Friday, August 24, 2012

Important Truths About Pricing - Part 1

Try to ascertain what your position is on these rules and axioms on pricing. You really don’t have to agree, or disagree, with them to gain some insight into your beliefs on pricing. Discuss them at one of your next sales meetings.
1. Pricing is a major part of your success or failure.

2. Pricing for caterers needs to be carefully thought out. It cannot be the same for everybody or every party; even McDonald’s charges differently for a Big Mac in different parts of a city.

3. Using a traditional mark-up policy for every event type, such as cost times three, will lead to trouble in most catering companies.

4. If your price is too high, you know, because buyers don’t buy. If your price is too low, buyers will never tell you!

5. The real question to ask is, “How much is this particular client prepared and then willing to pay?”

6. All prices should reflect volume discounting that the shopper understands.

7.  Prices for customized catering should reflect the value as perceived by the buyer along with what the market will bear. Caterers can do a better party with more money to spend!

8. The definition of fair pricing means that the client has an outstanding event, the guests become future clients of the caterer—and the company prospers!

9. Don’t buy back your business from the clients. “That’s okay Mrs. Smith, I’ll reduce your charge by $50.” This is buying back the business from clients. If you really want to give the client a break of $50, you should put $50 of your own money back into the company!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Common Elements Shared By Great Salespeople - Part 3

Is in constant search of competitor data. A great salesperson knows the competition. They understand competitors’ advantages and disadvantages over their own company. They know their prices and procedures. They’ve seen marketing and selling materials used by the competitors.

Answers typical buyer objections before they arise. I know you’ve heard this before. Great talents always anticipate the objections that might be coming from a buyer and answer them before they are asked. Often it is placed in the context of, “Last week a client pointed out to us that (give the objection), but after a little thought they decided that (give your answer).”

Is always honest in their approach to selling. Honesty is the cornerstone of all sales. Don’t confuse honesty with telling sales stories like “that date is really busy” that build urgency. We mean that honesty while making the deal is extremely important.

In theory, is ready to sell 24 hours a day! You never know when a buyer is going to be around, so always have a card and a smile ready to go! I know a caterer who sold an event to a policeman who had pulled him over for speeding!

Isn’t afraid of making mistakes. Mistakes result because of either lack of preparation or taking a chance. Great sales talents always are ready to risk it all if they think that’s what’s needed to get the buyer into action. These talents are not afraid to get out on a ledge and take some risks to make a sale happen today instead of tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Important Tip In The Kitchen!

Even the best kitchens need discipline and critique. The culinary leader needs to be able to speak openly and frankly about the results of the culinary team’s efforts. “Chef James, I know you worked very hard on that recipe, but unfortunately is still isn’t correct,” is the way this is handled. Critique the results, not the person. These words are just as important as a critique of a problem: “Chef James, your work today was flawless and much appreciated.”

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Guest Article - Swinging For The Fences - Part 3 - by Jon Wool

In our series exploring the parallels between Major League Baseball and the catering game, we've covered the subject from the perspective of both the owners and the managers. The MLB season is now in the midst of what are commonly referred to as the “Dog Days of August” and it’s time to turn our attention to the people who really make it happen.   Assuming that the management has put all of the pieces of the team puzzle in place, at this stage, the game is strictly in the hands of those on the field: The Players. 
By mid August, the end of the regular season looms and the playoffs are in sight. This is when would-be contenders fade fast and the most resilient, talented, and disciplined teams surge ahead. Players are responsible for staying healthy, making smart behavioral choices, narrowing their focus, and playing harder than ever. Ball teams are made up of power hitters, speedsters, dependable fielders, and domineering pitchers; each player working to maximize his individual success and that of his team. The same can be said of catering companies. Here, salespeople, cooks and chefs, operations staff, and event servers must work in harmony for the benefit of the clients and the team.
Catering company employees are responsible for keeping their energy high, approaching each event enthusiastically, and staying alert to handle any curveballs.  In order to achieve success, the entire staff must be dependable and work together trustingly.  Chefs rely on smart work from the sales team.  Servers depend on good decisions by the operations team.  Sales people must trust their event staff to serve their clients well.  If the entire team can work together, the caterer will be hitting home runs.  If resentment and egos get in the way, there can be no hope of becoming the champions.
Success all boils down to player execution. Home run titles, strike out records, MVP and Cy Young awards are fantastic but it is a World Series trophy that sums up the success of the team.  Likewise, reaching personal sales goals, moving up to Sous Chef, or learning a new service style is valuable for personal growth but catering companies are judged based on whether or not they hit it out of the park on event day.
And who does the judging?  The Fans.  But that’s for next time…

Monday, August 20, 2012

Common Elements Shared By Great Salespeople - Part 2

Asks good, probing questions. Questions maintain control in any sales situation. The best salespeople learn to ask a variety of important and not-so-important questions that give them information about the event and an understanding of the “buying attitude” of the clients.

Uses sales aids while selling. Involves all of the buyers senses, i.e. smell, hearing, seeing, touching and tasting. Don’t just talk about a special chair; show it. Demonstration will sell more than explanation. Try to get the buyer to involve each of the five senses. For example, let the client feel a china plate instead of just looking at it.

 Sells the concept of not embarrassing the buyer in front of others. The best salespeople have learned that buyers are buying them (the salesperson) not the menu. When giving a party for friends or strangers, all hosts want to be free from embarrassment.

Takes the risk out of buying when possible. No buyer wants to be a fool. The great salespeople assure the buyer that nothing will go wrong and that if it does, this is what our company is ready to do for you. Telling a client that they must pay for the guaranteed number of guests is not the same as saying that if a few don’t make it to the event, we will make some sort of an adjustment.

Listens to the meaning of what the buyer is saying, not just the words. A great salesperson is always listening and carefully analyzing what the buyer has just told them.

Decides ahead of time what they are going to sell to the buyer. Ordinary salespeople let the buyers buy what they think they want. Great salespeople sell the clients what they “really” wish!

Acts professionally at all times. This deals with such things as dress, speech, courtesy, and manners. It also deals with a need to stay in control of what is happening.

Never apologizes for price, only explains what the price does. The only answer to a buyer’s remark about your prices being higher than others is, “Yes, we do have higher prices; let me explain why.”