When you get lots of phone calls or enquiries about your prices, or lots of rejections based on price alone, it can seem as though that’s all people care about.
To be fair, for most people, price plays a major role. However, I find most people are willing to get more than one quote, and willing to consider why those quotes differ.
The thing about cakes is (especially custom ones) is that your potential customers are actually not in this business, so they don’t really have any idea of how much effort and time goes into creating our cake creations.
TV shows like ‘Cake Boss’ or ‘The Great British Bake off’ have done a LOT to educate the general public about the amount of effort and artistry which goes into cakes, but not everyone watches those shows.
Plus, there are a lot of perfectly reasonably decorated, mass produced baked goods out there which will do the job just as well. If all your client wants or needs is a cake that a 5 year old will be happy to take to school to feed just 10 kids. You’re going to have a hard time justifying why they should spend N25,000 with you when a N4,000 cake from the supermarket can meet that need.
The challenge for us as business owners is working on the people who see a cake (no matter where it’s from) as “just flour, butter and eggs,” and get them to see why our custom cakes are so much more than that.
The general public doesn’t just “get it.” They really don’t. They think Cake is just cake, but we know that’s not it.
Part of our job as cake business owners is to educate and convince our customers to buy our cakes, and that means taking the time to explain why it’s worth why it’s worth.
You don’t need to look any further than KFC to find a great example of this – they market their specialty by telling us about using the best chicken, seasoning and so on. Why? Because those special things are more expensive and they want to convince you to spend that little bit more. They do not assume that consumers just “get” that the fancier stuff is worth the money, they explain why it is worth it.
Cakes are no different. You’ve got to market your products and your business precisely because not everyone understands what makes your cakes special.
Yes, there will be some people who will not care that the quality of your cakes are better? If they say “no” based on price, that’s okay…but there are plenty of people who, with a bit of education, will be willing to spend a bit more to get something a bit better.
Instead of just getting angry that “all anyone seems to care about is price,” and “I keep losing orders even though I’ve made my prices reasonable,” – why not try educating your potential customers?
One way is by re-examine your marketing. Re-examine how you answer their enquiry about the price of your cake.
If you get an email enquiry about baking a 2 tier Mickey Mouse cake. Do you say, “A Mickey mouse cake for 30 people costs N32,000,” or do you say,
“Thanks for your email! We’d love to make you a Mickey Mouse cake for your son’s upcoming 1st birthday. Our cakes are all baked from scratch, and we’ve got an array of kid-friendly flavours to choose from – I’ve attached a list for you to pick from. We’re also happy to customise the birthday message, and if you need delivery we offer that service too. To feed 30 people, you’re looking at a cost of N32,000. Please give me a call on 080-123-4567 so we can discuss further. I look forward to helping make your celebration fantastic.”
Tell me. Does that 2nd email require a little more thinking, a little more effort and engagement? Sure it does – but the investment in service and education are worth it if it means you’ve converted them into buying from you rather than just settling for a cake from ‘ Cakes and Cream’.
Every company, everywhere in the world, selling anything at all is going to come up against people who seem to only care about price. In every market (clothing, cars, food…) there will be companies who service the very low end, companies that service the very high end, and a whole lot of companies’ right in the middle of that.
Even the companies selling things for cheap have to market themselves and their products – because they are not the only ones in town claiming to be the cheapest. The companies at the top are no different – because they too are not the only one in town that sells a premium product.
You would aim to be the cake business that educates and then converts cake enquiries to sales.
However, accept that some people just won’t be won over …but be clever enough to at least try.
Not everyone gets it, and not everyone needs to … but you would be silly not to even try because you have decided ahead of time that they can’t be taught.
Hope you found this post useful? If you did, please comment.
Till next week.