Friday, January 25, 2013

Creating Advantage During The Sales Presentation

Use these concepts during a sales presentation to create excitement about the advantages that the shopper might lose if they don’t act quickly to book their event.

·   Price. Price is the most powerful and critical factor when a shopper is thinking about postponing the decision to buy. It is easy to use pricing to encourage a sale if you start creating seasonal pricing—spring prices, summer prices, fall prices and winter prices. When a buyer is talking about an event that will happen next summer, you can offer this year’s spring prices if they make a quick decision.

·   Date. This is especially strong with celebrations like weddings, showers, birthdays, and other social events. Point out that the day the client has selected is a popular one and that most caterers will be getting booked very quickly. Even a one day hesitation to make a decision could lose a venue.

·   Prime space. Banquet facilities use this to create urgency and excitement by offering a special room, on a first reserved basis. If the shoppers wait, they might lose the best room and have to settle for less.

·   Discount. You need to be very careful with this one. Some caterers call it an early bird discount. It is offered to those who make a quick decision so they can close off a date. Explain to them that all caterers like to get their dates filled as early as possible, so they give better prices for those who buy early. If you wait, you usually pay a premium price for catering.

·   Special staff. The caterer explains that by booking quickly, the party can be staffed with the company’s best staff. If they wait, they will get just great staff.

·   Menu. Often caterers offer additional menu items for early booking. The shopper is told that if they come on board now, they can get two more appetizers and a special presentation of their dessert.

·   Equipment. Explain to shoppers that during peak seasons, the best tents, chairs, glassware, etc. are rented early, so waiting too long can have an effect on the appearance of the event.
If these seem negative to you, remember that they are all out of context. You probably would not use them all with the same clients. The point is that the salesperson needs to emphasize reasons for the shoppers to make a positive decision quickly. The only way to break the promise of “not buying today” is to explain that there are wonderful reasons for buying today to gain super advantages!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Eliminate Product Lines - You Have To Consider This Concept

Some caterers book too many orders or events that don’t really impact their bottom lines in a positive manner but that require them to have a lot of staff working to handle the business. By identifying product lines you are selling that offer little, if any, contribution to profit, or those that require numerous staffing hours to complete, you can eliminate them and reduce your need for staff. If eliminating a particular product line, like drop-off catering, is out of the question, at least consider making your minimum guarantees and prices higher.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hire Outside Consulting Chefs

This concept is important for both new and very established catering businesses.
Use culinary professionals from outside your own staff to train and motivate your staff. Consulting chefs can help your culinary team redesign your old menus or create new trendy and profitable menus. It is always good to have a fresh set of eyes evaluating your personnel, sanitation systems, inventory procedures and overall culinary skills. You don’t need to hire a Food Network star for this. The only requirement is to secure a well-trained and seasoned professional who has a passion for food and the kitchen and who will introduce new ideas and challenge the old ones.
Obviously, I stand ready to recommend professional consulting chefs - just call me at (773) 549-7210.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Sales Tactic That Isn't For Everyone - But Think About it

Sometimes, the best way to sell up is to sell down. I wish to share with you an idea that I’ve shared with caterers from time to time over the last 10 years. When most caterers hear it for the first time, they usually think it is absolutely silly and certainly something they would never do. But, since 1 can’t think of a time when buyers of catering have been more actively searching for value in their decision of which caterer to choose, I’ve decided that now is another great time to bring it up.

So, here goes. This marketing/pricing idea is only launched whenever a prospect is aggressively seeking lower prices. In this script, which explains my concept, the shopper has been haggling with the salesperson to achieve a lower price. 
The salesperson responds:

“Mrs. Smith, I might have a simple solution for your request to lower menu cost. Let me explain. The price I’ve given you for the menu we’ve just reviewed reflect our labor-intensive, ‘from scratch’ culinary preparation. If our chefs create the menu using high-quality, ‘labor-saving’ foods, we can lower the cost while still pleasing your guests. Would you want me to explain this further?”

During the explanation of the labor-saving menus, the client learns of the many high-quality foods available that offer lower prices since they eliminate costly kitchen labor. The shopper learns that menu items like Chicken Skewers, Duck Confit and many varieties of hors d’oeuvre, to name just a few, are all available pre-made and/or precooked for their menus.

Another benefit is that most shoppers who listen to an explanation of labor-saving menus welcome the discussion as a customer-friendly gesture. Many buyers will embrace your less costly menus, while others will still stick with your from-scratch and more costly ones after the explanation. It does remind buyers that you have the ability to create menus that have different levels of price that still have great impact on the guests.

Shoppers believe that the salesperson’s main goal is to always sell the most expensive items. They are amazed when a salesperson actually makes the case for buying less expensive catering. In my view, now is the time to relax our buyers and try to make a sale no matter what the price level is as long as it is profitable. It has always been my view that the best way to sell up is to sell down.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Discussion Points

Here are some more conversation starters:

1. Offer to put in a catering pantry with a simple stove and refrigerator in the offices of your existing drop-off corporate clients that agree to increase their order frequency and size.

2. A caterer’s employment level must reflect the amount of booked business.               

3. Managers need to empower their staff to make decisions; the staff needs to understand that each decision has its consequence.   

4. The marketing a caterer does must overcome the false and/or negative beliefs that the public has about their company.

5. Hold a “Food Critic For A Day” marketing concept where you invite people into a venue to taste your new menu items. Each person is given a clipboard with a list of questions about the food and a system for rating each new food. People will love to do this and you will gain new exposure to your clients.

6. Managers need to spend as much time thinking about their staff as they do thinking about their clients.