why you charge what you do
They really do not want to know every *in and out* of your business.
Its business - you are a business woman/man - keep it professional - keep short but polite.

Oh, just on a side note - one thing i did notice
Say - *Thankyou* instead of *thanks*
Your Customer did.
It comes across as a more pleasant manner than *thanks*

I know we say *thanks* on here - but thats the differnce between talking business and chating amongst friends.

IMO ...................... maybe i am just of the old school
It is like when someone sends an email and they are talking TXT talk
I can't be bothered trying to unravel the puzzle - so i let it be.


Bluehue

Jess155 Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 2:14pm
post #5 of 11

I don't sell cakes, so I'm looking at this from the customer's end. I actually like the fact that you point out the difference in your chocolate as opposed to others' chocolate. As a customer, I think I would be put off by a short reply of "my costs are higher" becuase I wouldn't understand why. I'd be fine paying for higher quality, but not necessarily higher pay for you or higher rent that you pay. I know that sounds terrible, but that's what a customer is thinking.

I thought your response was really well thought out.

mommachris Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 10:26pm
post #6 of 11

Honestly that last line of it would be easier for them to use you because of location......really....location is why someone picks a baker to make the cake they will serve to their guests. icon_confused.gif

She isn't interested in the quality of your ingredients. It's more about convenience and her gas tank. Let her go to the cheaper baker with your blessing. Sounds like the economy has overcome her taste buds.

Keep it simple:

Dear Bride,
So happy you were able to find a baker who can give you such a good deal. I won't be able to match that price at this time.
Thank you for considering our bakery.
Sincerely,
Professional Baker

As Joe Friday used to say,
"Just the facts, Mam."

cutiepiecupcake Posted 28 Mar 2011 , 11:11pm
post #7 of 11

Thanks.. or should I say 'thank you' icon_wink.gif for all the feedback.. you have all made valid points for me to consider when I face this situation again (probably all too soon lol). I only pointed out the fact about the quality of the chocolate because her feature cake is going to be primarily white chocolate- those of us who work with chocolate, especially white choc, know that the quality is most important for the finish.. not only presentation wise but with taste. I guess though at the end of the day I may be wasting my breath and my time on someone who isn't going to understand the importance of that until they waste their hard earned budget (or their parent's money!) on a cake that is going to be greasy, gritty or gooey in their mouth. I will point out that it was never my intention either to disrespect the other potential baker by making a point about second rate products.. I just don't want to be held responsible for serving up something I know I've had to cut corners on to meet a budget.
However, thank you again for your feedback.. I will definitely take it into consideration icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 29 Mar 2011 , 12:55am
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommachris

As Joe Friday used to say, "Just the facts, Mam."



good one! thumbs_up.gif

johnson6ofus Posted 29 Mar 2011 , 1:49pm
post #9 of 11

I am NOT of the "two sentences" variety, but a compromise of the two (original draft and recommended options). As a customer, I HAVE changed my mind when a vendor pointed out the differences in the product or service. I HAVE asked vendors why their price seems "a bit higher than _____". I wanted to know how/ why they justified the price- not to be snotty, but to be an informed consumer. And I HAVE chosen the higher priced vendor if I felt like I was getting value for it. So I am NOT a fan of the "just blow them off" reply.

I agree the original draft has too much info, but to convey "mine is better and more expensive because I use better ingredients", or "I only use real butter", or "mine is _____" is reasonable.

Kitagrl Posted 30 Mar 2011 , 1:53am
post #10 of 11

I like mommachris's response best. I liked the OP's response okay but it did give a vague hint that if the customer went with the cheaper baker, they'd be giving their guests an inferior product.

coldtropics Posted 31 Mar 2011 , 4:30am
post #11 of 11

At this point I give my potential clients the cost period. I do not haggle. If cost is a potential problem i suggest they simplify their design or cut back on serving yields. Ive been frustrated in the past under quoting then being resentful 3 months later at production time. Besides I would rather take one $1500. commission than 10 $150. cakes.

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