Before I cut to the chase and tell you how to have lifelong catering clients, let me share a story with you.
Two years ago, my son Jerrod started college at Vanderbilt University. I vividly remember move in day: At 9AM we pulled up in his CRV and lined up. One by one each car in the line drove up to the dorm and was greeted by a team of eager volunteers.
Like a precision military operation, the volunteers brought up carts, unloaded every single item in the car and whisked it away to Jerrod’s dorm room. The rest of the volunteers were friendly and helped us get to his room and answered our questions.
They don’t treat you that well at a Ritz Carlton.
Jerrod’s first day at Vanderbilt made a great first impression.
Now, fast forward two years to last night.
I helped Jerrod move into his dorm room for his junior year. He found a parking spot for the CRV, and we were greeted by no one; just the sound of generators emitting from carpet cleaning trucks in the parking lot.
Jerrod ran into the dorm to grab a dolly, so we could load it up and move him in. There were other upperclassmen doing the same thing. The party atmosphere of freshman move-in was replaced by serious students just wanting to get moved in.
So what is the difference? Maybe, just maybe, Vanderbilt treats their freshmen like prospects and their upperclassmen like customers.
I guess it is akin to dating. While courting a woman, most men bring their A game: nice dinners, well groomed, car doors opened, flowers sent just because, etc. The same could be said for women. Shaved legs turn into chia pets over time.
I am not judging, just pointing out that “prospects” get treated better than “customers”. This applies to dating, Vanderbilt students and especially to catering clients.
Think about your best catering clients. Do you still “court” them? Do you call to say hi and check in and see if they need anything?
How often do you call to let them know of a seasonal special?
Do you pursue them as vigorously as a new client you are itching to work with?
My guess is probably not. I do not judge. I am guilty of this as well; both personally and professionally. Though I do make effort.
The nicer the things you can do for your significant other and loyal catering clients, the more money you have in the emotional bank account.
Your goal should be to have that piggy bank overflowing with emotional currency.
On a basic level, call your catering clients once a month to check in. Ask about their family, hobby, vacations, etc. Spend a few minutes connecting. If you’re too busy to do that, put each client on a note card and call from the car as you go about your errands and appointments. Even a thoughtful voice mail counts.
On a more advanced level, Restaurant Catering Systems offers many tools to help you do this from reactivation letters to loyalty rewards to call back prompts, etc.
My team and I are more than happy to help you.
If you are interested in a full day of client nurturing strategies and other catering sales building strategies, please make plans to attend my full day catering seminar in Atlanta on Monday, September 26, 2016.
Complete details at: www.CateringSeminars.com/atlanta
Hope you can make it.
NOTE 1: I’ve had many people inquire about the DVD recordings from Caterpalooza. The 8 DVD set is available and a great tool for you and your team to sell more catering.
Please check it out at: www.Caterpalooza.com/dvd
NOTE 2: Let me encourage you to a join our new Facebook group I created for our industry: Restaurants That Cater. It is open to clients and non-clients alike. Please post your successes and challenges and share your knowledge with our community. There are groups and associations for caterers and for restaurants, but none for restaurants that cater…a very important group that is grossly underrepresented. Click on the link below and request to join:
Please pass on this link to your colleagues and co-workers in the industry. The more of us, the better!
Well, that’s all for this issue.
To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,
Restaurant Catering Software
P.S. – If you need help growing catering sales, then please go to www.RestaurantCateringSoftware.com and download my free eBook: Cater or Die!
P.P.S. – I make a limited number of time slots available each week for a free Catering Strategy Session with me. (You also get a catering menu critique and free analysis of your website for “Catering Effectiveness”). For complete details and to grab one of the limited spots, please go to:
P.P.P.S. – Please check out my podcast at www.RestaurantCateringSmarts.com
P.P.P.P.S. - Anyone wishing to reprint my articles may do so. Please email me for the bi-line to use for proper author’s credits.