Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Cake Decorating Business › Educating our Clients about our brands, How to?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Educating our Clients about our brands, How to? - Page 2

post #16 of 25

AZ, sorry that this is off topic, but how do you do 80 servings with 4-5 tiers?  I would have thought that 3 tiers would be fine with 80 servings.

post #17 of 25

5-6-7-8-9 would be 83, 5-7-9-11 would be 98, there's a few other ways with mixed shapes, half tall tiers, etc. I try to think out of the box with everything. 5-6-9-10 would an option, and would have a big gap good for a cluster of giant flowers or something.

*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Reply
*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Reply
post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brenda549 View Post

I know what you were trying to convey to the customer, but your email just gave a sense that you do not have the up front time to spend on her cake.  From her response, she did not take it that way at all.  That was just my overall feeling.

 

Ah, that's good to know, I didn't even realize that....thank-you I'll be more aware in the future.

 

Unlike you and many/most others here I'm not into custom work....mainly because I never like the way it makes me feel afterward. I'm never sure enough (even though the person says they "love it") that the person is completely happy with a custom project. Where as when I recreate a design they've chosen, I know myself that I'd nailed the design and gave the person exactly what they asked for. It goes back to being a painter/artist and I hated commission work (my personal phobia). Custom people can get very needy and spend more time talking about the possibilities, then it takes to do the whole project.

 

I'm always careful not to send prospective clients to someone actual site. I only send them to massive photo sites where the chances of them finding the decorator living near them is very unlikely.

 

Also maybe it's just in my head, but it seems that the people who approach me don't want to get into long conversations choosing a cake (only a few of them do). Most of my phone conversations seem to over-whelm the client when I ask them questions, because they are usually unprepared on the first call. I get the feeling they are happier to talk via email and I like it because my hearing isn't perfect. In fact, I'd rather never sit down with the client if I could (that's why I like wholesale work so much. Just tell me what you want and I'll do it.).

 

Can I ask: How would you have responded to your example client AZCouture if they didn't present you with a photo or a direction? What would you have said to them?

 

Again, I guess I'm asking how do you sell yourself and product in the beginning of the conversation? (I'm thinking based on Brendas' example maybe setting a minimum order amount would be a good qualifier to know how much time I should give to their project? But than can't some people interpret that as being snobbish or maybe you're just stating a fact and I should worry what they think?)

post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitches View Post

At first she asks for ideas. But I didn't get into details yet based on past experience, I didn't want to waste my time coming up with a custom design for someone with a Wal-mart budget. I really wanted to find out her budget and if she was worth me taking the time to give her my ideas. I thought her follow up email to me would have shown me a couple cakes she liked and she would have asked pricing on those so than I could talk to her about my pricing and value. But I didn't get that chance. The client responded to me with-in hours with her photograph. She didn't seem like she was looking for a cute cake that worked in her budget. She seemed to be a person who was shopping out 1 specific design.

 

"My advice would be to 'sell' your skill and product first up - list some of the amazing sounding princess design things you could do, ask what her precious child is interested in, make some wise sounding suggestions about what flavours of cake little girls love." 

 

So that's what I'm trying to learn from this email (and I was hoping other people here would do the same online so I/we could learn from their experiences too). What should I do differently for the next email like this? I'm starting to learn some of these skills and get the customers to practice on.

 

This was my opening paragraph to the client: Thank-you for contacting me! Fondant covered cakes begin at $4.00 per serving. Butter cream frosted cakes start at $3.00 per serving. Pricing greatly depends upon how complex or simple the cakes design is.

 

If I could do it over I should have done this?:

Thank-you for contacting me. How were you referred to me? I'm a scratch baker with 25* years of experience baking custom cakes and pastries. (hell, I don't know how to "sell your skill and product first up". If I did I wouldn't be posting this.)

 

urg......

 

I was thinking something more like:

 

Thankyou for contacting me,blah blah blah.

 

No, I haven't done a princess cake, but they can be so beautiful - I've been looking forward to the opportunity to make one! Depending on what you like, I could do a beautiful 3D tiara, or the cake might look like a princess dress, or I could create a lovely background scene for a Disney princess figurine, or carve a coach from cake!If your little one has a favourite toy, or movie, or favourite colour, we could incorporate that into the design as well.

 

I'm imagining a fluffy vanilla cake with layers of pink raspberry filling - so the inside is as pretty as the outside! Of course, any flavour will work well - my menu can be found here: www.website

 

Other information, blah blah blah.

 

 

 

All of which makes you sound excited.

post #20 of 25
Thanks AZ, interesting size combinations.
post #21 of 25

They don't work for every design, but I typically avoid "typical" or simple.

*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Reply
*Top 100 Designers in The USA, Brides Magazine, 2013*<---little ole' me!
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Birthday Cakes
(2 photos)
Reply
post #22 of 25

My example was to show how I up-sell custom cakes.  You would need to up-sell whatever it is you market.  I just checked out your website.  You do wonderful specialty work!  However, your website only sells you with the pictures.  Maybe you need to find a way in words to describe yourself, your cakes, and what you do for your clients.  Once you do that, then let it carry over into your emails.  It doesn't have to carry over in words, but in a feeling the client will get when they first read your email.  You want them to know you are just as excited to do their cake as they are at having a celebration.  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitches View Post

Can I ask: How would you have responded to your example client AZCouture if they didn't present you with a photo or a direction? What would you have said to them?

 

 

I know you were asking AZ this questions, but if it were me, I would find a few pictures (one or two) of cakes that I know I could do professionally, and send that to her.  If the client did not like them, then I would send the client out to other places to find one they liked.  

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stitches View Post

Also maybe it's just in my head, but it seems that the people who approach me don't want to get into long conversations choosing a cake (only a few of them do). Most of my phone conversations seem to over-whelm the client when I ask them questions, because they are usually unprepared on the first call. I get the feeling they are happier to talk via email and I like it because my hearing isn't perfect. In fact, I'd rather never sit down with the client if I could (that's why I like wholesale work so much. Just tell me what you want and I'll do it.).

 

 

I used Jotform to create a contact form that I imbedded into my website.  It requests most of the information I need to give potential clients a running start at a quote, including a place for them to upload pictures.  You can customize these so that you ask specific questions.  You can also mark questions that must be answered in order to submit their request.  You could always send all of your calls to voicemail and in your message give them the option to leave a message or visit your site to complete the contact form.  If someone sends me a generic "how much will this cake cost" email with very little information to begin with, I promptly and professionally direct them to my site to fill out a contact form.  If they fill it out, I know they are semi-serious about a cake.  If I never hear back, then they were never my customer to begin with.  Most of my contact (probably 90%) with clients are through email.   Most will either submit the form or email back with the additional information I need.  

 

You really were not questioning this but it was a random thought I had (I have many of those lately).  Another thing I do, when a client sends a picture, I always give them a quote on the picture exactly as it is, letting them know the servings it would yield, the sizes of the cake or cake tiers, and the total price.  That way they know what to expect going up or down.  

 

And yes!  Come up with a minimum!  I will not turn on my oven for less than my minimum and paid in full.  Stating it in your email is giving them factual information.  You cannot control how the client perceives that information.    

There are times when I think I can help. Other times I think, given an already shallow gene pool, I am doing more for humanity by just letting go...

 

www.brendabakes.com

Reply

There are times when I think I can help. Other times I think, given an already shallow gene pool, I am doing more for humanity by just letting go...

 

www.brendabakes.com

Reply
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by brenda549 View Post

I used Jotform to create a contact form that I imbedded into my website.  It requests most of the information I need to give potential clients a running start at a quote, including a place for them to upload pictures.  You can customize these so that you ask specific questions.  You can also mark questions that must be answered in order to submit their request.  You could always send all of your calls to voicemail and in your message give them the option to leave a message or visit your site to complete the contact form.  If someone sends me a generic "how much will this cake cost" email with very little information to begin with, I promptly and professionally direct them to my site to fill out a contact form.  If they fill it out, I know they are semi-serious about a cake.  If I never hear back, then they were never my customer to begin with.  Most of my contact (probably 90%) with clients are through email.   Most will either submit the form or email back with the additional information I need.

This is exactly what we starting doing a few months after we launched the business. We had an order form on our web site with required fields (with explanations next to fields people typically had questions about), and our Google Voice number went directly to voice mail with a message recommending the use of the web site order form.

We don't list our email address on our web site at all, and inquiries received via FB or Twitter are also directed to the web site order form.

Everything the client needs to know about your business should be right there on the order form so you don't have to keep spelling it out in emails.
post #24 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brenda549 View Post

I used Jotform to create a contact form that I imbedded into my website.  It requests most of the information I need to give potential clients a running start at a quote, including a place for them to upload pictures.  You can customize these so that you ask specific questions.  You can also mark questions that must be answered in order to submit their request.  You could always send all of your calls to voicemail and in your message give them the option to leave a message or visit your site to complete the contact form.  If someone sends me a generic "how much will this cake cost" email with very little information to begin with, I promptly and professionally direct them to my site to fill out a contact form.  If they fill it out, I know they are semi-serious about a cake.  If I never hear back, then they were never my customer to begin with.  Most of my contact (probably 90%) with clients are through email.   Most will either submit the form or email back with the additional information I need.  

 

You really were not questioning this but it was a random thought I had (I have many of those lately).  Another thing I do, when a client sends a picture, I always give them a quote on the picture exactly as it is, letting them know the servings it would yield, the sizes of the cake or cake tiers, and the total price.  That way they know what to expect going up or down.  

 

And yes!  Come up with a minimum!  I will not turn on my oven for less than my minimum and paid in full.  Stating it in your email is giving them factual information.  You cannot control how the client perceives that information.    

Thank-you for your help Brenda!! I can understand how to some people this all seems like common sense because you've been doing this for a while. But having contact with retail customers is totally new to me and this kind of information is REALLY HELPFUL (insert hugs). My website is brand new (and not totally completed yet) so I haven't yet learned how to harness it's usefulness. I will definitely take your advice and make some changes!!

 

Maybe you need to find a way in words to describe yourself, your cakes, and what you do for your clients.  Once you do that, then let it carry over into your emails.                                     Absolutely! I'm trying to find my voice and who I am in this business. So far I haven't had much success with what I write, so I deliberately haven't published words on my website.

 

I still need to think more deeply about other things mentioned...........it's late in the night for me now. Thanks again, everyone!

post #25 of 25
I was looking at websites today, to see what kind of information they had about the business since this post started, it got me thinking, what would make me choose one baker over another without having prior knowledge of their work. I googled "bakeries, st.Louis, mo" and found a lot of interesting stuff. What I found most helpful on one site was their pricing page, it laid out prices for specialty cakes, wedding cakes, cupcakes, etc. $100 minimum for specialty and wedding cakes then gave the breakdown $3.50/$4.50 per serving... Yadda yadda, you get my point. What I found MOST helpful was the site that had within the contact section the information the baker needed. When, how many, what kind of design (graduation, wedding, birthday) and then a statement that the client would be contacted within 24 hours of the submission. I think that may help prospective clients from being over-whelmed when placing an order. The same site also stated that the baker had been in business for 10 years and all cakes, fillings, and icings were freshly made from scratch. She really sold herself, in my opinion anyway.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cake Decorating Business
Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Cake Decorating Business › Educating our Clients about our brands, How to?