I am starting to do more wedding business but since I bake out of my home I always do my tastings at the local starbucks. What I've been doing lately is sending brides home with my contract to look it over because I feel like its too awkward to sit there and stare at them while they peruse and think about it. I'd much prefer to encourage them to sign on the spot though. How can I do this without being pushy and awkward? Any suggestions?
I'm a thinker and have to over-analyze everything, so I would not be comfortable as a client signing on the spot. I also do some of my consultations at Starbucks. Since my clients can't do a tasting there, I send them home with a sample kit of cake and fillings. I wouldn't want my clients to book me before they've had a chance to taste what I make. I also let my clients know up front that I don't expect them to make a decision that day. This no-pressure approach has worked for me. I started my business officially January 1st this year, and I've done a lot of wedding consultations since then. So far, I've booked 100% of the brides I've done consultations with, and I'm averaging only 11 days from consultation to 50% deposit received. I don't know that I'd go with the approach of really encouraging clients to book on the spot, but that's just my opinion.
Just out of curiosity, no disrespect meant, but does anyone ever ask why they have to meet you at Starbucks, rather than at the place you legitimately operate your business from? Is it a thing with your health dept that you can do the baking at home, but not meet people? And Starbucks is cool with this kind of arrangement? I guess you must buy a coffee while there, huh?
I meet people at my home, where my business is based as well. My home is located 45 miles from the city where most of my business comes from. I also work at my "day job" (non-cake related) in that city. So, it's often more convenient to meet somewhere in the city instead of both of us traveling to my home. I have one Starbucks that I use when we do choose that option. I contacted the manager ahead of time to explain to her what I was wanting to do, and she's fine with it. I always purchase a beverage, and most of the time my clients do too before they leave. I always give the client the option to meet at my home, but once I explain where it is and where I work, those who have selected Starbucks are completely fine with it. I think it would completely depend on your own situation and on your clients' preferences. It's never been the ONLY option I give my clients.
QueenofSweets, I live about 30 mins from the city where I do most of my business, and I too prefer to give people the option of meeting me in the city. I know that if people want to do business with me they will, but I feel bad making people come all the way out into the boonies...
Have yet to get a contract in place, something I really need to do...thanks for the info!
Ah, see, that's what I wouldn't have thought of. I'm such a small towner! Ok!
I'm like QueenofSweets in that I tell them "I'm not expecting a decision, a check or a commitment today. I do expect you to leave here with some good information to enable you to make a good decision, when you're ready."
I will review key points on the contract (nto every single one, just the ones that are pretty important) and talk about why they are on there. Then I send a copy with them to read at their leisure, tell them to call me if any part of it bothers them, and I'll need the signed contract with their check to put them on my calendar.
So far my experience is pretty good with having them take the contract home with them so based on what you've all said, I'll just continue to do the same.
I have two small children at my home and no good place to conduct a tasting. I'm friends with the manager of the Starbucks I use and he's fine with me being there.
I send the contract home with them, too.
When I used to do bridal tastings, we would discuss the details at the consultation. Then I would send them home with their cupcakes. I would tell them, "I will mail you a contract this week, and I will hold your date open until XX/XX/XX to give you time to make a decision". People really liked not being put on the spot.
So the day after the consult, I would snail mail them two contracts - one for them to sign and return with their deposit, and the other for them to keep. No pressure on them, and they knew they had a certain deadline they needed to respond by if they wanted their date guaranteed. I also didn't have to sit around wondering "Am I doing this cake? Should I hold this date open?"
I do not price a cake at the consultation. I tell the client that I will send them an estimate in ____ days-and then do sent the estimate in that many days. I forgot key elements in my first quote and the extra cost to me hurt my bottom line. So, no pressure for the client or for me. I mail the contract and copy and ask them to send it back. Has never been a problem.
I meet clients at Starbucks, too. I've never had any problems with doing tastings there. First, I give them an info sheet (flavors, pricings, etc.), and they leave with a duplicate copy of a written quote after having the tasting. I tell them that the quote is good for 30 days (written in contract). Should they decide to book, we meet again to sign the contract and for them to pay a deposit. This gives them time to think about it and to meet other bakers. I would LOVE for them to sign on the spot (and some have), but I would hate to have the reputation on a pressure seller.
I've also found that when they can take their time to make a good decision, there is less buyer's remorse and the cancellation rate is WAY down. When they are comfortable and feel they've made a good decision, they stick with it.
I think one of the main keys, is that you need to let that bride know in a nice way that she isn't the only one getting married on that particular day. Letting her know gently that a signed contract is the only way she can secure her date with you is usually what seals the deal. I do go out my way to tell the bride that she should shop around, compare prices, taste others, etc. And they never do. They always sign that night. And I don't even ask them to. THis is just thier way of saving the date I guess.