If You "lose" A Bride, Do You Want To Know Who Get

Business By smab109 Updated 26 Sep 2008 , 4:50pm by costumeczar

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smab109 Posted 24 Sep 2008 , 8:59pm
post #1 of 16

I just had a co-worker tell me that instead of me, they are going with Walmart for a wedding cake.

I quote "I just have to pick up the cakes, throw them on a stand and I'm done! Cakes arent hard at all!"

I just smiled politely. I did not want the order to begin with and was relieved when she didnt return the contract...but gosh, Walmart for a wedding cake? Really? The kicker is that this is in Amish country...she goes on and on about how all the food is "home-cooked" better than anything you can buy in a store...and ya cheap out on the dessert??

But back to the original question - do you like finding out where brides go to if they dont choose you? How does it make you feel?

15 replies
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loriemoms Posted 24 Sep 2008 , 10:10pm
post #2 of 16

I don't really care who they go to...I never have gotten a Solid answer from a bride on why they went with someone else. Most of the time its because their mom wanted to use someone they have always used for family cakes or they wanted a full service bakery. I guess I just move on, there are plenty of brides out there!! I am just not very competitive.

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sari66 Posted 24 Sep 2008 , 10:43pm
post #3 of 16

Well that does stink but as for wanting to know who they choose instead of Me it doesn't matter one way or the other.

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sweetcakes Posted 24 Sep 2008 , 10:48pm
post #4 of 16

i sure would like to know who they decided to go with and why. But they're not going to tell me im sure. one thing i was going to ask about, so im glad you bought this up, is how do you cinch the deal? Im not a hard sales person, and i cant stand it when a sales person does that to me, so im very relaxed and dont put any pressure on them to sign on the dotted line at the consultation, but what can i do to keep them?

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2508s42 Posted 24 Sep 2008 , 11:04pm
post #5 of 16

I would like to know at least why. I like to stay competetive, and if it was something that I couldn't do anything about then I feel better, but if it was something like someone else had a better flavor or texture or whatever, then I want to know so I can improve my business.

As far as Walmart goes... I am SURE it was the price. Their cakes are cheap, and they taste like it. If someone goes to Walmart and not me, then I just console myself with the knowledge that they are "Not in my market". And that's just fine.

I did have a lady want a price on 300 cupcakes, filled, with 3 gumpaste daisies on top, wrapped in scrapbook paper with a ribbon tied around each one, and delivered to a ski resort about an hour from here. I told her it would be about $400 for all of that, plus $50 for the delivery (standard) That is only $1.30 a cupcake, for all that work. She told me she could get the same thing at a local grocery store for 50 cents each. I told her to go for it. Then I thanked my lucky stars that I didn't have to deal with her. There is NO WAY that price is true. She wanted to know if I would match the price and I told her I couldn't. That it was way too much work for that price since I bake everything from scratch and don't have a large factory that ships in my order. Also, I know she was just trying to get a "deal" from me, since I called the store that she was talking about and they said they won't do that at all. They don't even fill cupcakes. They will do daisies, but that is extra and they are buttercream.

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AsburyArt Posted 24 Sep 2008 , 11:10pm
post #6 of 16

The answer is: there is nothing you can do. Make the best product possible and charge what you think it's worth. Knowing where your competitors are price-wise helps.

I'm always curious where they go after me, and why. But then a new customer comes in and I forget I was curious in the first place.

Take pride in what you do and it won't matter so much if someone (regrettably, mistakenly, their loss...) doesn't use you.


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costumeczar Posted 24 Sep 2008 , 11:15pm
post #7 of 16

The only reason I'd want to know would be to see if someone was trying to undercut my pricing. I'd just be keeping track of the offender in my mind and putting them on my mental black-list icon_evil.gif

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loriemoms Posted 25 Sep 2008 , 12:56am
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Originally Posted by sweetcakes

i sure would like to know who they decided to go with and why. But they're not going to tell me im sure. one thing i was going to ask about, so im glad you bought this up, is how do you cinch the deal? Im not a hard sales person, and i cant stand it when a sales person does that to me, so im very relaxed and dont put any pressure on them to sign on the dotted line at the consultation, but what can i do to keep them?

I dont do a hard sales at all..that wouldn't work with many of my brides. I treat them the entire time like I am ALREADY doing the wedding...nothing like "if you book with me" and things like that. I tell them what I will do and how I will do it. They get a contract and FAQ and all that stuff the second they sit down in a pretty folder. It seems to work.

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indydebi Posted 25 Sep 2008 , 2:03am
post #9 of 16

I dont' care. I only ask that if they go with someone else, that they let me know so I can release the date to other inquiries (the date isn't locked up for them .... I just tell 'em that). The few brides that go elsewhere after a sampling are very good at letting me know .... At least I'm not left hanging.

I especially don't care if the person undercharged, uh, I mean undercut me or not. Because I find that doesn't matter. I got the wedding cake over someone who was half my price, once.

I don't pressure to close the deal at the consultation. In fact, part of my opening speech is, "As I told you in the email, I'm not looking for an answer, a commitment or a check today. We're just going to eat some good cake/food, talk about your wedding, and when you leave, you'll have lots of good information that will enable you to make a good decisions when you're ready. Sound fair to you?" The big sigh of relief from them is incredible and we enjoy a nice, informative, no pressure meeting.

In 2008, I had 8 "wedding canceled" (which means it WAS booked, but then canc'd); 1 wedding postponed (which means it WAS booked, but is now a tentative); and only 2 went with other caterer/baker. I've had over 75 samplings this year, so losing 2 out of 75 to someone else just ain't shabby! thumbs_up.gif One went with another baker who was $75 cheaper. $75. Big whup. Not losing sleep over that one.

Like loriemoms, I also speak in the "like it's a dun deal" tense. It's just easier for me to have a conversation like that. Plus you can pepper the conversation with a lot of Rule Number One of Sales phrase of "what we CAN do is this ....."

I also ENCOURAGE them to comparison shop. I tell them, "If I'm your first tasting, then I suggest you do at least 2 more." One bride laughed and said that was odd of my to want her to try other places.

I leaned back in my chair, got my gramma-smile on my face, looked over my glasses at her, and in my best Paula Dean accent said, "That's becaues I'm arrogantly confident enough to know that if you DO try other places, that you'll be back."

ANd yeah ... I booked that bride. icon_biggrin.gif

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littlecake Posted 25 Sep 2008 , 2:09am
post #10 of 16

shoot, i don't care at all....good luck to them, some times they are so ignorant they think thier mother in law or auntie can do it.

i must say i have heard some horror stories from the party goers.....i try not to feel smug, but it's hard....LOL!

one time they decided to let someone else do the brides cake,,,but still "let" me do the grooms cake.....ha ha, one of the attendees said the brides cake tasted like cornbread.....it was still sittin there, but they were scraping the cake board on the grooms cake tryin to get every crumb.

i think they are sometimes just dumb about cakes.

i can't tell you haw many brides have called me bawling because they trusted the wrong person to do the cake....sometimes i could help them, most of the time not.

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indydebi Posted 25 Sep 2008 , 2:16am
post #11 of 16
Originally Posted by littlecake

....bawling because they trusted the wrong person to do the cake.....

A key phrase. thumbs_up.gif During that sampling, we are asking them to TRUST us to make their wedding cake. It's a big job and a big responsibility. It's the biggest sales job we will do during the entire process.

Among my Rules of Sales:
1) Get them to know YOU
2) Get them to know your company
3) Then and only then can you successfully sell your product.

If they don't trust YOU ... they are not buying your company or your product.

So be sure you're selling the right thing! thumbs_up.gif

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CoutureCake Posted 26 Sep 2008 , 5:56am
post #12 of 16

I honestly don't care who they went with if they don't book... TRULY, I don't give a rat's behind.... The reason: If they book someplace else they weren't my customer in the first place!!! My time is more valuable spent catering to my customer's needs than someone who wanted to go someplace else.

OTOH, I have to say it is satisfying as all GETOUT when they book someone else, it falls through, and one month before the wedding they want me to pull their cake out of my butt because their other baker backed out. Sorry, I'm booked already icon_twisted.gificon_biggrin.gifthumbs_up.gif

It is what it is, I'm not going to stress over people that weren't going to purchase from me anyways. I'm also NOT about to do hard pressure sales tactics either because most of the time they backfire anyways. Case in point, in the past week I've been thrust into finding a new gym to workout at. The first place I checked out gave me the high pressure sales tactics up the wazoo without really showing me the equipment I was interested in (I said up front the only areas I'll be the entire time I'm there), they had time to show me all the stuff I was NEVER going to use, but not let me spend any time in the area I'd be working out the most in (the thing about working out at the gym, you've got a set pattern of what you are and aren't going to ever use)... Gym #2, when the gal started to push the class stuff, I interrupted her with a comment about equipment and anchored in that she doesn't need to sell, just show me around and I'll be the easiest sale of the week... She got the hint and guess which location I'll be signing up with??? It's a far less fancy of a place to workout but they've got what I need for equipment and the salesperson took the time to listen..

Of course, that's not to be construed that I don't "ask for the sale" but I'm also of the belief that it's just not worth pressuring someone into a decision they aren't ready to make in that moment and resenting it and being difficult to work with later on. I'd rather have them decide which way to go on the spot when they're ready, not when I think they're ready.

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GenGen Posted 26 Sep 2008 , 6:24am
post #13 of 16

nicely put CoutureCake!! icon_smile.gif

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all4cake Posted 26 Sep 2008 , 7:15am
post #14 of 16

If someone wants to share with me why, I won't not listen. But I won't inquire as to why they didn't . I figure it's their choice no matter the reason...the other cake maker may have had on a pretty shade of lipstick.

I don't talk with them as if it is a done deal unless of course they approach me that way...."Is there any way possible you'd make my wedding cake?.." OSLT.

Whether I'm their first consultation/tasting or their last....I refuse to book the same day as the consultation/tasting. Unless, again, I'm approached that way...

I hope that whoever they book with provides them a cake they're happy with.

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MichelleM77 Posted 26 Sep 2008 , 4:38pm
post #15 of 16

I think I am curious as to where they go. I've gotten some email inquiries that sounded like they were going to order, and then I never hear from them again. I think my curiousity is due to the fact that I am fairly new to the market around here and I'm a little self-conscious yet.

Hopefully those customers are just going to my buddies Sarah and Erica. icon_smile.gif

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costumeczar Posted 26 Sep 2008 , 4:50pm
post #16 of 16

I don't believe in a hard sell either, and I tell people that if someone is saying "you have to sign today!" then they should walk away. If someone wants to hire me they will, if they don't oh well. It's rare that people will tell me that they've decided not to hire me, I usually just don't hear from them again.

The interesting thing to me is that when someone DOES email with the "devastating" news that they want to hire someone else, it usually seems like they want me to come back with a better offer. I had one girl email me that the other baker was going to do this and that for her, and I had no doubt that she wanted me to beg her to let me do the same things for free. I didn't, of course, since I knew the other bakery she decided to go with, I'd seen their kitchen, and I know that they can charge low prices because they don't buy cleaning supplies. icon_twisted.gif

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