As someone who has been divorced twice, I found it necessary to learn how to date to avoid living with five cats by myself in my old age.
If you are currently single, wish you were single or suddenly found yourself single, would anyone want to date you?
Dating and sales/marketing are closely related. The purpose is the same. In dating, your goal is to establish a long term, mutually beneficial relationship. In selling catering, your goal is to establish a long term, mutually beneficial relationship.
The first place to start is with your target. In dating, you are better off establishing what you want and don’t want in a mate. Some of the characteristics are physical, like build, hair color, and other factors like education, children (age, number of kids, desire for more, etc.).
Unless your goal is a one night stand, you need to pay close attention to what you do and don’t want. The same goes with finding a suitable catering client. You want to avoid the proverbial one night stand; clients looking for the lowest price.
Great clients cheerfully pay a premium for great food, served on time by great people. Price shoppers need to be told where to go. I have often given the name and number of my low priced competitor. If it all boils down to price, run to Costco and pick up stuff in bulk and throw it out for your guests.
Catering clients come in all shapes and sizes. Some caterers are focused on weddings or social catering. Others are interested in loyal, repeat corporate catering clients. Regardless of your perfect catering client match, there’s usually an easy way to target them.
I have always been a big fan of mailing lists. They allow you to get the names of companies that are predisposed to buying catering.
Once you’ve identified what your perfect date looks like, you need to attract them. The chances of going to a bar on a Saturday night and finding your perfect partner is slim to none. There may be a high quality datable prospect at the bar, but you’ll have to talk to a lot of crazies to find “the one”.
Catering is the same. When I first started marketing catering in my restaurant in 1992, I used mass mail to reach all the companies in my area. I didn’t know to qualify them. I just blanketed all the company presidents whose names were included in my list rental.
Since then, I have learned the value of the list. The proper list is the number one factor in making sales. By investing the time to identify the qualified catering decision maker at each company, you end up with a list of buyers.
Better to work a list of five hundred buyers than a list of twenty-five hundred unqualified names in search of the five hundred decision makers. To put it into mathematical terms: you can invest five times more time and marketing money targeting the right folks.
Now that we’ve identified the catering buyers to target, we need to make sure we are ready to pursue them. You’d never show up to a first date in cut offs carrying a six pack of beer.
Everyone puts in a little extra effort into their look before a date. Personal grooming and dress are important. Woman will tell you the first thing they look at are a man’s shoes and hands. Men? We know what they look at.
All kidding aside, like on a first date, your catering prospects will size you up in the first five minutes. How do you sound on the phone? What impression do you make walking in the door for a cookie drop? What about your branding materials? Do your catering menus, flyers and website scream out amateur or give off an impression of trust and professionalism?
So now that we have targeted the right person to “date” and have gussied up ourselves in the marketing sense, it is time to date.
A woman must be pursued. You must take her out on dates. You must text her and send flowers. You need to put effort into the relationship.
If you had a shot at dating Heidi Klum, I am guessing you’d pull out all of the stops.
When it comes to pursuing catering prospects, most people are scared to even pick up the phone and ask for a date. Maybe it’s the fear of rejection. What I do know, is you’d better be prepared to try multiple strategies, multiple times to get in front of that catering decision maker.
Here are some interesting statistics shared on LinkedIn by a friend of mine, Robert Hartline.
1. In 2007 it took an average of 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Today it is 8 attempts. (TeleNet & Ovation Sales Group)
2. 78% of decision makers polled have taken an appointment or attended an event that came from an email or cold call. (DiscoverOrg)
3. The early bird gets the worm. 50% of sales go to the first salesperson to contact the prospect. (Insidesales.com)
4. 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after meeting. (Scripted)
5. The average salesperson only makes 2 attempts to reach a prospect (Sirius Decisions), but it takes approximately 7-13 touches to generate a B2B qualified sales lead (Direct Marketing Partners).
6. 92% of salespeople give up after no sales on the 4th call. 60% of customers say no four times before saying yes. (NuGrowth)
7. The number of conversations per passed account increased 15% year-over-year. In other words, SDRs were having more conversations per account (and across contacts) before passing the qualified opportunity. (The Outbound Index)
8. Texting after contact leads to a 112.6% higher lead to engagement conversion. (Velocify)
9. Companies that nurture leads make 50% more sales at a cost 33% less than non-nurtured leads. (Forrester Research)
10. The average voicemail response rate is 4.8%. (InsideSales)
11. A team of 50 sales reps leave approximately 1277 hours of voicemails per month. (RingDNA)
12. 80% of calls go to voicemail, and 90% of first-time voicemails are never returned. (RingLead)
Automation & Sales Processes
13. 80% of the avg. salesperson’s day is spent on non-revenue generating activities. (NuGrowth)
14. Automated & enforced sales processes generate 88% quota attainment (vs. 78% with merely “well documented” processes.) (Velocify)
15. 45% of sales reps say they need help figuring out which accounts to prioritize. (NuGrowth)
16. 20% of sales reps’ time is spent researching, not selling. (NuGrowth)
17. The average salesperson only sells for 90 minutes each day. (NuGrowth)
18. Only 33% of inside sales rep time is spent actively selling. (CSO Insights)
19. 71% of sales reps say they spend too much time on data entry. (Toutapp)
20. According to a Qvidian 2014 Sales Execution Survey, 88% of missed opportunities were caused because sales couldn’t find or leverage internal resources.
21. 42% of sales reps don’t feel they have the information they need before making a call. (NuGrowth)
When I get calls or emails saying our brand of marketing doesn’t work, I should email them this list. No one said there was a short cut to success. The successful companies understand the time and effort it takes to uncover a great long term catering client.
One or two calls will never get the job done. That’s why we built a Sales Tempo and call recording functionality into our catering software.
What’s a Sales Tempo? It is a series of steps to get in front of the catering decision maker. It’s not enough to just knock on doors or make a few calls.
Selling is a system and most selling systems suck!
With a Sales Tempo, you have an auto-pilot tool to keep you properly pursuing catering prospects. You can decide how many new catering buyers to target each week. Once in the Sales Tempo, the prospect moves down a marketing assembly line with direct mail, telephone, LinkedIn and face-to-face cookie drop steps.
You are leaving no stone unturned to get in front of that qualified catering decision maker with a goal of doing a tasting lunch.
Each day you or your catering salesperson walks in, they have a list on their computer screen of who is getting a piece of lead generation mail (3 postcards in the sequence), who to call, who to connect with on LinkedIn and who to visit with a cookie drop.
We save the most expensive and time consuming step as a last resort.
Even if you don’t get in front of the catering buyer with the Sales Tempo, never give up on them. A buyer is a buyer. For every sale I make today, there is another I’ll make in twelve to twenty-four months thanks to drip and follow up marketing.
Besides a general Sales Tempo, Restaurant Catering Systems is working on a Build Your Own Sales Tempo. This tool will allow you to create your own sequence of sales and marketing steps for specific niches.
Let’s say you wanted to pursue retailers for Black Friday catering. Load your list of names into the crm, and create your steps. You may send out a postcard five weeks before Black Friday. Then schedule a follow up call to make sure the card was received a week later. A week after that, you may decide to connect on LinkedIn. And a week out from Black Friday, you may blitz the malls and shopping centers with face-to-face sales calls.
Using a system like this ensures you are following a process to maximize your chance of getting new catering clients.
If you were developing a dating system for a friend, I am guessing you would come up with different strategies to implement at different time intervals: dates, calls, texts, flowers, surprises, etc.
Just like real dating, once you catch someone, the effort can’t stop. When you get a regular catering client, you can say you’re at the marriage stage. To have a healthy, happy catering marriage, you can never stop putting in effort.
Thank you letters, follow up calls, loyalty programs and birthday wishes all go a long way to solidifying your catering marriage.
Dating can be daunting. Building catering sales can be scary as well. Please mark your calendars for March 7-8, 2016. RCS is putting on a catering conference for clients and non-clients in Nashville next March.
You’ll walk away well equipped to win the catering dating game.
There will be presentations on sales, marketing and operations. Check out our splash page: www.Caterpalooza.com and be on the lookout for more details.
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.