What do you say to potential brides on the phone or via e-mail to make sure they know where your pricing starts? Is it your policy to inform customers of your price point before you make an appointment for a consultation?
We have price brochures and a consultation guide as PDFs on our website, right on the wedding cake photo page. We also have a FAQ heading directs customers to the wedding page for more infomation. We even ask in the FAQ that people read the brochure before they contact us for more information. That doesn't always happen.
So, when people call for an appointment, we ask them to read the information before we schedule a consulation. We explain that reading the information will help them be prepared for the consultation as well as making sure our pricing and policies meet within their guidelines. How does that sound?
I know, people don't or won't take the time to read information, even when it is readily available. Posting our information on our site has cut down on some shopping around. I want to know how others handle this.
I don't explain anything about my pricing, however BEFORE i schedule a consult i always ask two things
1) What is the date?
2) How many servings/guest?
There isn't any point in making an apt if i'm not available for their date.
Then with the serving/guest count i multiply it times my base $/serving and say "You cake would start at $----" Is that in your budget? IF it's not then no apt. If it is then i'll meet with them and tell them that depending on the design choosing there may be additional charges (i only charge extra for fondant, ganache, and some design elements like flowers, bows, etc...)
Personally if a price isn't on the website I wouldn't be contacting someone to do the cake. Also if the pricing isn't clear, or it seems like there will be up charges for ever little item then I wouldn't contact them either.
IndyDebi has talked about in the past that she had a whole 'packet' of information she mailed out to potential brides. I would suggest doing something like that. Get their email and send them files of all of the information. To me that is easier for the other person to get all the information you want them too, rather than them having to navigate your website to find all the different areas you expect them to read before they come in.
Them: "How much are your cakes?"
me: Have you had a chance to check out our website's pricing page, where we have all of that information available for you?"
Them: Uh, no.
Me: No problem! Give me your email and I'll send you an information packet. In the meantime, go ahead and visit our pricing page to get some preliminary information. When you get the packet and after you've had a chance to review it, if you like what you see, then give us a call back and we'll schedule an appt to talk about creating your cake with you!
As Texas said, I had everything already written so it was a simple matter of typing in their email address, a few clicks to add the attachments and off it went. Less than 5 minutes per inquiry.
I usually ask if they have a budget that they want to stay within, along with how many people will be coming. I don't get into specifics unles they have specific design ideas, etc., but the budget + guest count gives me an idea of whether they're going to be in my price range. If they're not I tell them that I can't do it for that amount.
I have my prices on the website, in the first email or phone call, and on an information sheet I give them at the tasting. There is no mystery, and I'm repetitive enough to get through to even the most oblivious people. I try to keep it as simple as possible, and I've never had anyone seem surprised with their quote.
Thanks for the great information! I wanted to see if there were some suggestions we had not tried. We do a combination of most of these suggestions right now, so we must be on the right track.
Don't explain, your pricing is your pricing and the reasona are your own, but good news, you are cheaper than most of the cake gods