Saturday, September 10, 2011

My Tips On Finding A Great Accountant

1. Accountants are very busy people. However, they need to be able to give a caterer more than just a little time. Shop for your accountant. If they are reluctant to come and make a sales call to you to “see” what you do before you hire them, think twice.

2. Unfortunately, most accountants don’t really understand what caterers do. Most accountants only know accounting procedures for restaurants, which tends to get them into trouble with caterers.

3. The single biggest area of concern deals with the fact that, unlike restaurants, caterers have prices and menus that are always different from those sold yesterday. They are for different size groups with different amounts being sent. These variablesoften “throw” the accountant.

4. Caterers tend to get into trouble with taxes especially payroll taxes. Therefore, it would be wise to select an accountant that has some tax expertise. Some caterers search for a CPA that is also a JD – Lawyer. It’s a plus if they have IRS work experience.

5. Most accountants will want the caterer to use a computer program to manage their books. This is a good thing for both parties.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Scripts For High Price Objections

As we all know, prospects often directly “attack” the fairness of a caterer’s pricing – “You’re prices seem higher than other caterers.” Often these price objections are harsh and aggressive. Below are some simple scripts that just might help a salesperson “explain” their prices to the prospect.

“Yes, Ms. Weaver, we realize that we charge more than many caterers in town, but when we started ABC Catering, we quickly realized that we could charge less by giving less, as some other caterers have chosen to do. Or, we could charge a realistic and fair price that would allow us to maintain a catering business that offers only the finest quality in order not to embarrass our clients, their guests or ourselves. So, Ms. Weaver, I’m sure that you want only the best for your friends, don’t you?”

“When a caterer doesn’t have any track record, they usually offer lower prices, which results in lower levels of experience and quality that foster much more risk for the host.”

“Many customers think that all caterers are the same, just as the same model of a car is the same, no matter what dealer you buy it from. But you’re not buying a car when you buy catering. Let me explain: If you can decide on a particular car model that you want and then go to different car dealers and try to get the best price, that’s great; a Lexus is a Lexus. But when you call and get different prices from different caterers for the same menu, you are buying qualities that you can’t examine by “kicking the tires,” such as experience, track record, quality of suppliers, cleanliness, staff and the overall investment in the profession. Spending $500 less on a caterer could become one of your worst nightmares, like expecting to get a Lexus but ending up with a Camry.”

 “We hear that from many people, and it’s an honest comment. But because we charge a little more, we are able to put a lot more into the order. So, I think the extra money is worth your peace of mind because you won’t have to worry about the success of the party. What do you think?”

“As you know, as with most things that you buy, you get what you pay for.”

“Since you brought up XYZ Catering, let me share with you some of the major and minor differences between the two of us …”

“Yes, XYZ is somewhat less expensive than we are …but look over this list of clients who have switched to us from XYZ because of what they discovered after they tried us just once.”

Discuss these scripts, make them better or discard them – but, please do something to prepare your response to high price objections.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Very Cool Additional Phrases for Proposal/Bids

These are some of my favorite phrases to use in bid/proposals. You might add one or more of the following phrases to your proposals:

a) “Your price of $85 per guest is guaranteed for forty-five (45) days until October 3. After this date, a review needs to be done to assess any increases in cost.”

b) “When you call us, please use this special number, 555-5555, which will place you with my associate, Gregg Jones.”

c) “Gratuities are not required, but are graciously accepted by the staff.”

d) “Most important, we assume all responsibilities for planning and coordinating the total flow of your event.”

e) “All of our ingredients are fresh. All of our portions are generous and you may be assured of ample quantities for your invited guests.”

f) “We take pride in understanding and anticipating the special needs of our clients. We make them partners with us in creating memorable and treasured events!”

g) “The menu enclosed has been customized for you and reflects our earlier discussions. However, I will gladly make any adjustments you wish. The menu and services have been priced according to the number of guests you are presently estimating.”

h) “All other charges for equipment rentals, flowers, music, etc. will be on your final invoice or billed directly by our affiliate companies. Please note that we accept major credit cards for payments of deposits or invoices.”

i) “The staff will leave your event at 1 A.M. and will cost $685 per hour for the eight hours of service. In addition, a 12 percent Social Security and Unemployment Tax fee and a $20 gratuity will be charged.”

j) “Enclosed, please find a statement of insurance from our insurance carrier. We want you to know that all ABC Catering staff working at your event are legal employees and not independent contractor casual labor. This means that, since they are covered by Workmen’s Compensation, you are protected from possible claims by staff for any injuries that might happen while at your event.”

k) “Once you have booked with us, you will receive unlimited phone assistance to confirm and reconfirm each and every detail.”

l) “Over the phone yesterday, you mentioned the need for keeping costs down at your event. Bob, you’re not alone in your wish. Most of our clients are voicing the same concern for value and lower-cost impact ideas from us.”

m) “Just in case you need me before or after regular business hours, my cell number is 555- 5555 and my home number is 555-5551. My children are up at 6 A.M. each morning . . . feel free to call!”

n) “One reason for our company’s success is that our planning department has the total support of our culinary team.”

Just give me your email in the field directly under my photo on the right. Then, just confirm/reply your request once you get your confirmation email and you are ready to go! Thanks.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Getting Money From Vendors Concept

Below is a real memo I’ve had some of my consulting clients use to secure marketing money from the people they send money to for goods and services. You send thousands of dollars to your seafood distributor, etc. Why shouldn’t they help you in your marketing? The people and locations mentioned in the memo below are fictitious. You will either like this idea or not. I personally hope you like it and give it a try!

From: Jim Smith
To: Bob Jones
I really need your help... but first let me tell you once again what a super job you and your crew are doing for us! I receive nothing but raves from my clients and their guests about your products.

Bob, I’ve arranged to do some marketing during the months of November and December targeted at getting more business during our slower season of January through March. The total budget is $4,800 for some ads in the City Light magazine and a direct mail letter to 3,000 people in the Plum Grove area. Since we both will gain from the success of this marketing, I’m asking my suppliers for their financial support in this marketing program.

Please consider investing 10%, or $480, in our marketing efforts. You may send us a check directly, or if it’s better for you, you can make the check out to one of the companies that I need to pay for the marketing i.e. postage, printing ad design etc. In either case, please call us before September 25 with your decision. You may ask for me or Margaret.

Thanks for your consideration!

P.S. Why don’t we meet for lunch!

Just give me your email in the field directly under my photo on the right. Then, just confirm/reply your request once you get your confirmation email and you are ready to go! Thanks.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Planning For A Marketing Promotion

1. Decide what promotion fits in with your overall marketing goals.

2. Concentrate on increasing the most profitable parts of your business.

3. Write down what you expect this promotion to bring you.

4 . (a) Make sure you know what Unique Selling Propositions you will be marketing to.
     (b) Determine what you are going to offer and to whom.

5. Create your theme, point of interest, gimmick, attention getter or whatever you wish to call it!

6. Figure how you can get your entire staff involved in the promotion.

7. Test your ideas with your various mentors.

8. Put a budget together to look at the numbers. Remember, if a catering business is earning 20% profit on every dollar sold, then you get back $20.00 for every $100.00 of stuff you sell. So, if a promotion is figured to cost you $1,000.00 of your hard earned money, then you will need $5,000.00 in sales from the promotion just to break even!

9. Create a realistic timetable and assign tasks to create the promotion for yourself and the staff.

10. Put the promotion aside for a few days. Let it roll around in your head. If it still makes good sense and nobody is able to critique it... put it in motion.

Just give me your email in the field directly under my photo on the right. Then, just confirm/reply your request once you get your confirmation email and you are ready to go! Thanks.

Start Marketing Holiday Events Now!

OK - it's after Labor Day - caterers shouldn't wear any "white" and must start working on holiday sales.