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How prepared are you for client consultations?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Anyone who read my recent post about the kissie face consultation might understand where I'm coming from with this thread. That consult has me re-evaluating how I prepare for my consults. I've never had a situation where a bride that couldn't communicate to me verbally. So I'm starting to think maybe I need to provide/bring more to my consults.

 

1. Does anyone bring a reference guide for the general layout options for wedding cakes, with them?

 

I had one (it was several pages long) from Wilton years ago but it mainly referenced stacking cakes with pillars. Today there's so many more options! I don't know how I'd make something like this up with-out bringing a huge folder. Does anyone do this or know a source I could borrow for this? I tried to do a quick web search during a consult and got no where fast on this topic.

 

2. Does anyone have a reference guide for side piped designs or side designs in general? With-out showing tons and tons of cakes as reference...

 

Again, I don't know how I'd begin to create something like this because the options are limitless.

 

Normally I'd go to photographs on line or in my portfolio to show examples....but I got stuck when the bride had no ideas and none of my on line references worked.

 

Help, do any of you have a back up plan? What if my computer was down, I'd have needed to bring something to show (and not 100 books and magazines).

post #2 of 14

I keep it simple and visual...I use styrofoam dummies and show one or two different configurations of tiers that could work for the size cake they need. Seeing the actual sizes helps them more than looking at drawings. I don't have examples of specific types of piping since they can usually look at pictures to see that.

post #3 of 14

I do most of my consults at my kitchen, but I do sometimes meet at other locations, so I made sure everything was easy portable. I put everything onto my playbook, and I mean everything! lol

Portfolio, layouts, flowers, cost calculator, inspiration ideas, contracts, (they are signed right on the screen and e-mailed to every party), a design app, and a ton of other things.

I automatically back it all up to a cloud network as well, so if something happens to it, everything is saved.

I am paranoid about losing information, what if there's a fire, or I get robbed, etc etc.

 

When I am in my kitchen, I have cake dummies on display and a chalkboard cake. Which I LOVE! I found this idea on pinterest and painted hatboxes with chalkboard paint, so if a client has a specific idea they can draw it right on for me, and I can take a picture.

http://www.bellebebes.co.uk/2011/09/creative-cakes/#respond

it's also great for things like figuring out flower placement for brides who know exactly what they want.

post #4 of 14

I don't set up any consultation "blind". By the time we're face to face, I already know how much they want, a general idea of what they want, and they understand an approximate cost. I like to have ideas prepared in advance and if they email pictures ahead of time for reference, if they have any.

*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
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post #5 of 14

Scrumdiddly, I LOVE the chalkboard cake ideas.  What a cool way to sketch ideas and get feedback from the customer. 

post #6 of 14

The chalkboard cake is a great idea.

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture View Post

I don't set up any consultation "blind". By the time we're face to face, I already know how much they want, a general idea of what they want, and they understand an approximate cost. I like to have ideas prepared in advance and if they email pictures ahead of time for reference, if they have any.

What do you do when you come across a situation like I described? The person on the other end of the phone has a thick accent and you can barely understand them. I, thought it would be easier to talk face to face.

 

The chalkboard cake is a great idea!! Except the cake shape they wanted was a square with off set twisting layers.....and she kept trying to tell me she wanted thin tiers too. I was a professional artist for 10* years, yet I couldn't draw a decent diagram of that.

 

But what do you do when your not at your shop or home? I met this latest client at a Starbucks, I can't bring everything I own in my bag.

post #8 of 14

Yeah, sorry I can't help you with your question, I don't sell cakes.  Just love the idea of a chalkboard cake.  Hey, maybe I will make one just to have as a room decor.  You know, you can make your own chalkboard cake in any color......

 

I think if you are doing consultations out in public, there is only so much you can do to prepare for a client, especially one with whom you are having a difficult time understanding.  One thing would be to only meet at places that had wifi, which are pretty common now.  The other thing would be to be more assertive during the consultation.  When the kissie face started, redirect them back to your topics.  After a couple of the kissing interruptions I think I would be tempted to just end the meeting until a time when you had their full attention, and to tell this to them.  Also to end it when they had no cake ideas and couldn't help with the design ideas.  Just end it and meet again after she had emailed  you some cake ideas.  It sounds like they weren't prepared and I don't know if any prep on your part would have changed the results, or lack there of, from the meeting.  Ok, I guess I did have some ideas.

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitches View Post

What do you do when you come across a situation like I described? The person on the other end of the phone has a thick accent and you can barely understand them. I, thought it would be easier to talk face to face.

 

The chalkboard cake is a great idea!! Except the cake shape they wanted was a square with off set twisting layers.....and she kept trying to tell me she wanted thin tiers too. I was a professional artist for 10* years, yet I couldn't draw a decent diagram of that.

 

But what do you do when your not at your shop or home? I met this latest client at a Starbucks, I can't bring everything I own in my bag.

I don't meet people outside of my business, I just don't. Sorry, maybe others that do that can help. But to address the phone conversation/not understanding, then I would insist they email me. I can't afford to get knee deep into a conversation to find out they had a beer budget and here I am sketching out Sylvia Weinstock, know what I mean ? ;) Maybe I'm just as not as giving of my time as some, but it's what I do. 

*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
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post #10 of 14

And that chalkboard cake idea is way kewl!! Makes me want to make a real cake with that idea in mind. Little pieces of gum paste chalk, chalk dust, wee little erasers.

*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
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*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
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post #11 of 14

AZ, Please do it!!

post #12 of 14

Sorry, I guess I have more...lol. One of the reasons I want to have a few things already known before I meet someone, is I want to make sure they aren't creeps either. I know people can lie, but after a couple of emails and maybe a phone call, you get a better sense of who someone is. Plus, they are screening me as well, right? I have licensed business which the front part happens to be home, so these people are still coming to my home, no way around that. It just doesn't look like someone's house. Front part kept very antiseptic, but still cozy.

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post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by denetteb View Post

AZ, Please do it!!

Arty McGoo has done some cookies like that...anyone who does't who Arty McGoo is, Google NOW. For real. Soooo amazing.

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post #14 of 14

what a sweet video!

 

like craftsy meets i love lucy = arty mcgoo

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8c4nK_e-Srk

one baker's 'never ever do' is the next baker's 'i swear by this'
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