I'm working on a guide for tasting appointments and have two questions. First, what's the weirdest thing anyone has asked you during an appointment? Second, what's the biggest problem you have if you do appointments?
I'm trying to think of weird things and coming up blank, most of the time the things they want are unrealistic for the budget they have, so I will skip to question two.
My biggest problem is time management. I like to chat and tend to get caught up in chatting. As I get a lot of repeat business the appointment can become a bit of a catch up on what my customer and their families have been up to. I'm the boss, but if my staff wasted as much time as I do I would be on their case to wind it up lol.
I'm training a staff member to take over some of the simpler appointments and the biggest issues I am having with her is getting her to close the deal and taking control of the situation. By that I mean the customer arrives with phone in hand with a stack of photos and a budget that has no basis in reality. My staff member has trouble bursting their bubble and taking a few elements that they like and redesigning into a simpler version they can afford, she doesn't like confronting people. I don't see it as confronting people, but toughen up, grow a back bone and take control of the situation. I guess you would call this people management rather than a practical problem.
Another issue is discouraging people from just showing up, but to make an appointment. A perfect example happened on Saturday. I had a wedding cake to deliver in Sydney about 2 hours away and a couple just showed up. I had to send them away and arrange for them to come back during the week as I was loading my van when they arrived. They weren't happy but there was no way I was willing to be late delivering the wedding cake. And yes we post it, have signs up etc saying consultation with me strictly by appointment only, but it is amazing how many people don't think it applies to them.
One other thing that I find I would be lost without, on a practical level is having plenty of order sheets printed, my price lists printed out and laminated for me to work from and dedicated stationery for the decorating area. I even have a calculator that is a different colour to the calculators that are used in the admin and kitchen areas. That may seem a bit anal but I personally think it makes you look more professional if you have everything to hand and professional looking while taking appointments and not be fussing around looking for a pen/calculator etc.
I don't know if that is what you are looking for, but hope it helps.
Thank you! Very useful.
My biggest problem is getting the bride to sign the contract right away!
they like the cake but never say yes in that moment, they all go back home and email me in a couple of weeks.
I only had one bride booking right away but because she was flying from Hong Kong and her wedding was 2weeks away!!!!!
Most people won't book you during the appointment, because they have multiple bakers they're interviewing. You can speed them along by saying that you have a 5-day hold on their date, and if they don't get back to you by then you'll open the date up to other brides. I don't do that because I can't keep track, to tell the truth, but a lot of people say that creates a sense of urgency and makes people more likely to make a decision faster.
I don't think I have gotten any really weird requests, yet. Just one time someone asked how much notice I needed because their wedding was in 3 weeks and someone asked for a second tasting. But that's about it. I would say my issue is that since I don't have a shop I have to meet people in a public place for consults. There is only one place where we live that would be considered a good meeting place and that is our Starbucks. While I don't mind meeting in public, it is literally where everyone congregates. Sometimes the people I am meeting get distracted by someone they know there or someone I know comes up to me when I am in the middle of the consult. Example: my last wedding consult the woman was uncomfortable being in public because she had gotten bucked off a horse recently and half her face was bruised. She was really concerned with what people would have thought if they saw her. She seemed on edge the whole time, regardless of how much conversation we engaged in.