Buying A Cake Is About The Experience, Really!

Lounge By Stitches Updated 22 Jan 2014 , 3:09am by MommyMommy

Stitches Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 3:17am
post #1 of 66

I came across a good read tonight, http://www.candyindustry.com/articles/why-you-ve-got-to-make-the-consumer-feel-special

 

Do you think this applies to our industry too? It should, don't you think.

 

You know how we tell each other to price cakes correctly as luxury items. Well I've got to admit I probably don't give my customers the feel-special approach enough....and I bet a lot of us don't. I've had people ask for freebies/add-on because they are "regular" customers and been able to respond to them pretty well. Explaining how I do/did give them "more" when I didn't charge for something extra I did, or spent far more time on their cake than I would have for someone else because I knew how important that cake was for them, or gave them a larger cake, etc... and it worked well. But I don't make a habit of bragging to people "hey....I did this for you." unless pushed...........that seems silly. But maybe we should do that? If we don't, how will the client know we've done something special just for them?

 

So here's the thing; How do I give my potential customers that feel-special approach? I really don't know how to sell my product (online mostly through emails) better/as a luxury product. Maybe if I did, that would increase my repeat and new business?

 

I've made luxury purchases myself at stores and I really do like how it makes me feel. I'm totally guilty of feeling special every time I buy my Starbucks Frappuccino, I make a big deal of it everyday, it makes my day (I know that sounds stupid to a lot of people). That's what SB does so well (I think). When I place my order for something special, they don't for warn me it's going to cost more money, like I do when my customer asks for special things on a cake. Maybe I'm overthinking this, maybe we should act more like a luxury product and not tell people what costs more, shouldn't they know? Isn't it similar to buying any other luxury product? The Neiman Marcus sales clerk doesn't warn me there's sales tax, or it costs more to have an alteration.

 

A couple of times in my life I've contacted someone through email for luxury product pricing or questions about a luxury service I might want to buy and I needed to ask really dumb questions (because that's me).............and I've gotten blown off by the persons lack of response. You know that saying, "if you have to ask about pricing you probably can't afford something".

 

But if I blew off every potential customer who asked for the moon and didn't balk over my pricing I wouldn't have enough clients to turn my oven on much.

 

So how can I/we turn buying cakes into a luxury experience by email or over the phone?.............seriously. Or can you only provide a luxury experience if you have a retail location?

65 replies
liz at sugar Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 3:36am
post #2 of 66

Good article, Stitches.  For those who deliver, providing "white glove delivery" would be a great way to reinforce the image of luxury.  Delivery person in full, crisp uniform, gloves, shoe or boot covers to protect the homeowners floors, the whole nine yards.

 

For retail locations, top of the line packaging and a luxurious interior would help reinforce the image of a luxury experience.

 

I'd love to hear other ideas of what constitutes luxury for CC members.

 

Liz

howsweet Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 4:06am
post #3 of 66

Excellent points. And no, I don't think you have to have a retail location. And lots of people don't want to come in to order a cake, anyway. If $300 is easily in your budget, you want to get it done just as easily and quickly as someone with a $30 budget. Wedding cake is another story, of course.

 

My two cents on the subject:

 

One of the first things, odd as it may sound, to let the customer know your cake is special is the price. If you're not charging enough, that puts a customer in a position where he/she must be a savvy buyer and make sure the product is up to the same quality as the more expensive cake. I bought some soccer jerseys for a Christmas gift... they were cheaper and it turned out they were fakes and not quite the same as real ones. And they just got here even though I ordered Dec 9. I was nervous from the beginning of the transaction. But when I pay a premium price, I often am more comfortable that I'll be satisfied with the product.

 

I treat my customers with a high amount of customer service, plenty of explanations and am always open and transparent. I'm happy to accommodate in any way I can, but always for a price. And I do set parameters (time limits). But never ever come off desperate and never obsequious.  I treat everyone as equals. I don't call doctors, Dr So and So, but by their first name which is how they're referring to me. I'm the business owner, so I handle myself as if I own a chain of bakeries and am completely on par no matter who you are. People like dealing with the owner and the owner i not a servant. And that's why I'd never accept a tip (except for good luck tips).

 

And there's no way to know who's a customer and who's not. Everyone is treated with respect. And a few rich people will sort of test you on that, or at least they don't want you to know how rich they are because they're afraid of bilking. And that's another reason to always be consistent and firm in your prices and to have a good handle on them before you start selling.

 

For ordering I have a process that I put people through and usually let them know how things will go at the beginning.  At the delivery I make a big to do about bringing the cake in, looking official in my chef coat, checking the area, assigning people to open doors. If it's not me, I luckily have educated, responsible people who will deliver because I pay about $25-30 an hour. One of them has a degree in history, lol. So there is no irresponsible person who doesn't care about what they're doing bringing your cake.

 

 

Ok, that was more than two cents. I look forward to reading some of the things others do to make their customers feel special or give them the treatment. I love this idea for a thread, Stitches.

Stitches Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 4:44am
post #4 of 66

I can't put my finger on it exactly, but I want to perfect my email conversations/consults. How bad would it look to sent a detailed questionnaire whenever someone emailed looking for a cake? Somehow my process has to get better with q & a's in emails.

 

Has anyone bought any kind of product from a luxury company that does a great job of leading the ordering process for something totally custom? How do/did they do it?

 

Finding branding packaging at good prices so your packaging doesn't cost more than your product is HARD!!  Just this afternoon I bought a beautiful bar of chocolate because of the packaging to study it. If only it tasted 1/4th as good as it looked....it was yucky!

 

Tonight I read the thread about sanitary boxing, happening right now on CC. I don't know where to buy a NICE white cake box for a 3  or 4 tiered cake............so I can't package it as well as I'd like to. Boxing on custom cakes is a really hard thing to do! I think I've seen photos of Ron Ben Israel using cardboard packing boxes for his cakes. Who's got something better?

Stitches Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 4:45am
post #5 of 66

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsweet 
 

For ordering I have a process that I put people through and usually let them know how things will go at the beginning. 

 

I would LOVE to know your process, please explain more?????

howsweet Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 5:25am
post #6 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitches 
 

I would LOVE to know your process, please explain more?????


I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to make it sound special. What I was trying to say is they know they are being put through a reliable system - they are guided,  if that makes sense? Kind of like when you go to IKEA and you follow the arrows. If they try to step out of line, I nudge them back into place. Like yesterday I had a lady wanting to put her deposit down before seeing the sketch and I told her that I didn't want to her to give me any money until she was satisfied with the design and the price. I also told her that I would hold her date for her without a depsoit for a week to give us time to discuss her order. My aim is to make people feel comfortable and safe with me.

 

My actual process is probably what everyone does.  But I tend to first tell them exactly how it's all going to happen. I guess what I meant by process is I stay in control, does that sort of explain it? I also have a spiel I always paste in that will tell them exactly how payment and pick or delivery up will go. I gather info, show them pics and quote one cake just to help them get a feel for price, get some feedback, sketch and price. All over email to the extent possible. I assume this is pretty much how everyone does it.

 

Another thing I do to make them comfortable is unlike what is always recommended here on CC, I never require a customer pay in full for a cake before they've seen it. (not talking about weddings, but definitely birthday orders up to $1,000).  They only have to put one third down. There is no contract. I realize this is risky, but it's how I want to do business, how I want to treat my customers.  So far no one has ever defaulted on a cake. And just having the option makes most people say, just run the card. I suppose eventually someone will cancel on me and I'll be delivering a really nice cake to an old folks home, but I'm willing to absorb this as a cost of doing business.

liz at sugar Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 3:18pm
post #7 of 66

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsweet 
 

 

My actual process is probably what everyone does.  But I tend to first tell them exactly how it's all going to happen. I guess what I meant by process is I stay in control, does that sort of explain it? I also have a spiel I always paste in that will tell them exactly how payment and pick or delivery up will go. I gather info, show them pics and quote one cake just to help them get a feel for price, get some feedback, sketch and price. All over email to the extent possible. I assume this is pretty much how everyone does it.

 

Another thing I do to make them comfortable is unlike what is always recommended here on CC, I never require a customer pay in full for a cake before they've seen it. (not talking about weddings, but definitely birthday orders up to $1,000).  They only have to put one third down. There is no contract. I realize this is risky, but it's how I want to do business, how I want to treat my customers.  So far no one has ever defaulted on a cake. And just having the option makes most people say, just run the card. I suppose eventually someone will cancel on me and I'll be delivering a really nice cake to an old folks home, but I'm willing to absorb this as a cost of doing business.

 

I would like to elaborate on this point.  I just closed up my workroom making custom draperies and window treatments.  Definately a luxury product.  I did this very successfully for 12 years, and also never had a "contract" with any of my customers.  Like howsweet, I always felt that a contract would put customers on edge, and make them worry about "what they were getting into".  A small order in that business is $2000, an average room might be $5000, and a good job would top $10,000.  I asked for 50% up front, after they had received a detailed quote along with a sketch.  They had picked out fabric, hardware, approved lengths, etc. I figured if I ever ended up with someone who had buyers remorse, or ended up in small claims court, I would have their cancelled check as proof that they did indeed order.  But that never happened.  I had all very happy customers, who felt at ease enough with the process, and with the information provided to them.  What I made them was what they approved in the sketches.  I also was never pushy or insistent about receiving a deposit - if they wanted to move ahead with the job at any time, they could send the deposit, and I would put them on the schedule at that time.  No pressure.

 

I think putting people at ease, and answering their questions before they even have a chance to ask, is part of a seamless customer experience.  And I think that is a luxury for a customer, not having to pull information out of someone, piece by piece. 

 

Liz

Stitches Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 3:39pm
post #8 of 66

Quote:

Originally Posted by howsweet 

Another thing I do to make them comfortable is unlike what is always recommended here on CC, I never require a customer pay in full for a cake before they've seen it. (not talking about weddings, but definitely birthday orders up to $1,000).  They only have to put one third down. There is no contract. I realize this is risky, but it's how I want to do business, how I want to treat my customers.  So far no one has ever defaulted on a cake. And just having the option makes most people say, just run the card. I suppose eventually someone will cancel on me and I'll be delivering a really nice cake to an old folks home, but I'm willing to absorb this as a cost of doing business.

I'm also a believer of this strategy. I've only used a contract when the client seemed flaky.

 

~~ I guess what I meant by process is I stay in control, does that sort of explain it? I also have a spiel I always paste in that will tell them exactly how payment and pick or delivery up will go.

That's what I need to do because I seem to write the same spiel over and over...... if it was as simple as a copy and paste.....would you post what yours is (to share) howsweet? At one point I did this, than I managed to loose track of where I put it on my computer (dumb I know). I've looked for it but can't find it.

 

If I had a beautiful house or a beautiful shop and wore beautiful clothing (ie. a crisp chefs coat) I'd look like I was selling a luxury product. I had this same dilemma when I sold fine art. I'm asking for a pretty penny for something and look so much cheaper than my clients. NOT that I don't TRY!! I do look presentable etc.... I really don't want to go down this road/conversation again as it's been discussed to death. But it's an 'issue'.

 

I looked at the boxing thread before posting here......and as nice as those pieced together boxes are, they don't look like a box holding a luxury product. They look like a craft project to me.

liz at sugar Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 3:59pm
post #9 of 66

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stitches 

 

If I had a beautiful house or a beautiful shop and wore beautiful clothing (ie. a crisp chefs coat) I'd look like I was selling a luxury product. I had this same dilemma when I sold fine art. I'm asking for a pretty penny for something and look so much cheaper than my clients. NOT that I don't TRY!! I do look presentable etc.... I really don't want to go down this road/conversation again as it's been discussed to death. But it's an 'issue'.

 

This is where this conversation gets into psychology, and is not really about what you are wearing, or what your house looks like.  You need to determine what your target market expects someone that is providing them a luxury product should look like . . .

 

Have your read the Thomas Stanley books?  The Millionaire Next Door, etc.?  They are a fantastic look into the phenomenon of "big hat, no cattle" - looking like you are wealthy, but are really in the hole.  Maybe some of your customers who are dressed to the nines are in this category?   While many with actual, significant wealth use a different tactic - the millionaire factory owner who doesn't want to rattle his employees so he drives around in a 30 year old beater.  People like this aren't eccentric - they are using psychology to their benefit in dealings with customers, employees, service providers, etc.

 

Sorry to stray off course a little . . . if this area interests you, I will list some other titles that I found invaluable in crafting my "image" as a luxury service provider.

 

Liz

Godot Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 4:02pm
post #10 of 66

APlease do, liz!

Stitches Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 4:23pm
post #11 of 66

I agree with Godot, please do continue Liz.

 

Personally my life is based on the investing book The Millionaire Next Door. We've followed it religiously and have a nice nest egg put away... which is how I'm able to afford to do this business which isn't making me a lot of money. But by doing so, I don't drive a fancy car, I have a small inexpensive house and live well with-in a very modest life style.

 

I've been working for seriously wealthy people my entire life (I know them very well). Some are pretentious, some aren't. Those people are only a small percentage of my business. MOST of my business comes from people with less 'wealth' than I. People who are splurging for a special event and want to feel like they are buying a luxury product. I don't think I meet their expectations when they see plain ole me in my simple little house.

liz at sugar Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 4:52pm
post #12 of 66

OK, my first and favorite book is the "Millionaire Next Door".  It will be a jumping off point for all these other books.  This author was able to survey millionaires and found out many interesting facts about their spending patterns.  Which is important if you are selling to people like this.  I like two more of his books, although he has written many more.  The "Millionaire Mind" is about what factors got them to that point - education, choice of spouse, upbringing, etc.  And the book on women, I think it is "Millionaire Women Next Door" - that is about self made women millionaires.  These three books have been helpful to me in my personal life, as well in crafting strategies to market to the affluent.

 

My favorite book on selling is "The Art of Selling to the Affluent" by Matt Oechsli (sp?).  This would be classified as relationship marketing - it will help you in the actual process of making customers feel special.  And the funny thing is, selling to the affluent is really not about selling at all.  It is about being available, creating value that supercedes price.  Becoming a comfortable part of their social circles, etc.  An example of this is making customers feel special by giving them your "private" e-mail or cell phone number, giving them the impression that they are on the inside track - they are so special you are parting with something close to you.  And being available to them when the general public would get a "sorry, we are closed" message.  I'm sure there are many more relationship marketing books that would be valuable to read, but this one was good enough that I kept it. :)

 

For a slightly off topic, but still fascinating read, try "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell.  This is mostly entertaining, but it is about the circumstances that led successful people to where they are today.  It shows the environmental factors that combine to create greatness, as opposed to a single factor like IQ.  Again, not directly related to selling to the affluent, but a fascinating study of how wildly successful people got to that point.

 

Liz

liz at sugar Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 5:00pm
post #13 of 66

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stitches 
 

I've been working for seriously wealthy people my entire life (I know them very well). Some are pretentious, some aren't. Those people are only a small percentage of my business. MOST of my business comes from people with less 'wealth' than I. People who are splurging for a special event and want to feel like they are buying a luxury product. I don't think I meet their expectations when they see plain ole me in my simple little house.

 

OK, you are serving an aspirational market - those who want the luxury experience, but probably have no idea what that entails when buying a custom cake.  I would certainly start delivering cakes to this group, dressed in your chef's coat - get a sharp one with your logo for deliveries only.  That is a small investment that you can use over the long term.

 

How does your car look?  Could you get some large logo magnets to up the branding experience while delivering?  If you feel like your house/neighborhood isn't conducive to providing a luxury product, just stick with deliveries.  Work it into the price and then state that you are an "all-inclusive" service provider.

 

Get the booties to slip on at their front door, wear white gloves, go the whole nine yards.  Unpack, take empty boxes if they would like you to, provide a private number that they can contact you at, yada, yada, yada. :)

 

Liz

Rosie93095 Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 5:00pm
post #14 of 66

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stitches 
 

I came across a good read tonight, http://www.candyindustry.com/articles/why-you-ve-got-to-make-the-consumer-feel-special

 

Do you think this applies to our industry too? It should, don't you think.

 

You know how we tell each other to price cakes correctly as luxury items. Well I've got to admit I probably don't give my customers the feel-special approach enough....and I bet a lot of us don't. I've had people ask for freebies/add-on because they are "regular" customers and been able to respond to them pretty well. Explaining how I do/did give them "more" when I didn't charge for something extra I did, or spent far more time on their cake than I would have for someone else because I knew how important that cake was for them, or gave them a larger cake, etc... and it worked well. But I don't make a habit of bragging to people "hey....I did this for you." unless pushed...........that seems silly. But maybe we should do that? If we don't, how will the client know we've done something special just for them?

 

So here's the thing; How do I give my potential customers that feel-special approach? I really don't know how to sell my product (online mostly through emails) better/as a luxury product. Maybe if I did, that would increase my repeat and new business?

 

I've made luxury purchases myself at stores and I really do like how it makes me feel. I'm totally guilty of feeling special every time I buy my Starbucks Frappuccino, I make a big deal of it everyday, it makes my day (I know that sounds stupid to a lot of people). That's what SB does so well (I think). When I place my order for something special, they don't for warn me it's going to cost more money, like I do when my customer asks for special things on a cake. Maybe I'm overthinking this, maybe we should act more like a luxury product and not tell people what costs more, shouldn't they know? Isn't it similar to buying any other luxury product? The Neiman Marcus sales clerk doesn't warn me there's sales tax, or it costs more to have an alteration.

 

A couple of times in my life I've contacted someone through email for luxury product pricing or questions about a luxury service I might want to buy and I needed to ask really dumb questions (because that's me).............and I've gotten blown off by the persons lack of response. You know that saying, "if you have to ask about pricing you probably can't afford something".

 

But if I blew off every potential customer who asked for the moon and didn't balk over my pricing I wouldn't have enough clients to turn my oven on much.

 

So how can I/we turn buying cakes into a luxury experience by email or over the phone?.............seriously. Or can you only provide a luxury experience if you have a retail location?


Excellent article and some great points Stitches, howsweet and liz.

One of the books I read that is excellent for explaining customer service is Delivering Happiness by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. It shows how even the littlest thing can impact your business. He doesn't dabble in cakes, but  some of his customer service tips make a lot of sense. 

liz at sugar Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 5:02pm
post #15 of 66

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rosie93095 
 


Excellent article and some great points Stitches, howsweet and liz.

One of the books I read that is excellent for explaining customer service is Delivering Happiness by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. It shows how even the littlest thing can impact your business. He doesn't dabble in cakes, but  some of his customer service tips make a lot of sense. 

 

I love customer service books - thanks for the tip, Rosie!

 

Liz

Stitches Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 5:39pm
post #16 of 66

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rosie93095 

One of the books I read that is excellent for explaining customer service is Delivering Happiness by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. It shows how even the littlest thing can impact your business. He doesn't dabble in cakes, but  some of his customer service tips make a lot of sense. 

Is it possible to give more examples that you took from the books mentioned, Liz and Rosie? In an ideal world I'd read a new book every week but in my reality cliff notes would fit my time schedule better.........

-K8memphis Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 5:47pm
post #17 of 66

control is the right word as howsweet sagely said--and i've never used a contract either--it's a matter of trust both ways--i'll have 'em sign the order form if it's a face to face just for good measure--

 

at the end of my consults i always say something like,

 

"worry about the ring bearer and flower girl making it down the aisle, worry about 'getting to the church on time', don't worry about your cake i'll take care of everything for you" and i say it convincingly because i do--

 

vip treatment--ensuring people, making them feel secure, tying up loose ends, taking charge of that cake thing for them--

 

y'know what--i've gotten to go to some of the finest fine dining places in the country--because my son has worked there hahaha--but it's not really my thing--but one place everytime we got up to pee which was many times --they would fold our napkins and push in our chairs and fluff up the table ----the servers wore gloves--they served each diner in unison--i mean that stuff is cool (maybe once) but it's not the experience i give my clents--

 

it's not about high end luxury to me it's about me being empowered to fulfill their dream seamlessly and them paying me handsomely

liz at sugar Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 5:57pm
post #18 of 66

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stitches 
 

Is it possible to give more examples that you took from the books mentioned, Liz and Rosie? In an ideal world I'd read a new book every week but in my reality cliff notes would fit my time schedule better.........

 

I would have to re-read it first. :)  Everything in my head is like a big bowl of information soup . . . can't assign exactly which source it all came from, at this point.

 

Liz

liz at sugar Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 6:03pm
post #19 of 66

Quote:

Originally Posted by -K8memphis 
 

control is the right word as howsweet sagely said--and i've never used a contract either--it's a matter of trust both ways--i'll have 'em sign the order form if it's a face to face just for good measure--

 

at the end of my consults i always say something like,

 

"worry about the ring bearer and flower girl making it down the aisle, worry about 'getting to the church on time', don't worry about your cake i'll take care of everything for you" and i say it convincingly because i do--

 

vip treatment--ensuring people, making them feel secure, tying up loose ends, taking charge of that cake thing for them--

 

y'know what--i've gotten to go to some of the finest fine dining places in the country--because my son has worked there hahaha--but it's not really my thing--but one place everytime we got up to pee which was many times --they would fold our napkins and push in our chairs and fluff up the table ----the servers wore gloves--they served each diner in unison--i mean that stuff is cool (maybe once) but it's not the experience i give my clents--

 

it's not about high end luxury to me it's about me being empowered to fulfill their dream seamlessly and them paying me handsomely

 

I totally agree with all this, but Stitches seems to have customers aspiring to this "luxury experience" of buying a custom cake, and they might actually need some physical markers that this, indeed, is what a luxury experience is about.  She seems to be left feeling that they aren't impressed by something in her sales cycle.  That is why I was suggesting some outward signs she might be able to use.

 

Liz

jason_kraft Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 6:06pm
post #20 of 66

AThis is a great topic. If you are not competing on price, the quality of the customer's overall experience from the first time they are aware of your brand to when they are holding the finished product is probably the most important component of your value proposition.

It doesn't necessarily need to be expensive to meet and exceed your customer's expectations, but you do need to put in the time to research who your customers are, what kind of experience they are looking for, what kind of experience your competitors are offering, and what you can do better.

For example, our customers in the allergy-friendly market were expecting assurances that our product was safe for them, so their experience often included a customized copy-and-pasted message (and/or an elevator pitch) I put together explaining my own experience with allergies and the steps we take to ensure (customer's name) product won't contain (allergens). A few seconds worth of customizing the body of a copied message can go a long way towards making the customer feel that it was written just for them.

The other expectation was that the process would be as similar as possible to a traditional bakery (simple branded pink cake box, similar decoration style, a product no one would be able to tell was allergy-friendly), since based on my own experience people with food allergies are a little tired of "special" treatment. I often made deliveries in shorts and a t-shirt, since that wasn't an important part of our value proposition. It helped that we were in Silicon Valley, a notoriously informal place where casual dress is the norm, even among our wealthiest customers.

If you are not able to put yourself into the shoes of your target customers, you will only be guessing at what they want.

-K8memphis Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 6:49pm
post #21 of 66

Quote:

Originally Posted by liz at sugar 
 

 

I totally agree with all this, but Stitches seems to have customers aspiring to this "luxury experience" of buying a custom cake, and they might actually need some physical markers that this, indeed, is what a luxury experience is about.  She seems to be left feeling that they aren't impressed by something in her sales cycle.  That is why I was suggesting some outward signs she might be able to use.

 

Liz

 

hmm, i was always more concerned about negotiating a deal than that--

 

this is more in the 'brainstorm' type category--

 

one is having a tea party atmosphere for the sample--cloth napkins, nice tablecloth --pretty service ware--if indeed you give samples, stitches--or one girl used martini glasses for the fillings which kind of upscaled the consult a bit--give them their few minutes to share and eat and decide (god i have no patience for that hahaha) but you run the risk of off putting tea-totalers too--tea room service is more universal--also something as simple as getting some gold foil personalized stickers for sample boxes--ramp up the take out--

 

???

 

that's not my style though---but i mean if i was you stitches i'd play up my experience and family background which i think you already do--

psychedelic666 Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 8:44pm
post #22 of 66
-K8memphis Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 8:57pm
post #23 of 66

cake sculptures can garner a pretty penny--is that an upturned bowl and a box holding up the neck of the guitar? i see one frazzled string--

 

as far as impact at a party for someone for whom the guitar is special made by a friend--it's priceless--

 

as far as getting that high dollar as a sculpture--it needs more work--it needs to tighten up and shed the 'loving hands at home' look 

 

but no doubt someone worked their toosh off making that one!

 

did you make it?

DeliciousDesserts Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 9:27pm
post #24 of 66

Wow.  I just fell off my chair.  No contract!!!!!  I could cry.

 

But, that wasn't really the topic of this thread.

 

I'm going to toot my own horn and say I really do think I have perfected the consult.  While I don't book every bride, I do absolutely make a connection with each one of them.  It is during the consultation that my clients discover that this is very personal for me.  They see the care I take in the first few minutes to get to know them.  We laugh, sometimes we get teary eyed, we make a real connection.  They see that I bother to use real plates and flatware and napkins.  The whole time I am getting to know them, they are getting to know me.  By the end of the consult, if I have done everything correctly, they trust me.  They know that I take my business seriously, that I am going to do my best to ensure their vision is realized, and that I truly care about what I am doing.

 

Sorry, can't help it, I have to address this contract issue.  Part of being a professional (who clients can trust) is acting professionally.  The contract does more than cover your ass.  It ensures that everyone knows exactly what is expected.  What if I am thinking they want the lace design we first discussed but they changed their minds and want the first design?!  Or they decided they want a different flavor!  

AZCouture Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 9:37pm
post #25 of 66

AI'm as white glove as I can be. Shoot, I better be, cause I'm selling $12 serving cakes, when the smaller ones are ordered.

You better believe I'm treating them like royalty. I definitely make it a point to let them know what they get with me is not some random cake copied from the internet, that I will work with them to come up with a concept unique and tailored to them specifically. Blah blah blah gourmet, scratch everything, hand painted, no edible imagery, minimaluse of molds, blah blah, custom sketches, meeting, delivery, blah blah.

I'm not going into great detail cause I can only put on a show once a day and I have an appointment soon.

AZCouture Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 9:38pm
post #26 of 66

AThe experience of the order? You better believe it.

Stitches Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 9:41pm
post #27 of 66

It's a mutual trust issue....and something not standardly done by many professionals in my area (seriously). We give exact quotes, look each other in the eye and shake hands in the mid-west where I'm at. In the conversation leading up to the qoute they are told that any changes will effect their price and that there are no change orders 7 days before the event, etc... so everything is said verbally.

 

I've had several jobs done around my house by professionals and we agree on the price/quote with-out signing a contract.

 

BUT IF THE PERSON SEEMS FLAKEY AT ALL.....than you pull out your contract....and I've done that. Also the majority of my customers come from referrals of established clients. A cold call order is almost always a low priced b-day cake, for me.

 

It really has to be about trust with your clients. Around here asking someone to sign a contract means you don't trust the other person..........unless you talking about major purchases (which a cake is not).

 

If I get stuck with a cake (which I haven't yet), I know plenty of people who would enjoy eating it.

-K8memphis Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 9:42pm
post #28 of 66

it's not like i commit everything to memory, dd ;) i use order blanks--i get names, dates, addresses, cake details,  outline the payment dates, the serving size, no changes after last payment--it's a work order and it works--almost every place i've ever worked does it this way--except one, the caterer and they had to detail all the food & service blablabla

 

it's almost semantics  work order versus contract  -- whatever--some of the contracts i've heard of on here simply chronicle every bad thing that has ever happened or could happen--i don't think that is professional--not saying you do that--i cringe when i hear peeps on here listing all the clauses and where clients have to sign and initial--sounds like buying a house almost--

 

difference of opinion -- yes no contract

Stitches Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 9:44pm
post #29 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture 

I'm as white glove as I can be. Shoot, I better be, cause I'm selling $12 serving cakes, when the smaller ones are ordered.

You better believe I'm treating them like royalty. I definitely make it a point to let them know what they get with me is not some random cake copied from the internet, that I will work with them to come up with a concept unique and tailored to them specifically. Blah blah blah gourmet, scratch everything, hand painted, no edible imagery, minimaluse of molds, blah blah, custom sketches, meeting, delivery, blah blah.

I'm not going into great detail cause I can only put on a show once a day and I have an appointment soon.


I totally have to agree you do that VERY WELL! I read your FB posts and you really sell very smartly/professionally. I can't think of anyone (cake people) who conveys that better than AZ.

 

AZ I'd love to know more about how you sell behind the scenes if you'll share? Do you always deliver?

Rosie93095 Posted 13 Jan 2014 , 9:46pm
post #30 of 66

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stitches 
 

Is it possible to give more examples that you took from the books mentioned, Liz and Rosie? In an ideal world I'd read a new book every week but in my reality cliff notes would fit my time schedule better.........


In Delivering Happiness, their core values include "Creating WOW through Good Service", make every customer think they are number one and that they are getting the best cake for their money. If people are treated respectfully, made to feel comfortable and see the fabulous cake they are going to get, they will no mind paying the price associated with the art you are creating. Showing a professional attitude, branding, using "high end" appearing packaging and business cards/labels etc. are some of the best ways to make your customer feel like they are getting a luxury product. Some of the easiest and low cost ways to do that is when you have your consultations. go to a thrift store or search your grandma's attic and find some old (good condition) china and flatwear to serve your samples on, Use fine linens to cover your table, Creat an atmosphere that your client feels is elegant, but it won't cost you much.

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