Coffee, Brides and Catering to Your Customers

Catering to your CustomersA quick story, with an ending that never happened:

The other day I was sitting in a cafe with a cup of coffee catching up on some reading, when I noticed two young women sitting at the table next to me with a laptop and a ton of paperwork strewn about.

They owned a local catering company and were in the middle of calling back leads who had left their names and phone numbers with them at a recent bridal bazaar – one I remember hearing about on the radio not too long ago.

I tried not to be rude, but I couldn’t help but listen to one side of the conversation during the repeated phone calls that were being made to potential clients, which all started the same way:

“Hi [Name]! This is [Name] from [Company Name]. I was wondering if you were still interested in allowing us to cater your wedding?”

While I was there, none of the 20 or so leads I sat through seemed to convert into anything to get excited about, and although some of the calls were messages, with that particular intro I wouldn’t be surprised if none of the messages were ever returned.

Being Me

I’m very business-minded. When I walk through malls or inside stores, I’m always asking myself things like:

  • Why and how did this catch my attention?
  • Why was this put here?
  • How could this be improved?
  • What’s the purpose of this?
  • What are the marketing people who work for this company trying to tell me?

Back in November of 2009 I wrote one of my favorite posts ever, Shadows of Marketing – Are You Paying Attention?  In this post I talk about how marketing is everywhere and I give specific examples of how you can educate yourself and improve your business if you just keep your eyes and ears open.

I definitely recommend reading it, if anything – to learn about why casinos don’t photograph pretty people.

;)

So, being me, while I was sitting in the cafe and hearing what was going on next to me in the cafe, I couldn’t help but think:

“What would be a better way to start these calls?”

It really just comes down to one basic thing – something that’s going to sound very obvious, but it’s something that obviously not everyone does:

Always make it about your customer. 

…or reader or subscriber or client – whatever. Always make it about them.

In the wedding industry, especially, the bride should always be the center of attention. I know this from my experience helping my wife to plan our own wedding together, and all the episodes of Bridezilla I watched – no correlation between the two.

(Luv ya honey!)

But, when dissecting the original phone call, you can see that very little of it actually has to do with the bride. Most of it is centered around helping the company instead:

“Hi [Name]! This is [Name] from [Company Name]. I was wondering if you were still interested in allowing us to cater your wedding?”

Here are a few things that stood out to me:

  1. Asking if someone is “interested” is not going to do any good. Someone can be “interested” in something but that doesn’t mean they’ll go that direction.
  2. Asking for “allowance” is like asking for permission, or a favor. A client owes you no favors, especially before anything happens.
  3. Even without tone, you can get a sense that this is a timid approach –  sort of like a shy kid who asks a girl out and hopes they’ll say yes.
  4. Where’s the benefit? What’s in it for them?
  5. Most people will probably be on the fence. What’s one thing that could get them off of it?

With all this in mind, here’s what I would say, and since Pat is an ambiguous name I’ll just use it anyways…lol.

“Hi [Name] this is Pat from Pat’s Catering! We met at the bridal bazaar last week and I hope the wedding planning is going well! How are you today?”

“I just wanted to take 15 seconds to see if I could make your life easier and take care of all of the food and beverage for you and your guests on your special day.

I would love to go out of my way to make sure everything on the catering side of things is perfect for you. And you don’t even need to make a decision now, but I would love to setup a time for you and your husband to come by and sample some of our dishes – totally free - just let us know what you want and we’ll set it up for you.

So, can I put you in the calendar sometime in the next week or two so we can help you out?”

What do you think, much better?

Let’s break it down…

In the first part, not only do I say who I am, but I quickly remind the bride where we’ve met by mentioning the bridal bazaar. Also, I try to connect with the bride by mentioning wedding planning, which could also trigger all of those things that are left to do before the big day, and I’m here to share how I can lighten that load for her.

I also ask “how are you” which is important because once that initial response has been made, they are more likely to keep listening. It’s a quick connection or small transaction that can lead to much bigger ones.

In the second part, I start by sharing that I will only take 15 seconds of their time, which most people will give to hear someone out. Next, it’s all about the bride and the benefits – making her life easier, making sure everything is taken care of for them, and how I would personally go out of my way for her to make sure it’s all perfect, which is exactly what a bride wants – a perfect wedding.

Finally, I finish up with a free offer to sample some of the dishes, which I learned that all wedding catering companies do. It would be crazy not to use that as incentive when making calls to prospective clients, and again, I phrase it to focus on the bride.

Lastly, I finish up with a clear question: “Can I put you in the calendar sometime in the next week or two so we can help you out?” – This is much more directional than “are you interested?”.

I’m not an expert copywriter or salesman, but my experience tells me that catering to the customer is exactly what you have to do. They should always be the focus in all parts of your marketing, from phone calls, to sales copy even down to the product or service you have to offer.

Sure, this story is about a catering company, but the same ideas can be applied to anywhere online where you’re trying to get people to make any kind of decision, whether it’s signup for a newsletter, purchase a product, or even just click on a link.

In the end…

Of course, I thought about sharing this info with the two young women next to me, but I didn’t.

I’m not sure if it was right of me to do so, or it would have been considered rude because then it would be obvious I was listening.

Looking back, maybe I should have said something – I don’t know.

What I do know is that these girls were hustling like mad and it was very inspiring. I love seeing people do things like this on their own and I always want to help – at least online.

What would you do?

How would you structure and phrase the phone call to the brides, and why? Also, if you were in my shoes, would you have said something?

  • http://www.rosemaryjayne.com Rosemary Jayne

    This was really interesting. I was working as a temp at a temp agency for a day in their reception and my job was to call the people on the books who weren’t currently employed and see if they were still available. I was given 2 scripts – one for if they answered and one for if they didn’t and was told that I had to follow them down exactly. I remember sitting there thinking “not only do I sound stupid, but this doesn’t even appear to be working!” Most of the people I found ended up saying “well I guess so…” at the end of the conversation.

    You probably did the right thing not telling the women your ideas on how to improve their calls. While they were making the calls in public and therefore couldn’t really expect privacy the fact that you realised all the calls were essentially the same would imply you’d been listening thoroughly to each one.

    Great post!
    P.S. I think it’s a bazaar not bizarre as the latter means strange ;)
    P.P.S. Congrats on the upcoming addition to your family!

    • Pat

      Thanks Rosemary! Bizarre/Bazaar correction fixed! And thanks for the congrats!

      Cheers to you and thanks for sharing your experience! A lot of those scripts never work apparently…

      • http://www.rosemaryjayne.com Rosemary Jayne

        Well I certainly felt very stupid following the script and all it was for was to ask for a confirmation that they were still available for work! Of course, you also have to make these things very clear, I think about 1/4 people I called thought I had work for them which must have been very disheartening when I did not.

        I think an outline of what you want to say is a great idea but making it flexible enough that each call is unique and you don’t sound like a robot is important. I really like Chris’s idea about stealing the list, calling those people and then outsourcing it :D

      • Kurt Mclean

        There seems to be a fundamental disconnect between some marketing agencies and customers. A lot of call centers actually spend quite a great deal of money on marketers to formulate these scripts that they use when making calls. This is generally why they will be so hesitant to deviate from their “expert” research.

        And it seems as you mentioned that a lot of them don’t work. I wonder if it is a ploy to keep them coming back to pay more money to tweak the script? :)

  • http://MarriedWithDebt.com John | Married (with Debt)

    I don’t think it would have been rude, especially since they were putting it out there in public. I’ve never fully understood why people would use a coffee shop to make sales calls.

    I think you broke it down perfectly. You only have a few seconds to make a human connection. Their pitch sounds really bad, and not very confident.

    Yours makes it sound like a company they would WANT to do business with.

    Plus a free meal never hurt anyone!

    • Pat

      Thanks John – I’m still debating in my head how it would have been received. I think my delivery would have mattered as well, making it all about them at the same time, hehe. See, it applies everywhere.

      Cheers, and all the best!

    • http://jarodonline.wordpress.com/ Jarod Online

      I agree with you on that one.

      @Pat
      You should have definitely told them this, especially since this is actually an amazing pitch.

  • http://www.pocketchanged.com Caleb Wojcik

    I think you have a future in the wedding industry Pat…

    In putting together all the email communication templates with my wife for her wedding and portrait photography business we are always thinking about the customer. Focusing on You, You, You instead of Me, Me, Me definitely is the best way to gain new clients.

    • Pat

      Thanks Caleb – I remember seeing that you all went to a wedding photography convention on instagram – very cool, and it’s good to here you’re applying the you you you philosophy in the business too :)

      Cheers! When are are going to hang out dude? Are you back in SD?

      • http://www.pocketchanged.com Caleb Wojcik

        Yeah, I’m back in SD now and I’m not headed to SXSW or anything. Just let me know when you want to get together.

  • http://www.behindthemixer.com chris

    I think you should have stole their bride-shower contact list, contacted those people with your version of the call, and then outsourced the work back to those girls!

    • Pat

      Heh – I don’t know how that would have gone down Chris – but way to think outside the box! :P

  • http://residualincomelife.com/ Austin Furey

    Hey Pat,

    I found this to be very interesting. Having a job that required this kind of “lukewarm” calling and I can tell you that first… it was a terrible job. Second, I can tell you that starting the conversion with a positive (but genuine) question always made the call a little more comfortable even if the result was undesirable.

    On a side note I can’t help but admire hustle, which these young ladies clearly had.
    -Austin

    PS. I think you should have said something to them! Remember, what’s the worst that can happen Pat? :-P

    • Pat

      True Austin, however an answer to that question is “being rude” and that’s not what I would want to be…

      Or maybe a slap in the face? A call to the police and getting arrested? Haha – just kidding about those, but really I just didn’t want to be rude.

      • http://residualincomelife.com/ Austin Furey

        Understandable.

        My personality would have burned with suggestions, decided against saying something and then blog about it later. ;)

        So just giving you a hard time!

  • http://smartistcolony.com craig zarkos

    I think you chiming in would have been received really well.. your trying to help!

  • http://www.polybagpro.com/ Johnny Bravo

    Pat, you are a natural salesman and very good at it. In my opinion you possess a very valuable attribute of being able to see things from another’s perspective. In this case (and most) from the customers point of view.

    On a personal note, this post hit home for me because I am planning a wedding that will happen in two months and I’ve gotten similar calls like the one that was overheard. I didn’t give them the time of day after their pitch. Because that’s all it was, a pitch. I didn’t see any value in it.

  • http://www.jonwiggens.com Jon

    Hey Pat – you say you’re not an “expert copywriter or salesman” but what you’ve touched on here is powerful stuff. Switching the focus from “allowing US to cater your wedding” to making it all about the customer and THEIR needs is great strategy.

    People don’t care about a company – they care about themselves and their needs. If a company contacts them with a solution to their needs – they’ll be much more open to starting a conversation.

  • http://www.sminso.com Chris | Sminso

    Hi Pat, I always find myself doing that too (analyzing the marketing in stores, restaurants, ets.)! Whenever I am at a fast food restaurant I laugh when the employee offers a small to the customer who says “a drink”. I spent some time as a fast food restaurant manager, just by suggesting a size to a customer you are making the choice for them, which more often than not they will go with that choice. Also by doing this you will find out what size they want which will save your from asking that question; which saves time.

    When my wife and I planned our wedding, we solely based who we picked for each part just by the phone conversations. That first impression and knowing that this person UNDERSTANDS all the stress you have ahead; and they just want to help, it went a long way with us! I can tell you one thing, you sold me on Pats Catering!

    I’m not too sure how the ladies would have taken your advice. If you did say something to them and they got upset, I guess they just were not worthy of your master marketing skills.

    - Chris

  • http://www.youcanworkless.com Dean Soto

    Love this, Pat! This is cold/warm calling 101 and you did a great job of distilling a lot of concepts into something very easy to read and take action on.

    When I do any type of lead calling/callbacks, I always start off with “Is this a bad time?” It may sound a bit counter-intuitive, but…

    1.) It lays the foundation of respect for their time and well-being.

    2.) If they say “no”, then it let’s me give my 30 second pitch similar to yours without worrying if I am bothering them. They are much more likely to listen when that happens.

    Finally 3.) If they say no, it lets me reschedule a time with them that is more suitable.

    Putting yourself in their shoes, they are probably being sold to many times a day, so it’s refreshing to them when they hear someone that cares about them first rather than a sale. ;)

    • http://www.youcanworkless.com Dean Soto

      Woops, for #3 should be if they say “yes” ;)

  • http://facebook.com/alocalbuzz Lori

    I might have been tempted to say something like “hey I’ve been practicing my lead follow up and the way I changed my pitch made a difference. Wonder if it might help you if you said something like….”

  • http://www.agoofyidea.com Jennifer

    My friend and I spent a lot of time in Starbucks writing our western. Because we were co-writing it we often talked out loud about plots and other issues. Occasionally other customers (people we did not know) would stop at our table and give us advice. We loved this. It was not always good advice, but it always gave us something to think about, and let us know that there was an interest in what we were writing about. I would hope that these women would have listened to your advice politely and considered whether it worked for them. Anyone working a public setting should assume they will be overheard. This was a great post and I will have to review some of my own scripts to see how they can be improved.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/ Ryan Hanley

    Pat,

    My day job (besides commenting on your blog) is as an Insurance Agent for a main street independent agency.

    “Working the phone” is big part of what we do, especially living in Upstate NY where I am forced to still ask, “Do you use email?” Seriously, I have to ask that question and 1 in 6 say NO. 2012… what?

    To my point… Building relationships on the phone is very difficult. The reason building relationships on the phone is so difficult is because your WORDS are the receivers entire first impressive of you.

    Stutter… You’re an idiot.
    Talk fast… You’re nervous.
    Hard sell… You’re a “Salesman”

    The very first words you use and how you deliver them determines whether or not that person is going to listen to anything else you are going to say… And like you should, if what you’re saying isn’t circling THEIR value. DON”T CARE! Lead lost…

    Awesome topic dude… As bloggers I think we get away with first impression a little if we have a great format or whatever.

    On the phone… You got to be Game On.

    Thanks!

    Ryan H.

  • http://talesofwork.com kimanzi constable

    Great advice Pat, your approach is much better, it gives a higher chance of conversion. I just guest posted today on the blog of michaelhyatt.com and picked up a good number of new subscribers. What would be your advice to get those new subscribers or any new visitors to buy my books? Or is that the wrong philosopy?

  • http://www.navynukejobfinder.com Dustin Sanchez

    I love your shy kid asking the girl out analysis. I learned a ton about marketing from eben pagen, who writes on that very topic. Always assume yes (in marketing).

  • http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com Fanny

    I love how you crafted that message. Sounds very inviting. If only I used that when I cold called brides when I was a wedding videographer. I got a lot of hang ups. Thanks for sharing. I love marketing strategies!

  • http://www.sybersquad.com Christopher Knopick

    Pat,
    This is the second time I’m submitting this…I think the server ate the first one ;-) . If you remember who they are I’d shoot them an email. Point them to your post and give your suggestion. It may seem a bit odd but if they’re sharp, and they’re business owners so they probably are, they would appreciate it. You can make some valuable local contacts and help someone at the same time. In all honesty I probably would have been too chicken to approach them in person as well. Good advice, Thanks.

  • http://thelast3reps.com Brandon

    Pat,

    You sound like an expert copywriter/salesman to me :)

    This post is gold! So simple, yet very very powerful. The hardest part is usually connecting customers to their ‘Why’, which usually takes more than just one phone call to do, but you make it seem not so bad.

    Thanks Pat

    Brandon

  • http://www.thebravemanblog.com/ Rodrigo @ The Brave Man Blog

    I have found myself in situations like this many times where you know what the people can do in that instant to make something work but still, I don’t say anything, I think it would be considered rude for being there paying attention to something unrelated to me xD

  • http://www.build-a-blog-site.com Joe Elliott

    Hi & Thanks Pat,

    Great Post! Guess in business the little things do matter :)

    Not only does your approach improve conversions but it leaves your customers feeling happy about their experience with you, which means they may recommend you.

    Thanks Again
    Joe

  • http://www.betterimagephoto.com Scott Painter

    Pat I just had a bridal show with the same lackluster results. You’ve given me a better way to approach the brides with what can feel like a chore of following up.

  • http://www.mackentertainment.com Johnny Mack

    Pat – That’s great stuff. I work part time as a DJ so I may just use your script in my return calls. I think one of the hardest things for anyone to get used to doing if they haven’t done it before is over the phone sales.

  • http://www.coffinmediaworks.com Tyler

    Hey Pat,
    The type of passive aggressive sales call the girls were doing bother me too. It’s like the telemarketer scene in Boiler Room. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64cj7Q9c_YA
    Your script sounds like you’ve done phone sales before. Nice Job!
    Tyler

    • Pat

      Heh, thanks Tyler – and I have not seen that movie before! I loved the scene, so awesome. Thanks bro!

      • http://www.coffinmediaworks.com Tyler

        Must see movie for anyone in sales (especially phone sales).

  • http://www.newmediadesignstudios.com Rivka K

    You definitely should have said something to them. The worst thing is they could have gotten mad at you. The best thing it could have revolutionized their business. It could have gone something like this…

    “Hi, my name is Pat and I couldn’t help overhearing your phone calls this afternoon. It is so inspiring to see people working so hard to make their business work – so many people don’t do that!”
    (Pause for response)
    “Well, I actually am a small business owner too and there are a couple things that have really helped me grow my business. I think you could use them to improve your response rate too.” (Insert above.)
    (Pause for response)
    (If response is negative)
    “Okay, well, again, great work and can I have a card if I hear of someone who might need catering help?”
    (If response is positive)
    “Cool, so glad it helped! Here is my card (or e-mail scribbled on a napkin, or whatever) and I would love to know if you see a change in your response, and could I have one of yours if I need to find a caterer sometime in the future?”

    Just my two cents. ;-)

  • http://sparklocal.net Janet

    Pat — Another great article. I don’t think it would have been a bad idea at all to approach them. I think you could have used a version of your phone script on them to let them know that you’re trying to make things easier on them (and hopefully get them further along in the sales funnel). If they’re not interested in talking, they’re not interested. You move on, they move on, and they miss out on a potential source of leads too.
    Just like having an elevator pitch ready when people approach you, does it also make sense to have a similar script for this kind of situation? I know I’m going to be better prepared now thanks to your article!

  • Cheryl K

    Pat, your approach makes more sense. There’s one thing I never forgot from an advertising class I had, which is never to make a YES/ NO question your headline. A customer takes five seconds to determine if they need your product, and it’s so easy to say no to a YES/NO question! So why would a person use it in their telephone sales pitch? (“Are you interested in my product?”) – (“No.” Click.)

    Maybe the next time you are in a situation like this, Pat, maybe you can find a way to hand them your business card so they can come to you for advice in the future. If you apologize first for listening in on their problem, they probably wouldn’t mind if you told them you are in the business of teaching folks how to develop a fantastic customer base.

  • http://www.marginofexcellence.com Scott

    Hey Pat, great story. A few months ago a received a cold call at work right before I was about to leave. Normally I just hang up when I get a cold call but this on was so bad… I just starting laughing (which caused the caller to laugh) and I then asked her if she wanted some help. Come to find out she was a college student and was very frustrated with her cold calling results. I offered a few tips and told her to email me her offering. I replied back with a kind email and a link to my blog if she was interested in getting more unique personal development tips. Not only did she check out my site but she became an email subscriber and facebook fan. I thought that was pretty cool. If I didn’t speak up or hung up on her, this connection wouldn’t have been made. I also felt really good driving home from work that day, knowing that I made a positive imact.

    Thought I’d share that story with you. Have a great weekend.

  • http://www.faithandfinance.org Tim @ Faith and Finance

    Great breakdown Pat. Phone sales are tough and it definitely requires a unique message, but I think following your quasi-formula would help A LOT of sales pitches.

    When I have to make sales calls I make my intro quick and try to ask them an easy yes/no question just to get an answer out of them. Most people don’t like to commit to something on a cold call (like scheduling a day to try out food) but if you get them answering questions with a solid yes/no, you’re in a better position to get a solid answer out at the end.

    Also, when explaining the “why” or the benefits I’m promoting, I try to ask if they want to ‘take advantage of’ xyz. It gets a better response than ‘are you interested in xyz’. But it all circles back to showing the customer what’s in it for them.

  • http://www.sminso.com Chris

    Great post! I often find myself doing the same thing, analyzing other peoples marketing schemes. Another lesson from this is that the two ladies kept using the same intro OVER and OVER.

    The definition of insanity;
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    I think if you had talked to them about how they could have improved they would have responded negatively. They obviously felt that what they were doing was working, and were very stuck on that track. All you can do is try though!

    Thanks for this great post, Chris

  • Rheanne

    Excellent post, but I paused at the line, “I just wanted to take 15 seconds to see if I could make your life easier.”

    To me, that sounds like a salesman “line” and I think people are more aware of sales tactics and are more put off by them these days. I might try to think of something more subtle there.

    Curious to know what everyone else thinks, though … ?

  • http://www.funthingstodowithyourkids.net Jason

    The tongue is mightier than the sword. Knowing how to say the right thing is a talent that everyone needs to develop. You need to make everyone you ever talk to feel special even people you are not trying to sale to.

  • Jim

    Hi Pat,

    I am a professional telemarketer with over 20 years experience. I sell a high priced software product ($16,500) to warm or purchased leads on the Internet offering a free 10-day demo (trial).

    I have 20 seconds to help people make decisions about doing a demo and have a quick comment.

    The call to these leads has to highlight a problem that they and only they can solve AND make a big promise….

    For instance…..

    Hi this is Pat at ……. catering. We met at the …. bizaar last week. I was calling to make sure we talk about your upcoming wedding. [First Name]. all caterers are not alike – we specialize in wedding catering which is very different from standard catering services. If you would like an event to remember and cherish call me today at at xxx-xxx-xxxx. I have a free sample kit for you that will answer all your questions about how to make your wedding day perfect.

    Don’t risk this special day to just any caterer – call me today at xxx-xxx-xxxx

    Pat

  • http://gabearnold.com Gabe Arnold

    One of the things I’ve found very effective, is the education model. Call back and say “We have a free 15 minute course on how to not be a bridezilla” or some catchy title like that ;).

    I also have learned that terminology makes all the difference. Figure out what the rest of the industry calls your service, and change yours. Make it sound cool, un-intrusive, and exciting, and call your service that. I recently changed my pitch by one word, from advertiser to sponsor, and got 1000% increase on the requests and closes. Semantics make ALL the difference in the world.

  • http://Www.catnipnation.com Lou

    Their line was truly awful and sounds so tentative and shy. It’s as bad as some of the cold call pitches I made working for my college’s alumni giving campaign as an undergrad! If you sound unsure about your business, then nobody is going to listen to you.

    A couple of things that stood out to me about your much improved pitch, though:

    “Husband” isn’t quite the right word here since they aren’t married yet! And fiancé, when spoken aloud, is gender neutral. As someone in a same sex relationship I tend to tune out when someone asks about my boyfriend or husband. Partner or (in this case) fiance is a safe bet. That’s my tip for anyone in the customer service, wedding, or hospitality industry ;)

  • http://turbofitnesssecrets.com/cardio-tips-tricks-and-secrets/cardio-exercises-at-home/ Bryan – Cardio Exercises At Home

    Hi Pat,

    Good to see you back on your feet. It is a very interesting story. I wonder how many potential clients they would have got, if they just changed their marketing tactic.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • http://startupdrive.com Manish at Startup Drive

    This was an excellent sales pitch. I think by making the conversation more personal na d about the customer you’ve nailed it and substantially improved your chances of being hired.

  • http://www.hothitmedia.com Ralph | Social Media Explained

    Yeah why not share?
    Worst thing they could do is not take up your advice..

    You could have started with “Hi I’m Pat Flynn … you can google me if you want” :)
    Barney style :)

  • http://www.paulcaparas.com Paul Caparas

    I like the way you think. So when are you going to start your catering business. haha, jk. Time to read Shadows of Marketing.

  • http://www.slymarketing.com Jens P. Berget

    Hey Pat,

    You should have talked to them, and if you told them who you are and what you do for a living, I’m sure that they would have listened. What you said is true, and I wouldn’t have changed anything. I have no experience with weddings and brides etc.. but I do know that business is all about people, and that we should take to them and care about them. Almost every time you create a conversations like the two women did, you’ll get rejections. This is the standard phrase from sales people, and I do stop them after the first two sentences, no matter what they are selling. This is just not going to do it for most people. We want a story, and we want people to be interested in us :)

  • Alexander Petrov

    With all my respect Pat, I don’t think your words would work for them. They are not bad. But you forgot that in reality, when you speak on the phone it is all abot how you say it.
    Not what you say.
    I did social experiment, calling people and asking for movie recomendation with the same phrase.
    It was 0 convertion after 60 calls:) Then I tooked voice recorder and started to try everything I took from me vocal couch and acting classes.
    And after exeperementing with vocal exercises and different paramters. I found the way that I felt connects with the one you speak to.
    And I had 90% convertion rate. Every one was ready to help me. That was big a-ha for me!

    • Steve

      Very good point Alexander, you can have all the best lines in the world, but if you don’t deliver them properly then they still won’t work.

  • http://aboverubies.net Jasmine

    Pat, personally – I would have loved your tips and insights. I think it would have been well received.

    Great post!

  • http://www.77workathomejobs.com/ Owais

    Lol ,You are giving your each post more and more personal touch with passage of time.Pat you really are working on the word “Creativity” and “innovation “.Best of luck for your future posts .Nice experience.Enjoyed:)

  • yvonne

    This post made me realize that marketing is exciting when you know the reason why you’re doing the things that you do. Putting your customer first is the foundation of marketing but this is usually forgotten and seldom applied. Thanks for reminding me about this concept and may you have everything that your heart desire.

  • http://guestblogging.com Marsha Stopa

    Pat,
    If it were me, I would have had a hard time keeping my mouth shut. :-) Making sales calls in a public place like a coffee shop eliminates all expectations of privacy.

    A pitch is a pitch is a pitch. They probably do an awesome job of catering but are clueless on how to approach potential clients. Even though with brides as your target market you’d think they’d realize everything is ALL about the customer’s desires.

    I don’t know if I would ask, “How are you today?” in a revised pitch. That’s a dead giveaway you’re trying to engage them in small talk before the pitch. That’s when I cut telemarketers off at the knees.

    I think I would have asked how the wedding planning is going, then apologize because I know she’s busy and offer the taste testing if they haven’t made a final decision yet.

    Geez, it would be so cool if you could find them and send them a link to this post. :-)

    Great example to learn from. Thanks!

    • http://www.rosemaryjayne.com Rosemary Jayne

      Maybe you could ask how the wedding planning is going? That’s sort of a how are you question, but more directly related to why you’re calling. Plus as a bonus if they’re having a problem with say, flowers, then you could say “I have a friend who does flowers for weddings, would you like the number/website to check it out yourself?” and you can probably find out if they’ve had a bad experience with someone so know what to avoid ;)

  • http://ehealthinsurancesolutions.com/ Sharon Nuttall

    I love all the comments with suggestions for ways to approach the women with a compliment on their hard work and then a nicely put question of whether they would like to hear what you found had worked for you. (I mean, really, somebody out of the blue has an idea that might actually make some of these people say yes?? I’d be ready to kiss you, not smack you!!)

    And you did a beautiful job of making it all about them and how what you do can make their life and their event perfect.

    One change I would, however, suggest in your new-and-improved script for them:
    You ended with “Can I put you in the calendar sometime in the next week or two so we can help you out?”

    You’ve posed a yes/no question, which all my sales training taught was the kiss of death for an affirmative answer. We were always taught to move into the close with something like, “We have time available on Tuesday morning or Wednesday afternoon. Which one is better for you?” Even if they say ‘neither,’ you can still move along into, “Okay, I understand…then, which other day of the week is better for you.”

  • Jessica

    You could always go the passive route ;) print off your (awesome) article, and since I’m sure you heard the name of their company about 20 times, mail it to them. Maybe add a small personal note telling them you couldn’t help but overhear, that you loved that they were working so hard, and included an article that may help them convert more leads. Just an idea.

  • http://www.mypersonalfinancejourney.com/ Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey

    I worked for a sales company and we were given a script that we should follow whenever we receive calls for inquiries as well as calls we need to make for followups. After a week of using the script and I did not close any sale, I decided to make my own spiel though still following the format. On the same day that I used my own version of the script, I was able to close

  • Mark

    Pat,

    Can you please give me the name of the WordPress Plugin you use to prevent click fraud / click bombing on your website?

  • http://www.minecraftserversinfo.com Dennis (DJ) Duty

    I actually worked as a telemarketer for around half a year where we were handed a script… The script was surprisingly ineffective and I made a lot more sales when I stopped thinking so much… Just joked and talked to them like they were real people.

    I would have told them… But you could use the same tactics in person that you’re preaching here
    Start with a non threatening (and joking) “it sounds like this aren’t going so well!”
    ….
    My name’s Pat and I’m a marketer. I see that you’re busy right now, but I’d really like to sit down and talk to you face to face. I have some suggestions that might make your callbacks a little bit more successful, and I’d be happy to show you a few little tricks to get you a few more leads online as well.

    After you meet with them…. THEY WILL ask you to work for/with them. You’re a busy guy and aren’t looking for that… But perhaps you can work out a revenue sharing deal where you do the lead generation and get 10% of the profits from customers you generated? Perhaps you can develop a video course together to sell to newly engaged women to “prepare for your big day”…

    Just saying… Interacting with fellow business owners is ALWAYS a good thing :-)

  • http://philfaqs.com Dave Starr

    Very illustrative conversation. In effect, these two women were saying to their prospective clients, “You don’t really want to buy from us, do you”?

    The clients are planning a wedding.

    The potential clients are obviously interested, or they wouldn’t have exchanged info with the caterers.

    Every now and then wedding plans go awry, but 999 out of 1,000 are still planning their wedding, are that much closer to the date and more frantic, under that much more pressure to get important aspects of the wedding firmed up.

    Should you have offered to help? Well I can’t help thinking I would have made an offer to help, as they seemed nice people, working hard to succeed, and they are selling something useful … and they obviously are lost at sea with their present execution.

    If I had been there, I think I would have written my cell number on my business card (how many of you out there believe enough in your business to carry a business card for your blogging/IM efforts?) , dropped it on the table and told them “best of luck with your project, I’m a local businessman here in San Diego also, and I’d be happy to discuss some closing/conversion techniques that have worked for me any time you care to.”

    That way I offered, but did not insult their efforts, even indirectly, by telling them their “pitch” was weak.

  • http://www.freedombusinessblog.com/craig_success_story Lester

    Great post,
    Some of the winners prove that you don´t need very specialised skills, big budget and big team to create a successful business and I think it´s the biggest take away. You need an open mind and drive to execute! In many cases that´s it.

    Congrats to all.

  • Jeff

    Great post Pat. Thanks for breaking down how you would make the calls. Your advice is always so helpful.

    I’ve been in sales for some time now and it’s always intriguing how people open up and give you way more time when they talk about themselves. Just last week I had a customer show me around his office for more than an hour explaining how he’s running his business. He typically is in a rush and only speaks for 10 minutes max over lunch meetings! When you make the meeting about the customer and they do most of the talking that’s when the appointment is a success.

    Looking forward to your next post.

  • http://www.startyoungfinishfirst.com Tram Tran @young business oppotunities

    Pat, I always enjoy the lesson you share. Not only because it’s entertaining to read (who say they don’t ear-dropped on conversations at cafes are lying =D) but also because the what you share benefit us heaps.

    Thanks once again=D

  • http://www.discoverwithandy.com Andy

    Right off the bat let me say that I’m a horrible salesperson and am the last person that should give advice, but since you asked how we’d structure the call I thought I’d chime in.

    I think you did a great job making it customer centered, and during the craziness of wedding planning hearing how someone can help make your life easier is certainly welcomed. The only thing I might change is instead of scheduling a time with them (committing to anything during a whirlwind period in your life can be tough) it might work better to say “no appointment needed, just call us an hour before you come over and we’ll have samples ready”. This lessens scarring them away with commitment, and also makes it more customer-focused. I know it’s less specific, but soft-sells go a long way in my book.

    Andy

  • http://www.forexbees.com/relative-vigor-index-rvi/ Raj

    Well, since the sales calls are in a coffee shop, which is a public place, I don’t think it’s rude to tell them what you think. Those ladies must have already known that everybody listens to their sales calls. You made very good points on how they can be to improve their sales. Its very useful for a lot of people.

  • Mark

    Pat,

    Can you please give me the name of the WordPress Plugin you use to prevent click fraud / click bombing on your website?

    • Pat

      Mark – I don’t have one that prevents click fraud or bombing…i do have one called Limit Login Attempts that blocks out anyone who incorrectly tried to access my sites though, but sounds completely different than what you seem to be looking for.

  • http://Mazda3carpet.com David Freitas

    I’m the same way and often find myself buying my tongue in those situation. I have been in sales for over a decade now full time and it drives me nuts when I hear someone ask me, “hi can I help you?” as soon as I walk in to a store.

    I automatically reply no, even when I do need help. It’s a knee jerk reaction most people have to that question. I do normally share an introduction that I use that gets people to say yes 80% or more.

    What gets irritating is when they say this is how the company wants them to say as it helps deter shop lifting. The thing that helps to deter shop lifting is making contact and acknowledging people when they are in the aisles. Not a stale line that everyone reacts negatively to.

    Talk about the baby being thrown out with the bath water.

  • sc

    Wonderful post. I think you should have just asked for their card, and called them another time. or even sent them a link to this post.

  • http://gravatar.com/kenacha Kenneth

    Great post Pat!
    It again reveals your great business acumen.
    I think I would have acted just like you did. I would be regretting at home though that it would have been better to be looked upon as rude to help them. I already heard the conversation. I have a medical background and I tend to apply that line of thought to my thinking. If i overheard a stranger planning to kill himself, would I ignore it because I wasn’t supposed to hear? I know the the two are not quite the same at all… but I’m the kind who likes to stretch things. There is obviously danger in trying to do so. For example, I’m the founder of an orphanage that I’ve been leading for the past 7 years. I’ve literally had to do things to try to take orphans from careless guardians in systems that are not as helpful as the U.S system. But I would never fault you Pat because like I said, I frequently can’t muster the courage to take action. I only go home and regret… lol

  • Teresa

    Anyone who want to start business of any kind should read this post first.
    Best wishes Pat,
    Teresa

  • Ryann Micua

    I love your breakdown, thank you. And you should’ve called the bride instead, set up a meeting, and outsourced the catering.. hehe..

  • http://profitablebusinesstips.com Sven

    Pat, I think this speech will take too long and will be hanging very artificial in the air. I believe you start very good, but I then it sort of gets too long. In real life there are usually a lot of distractions so you have to be short. After the opening sentence you can just say “How is the planing going, are you getting ready for the most beautiful wedding and do you need any help with it? We would love to help!” and that is it. We can also work on the voice – maybe a calming voice that sounds like you own mom?

  • http://www.dansumnerblog.com Dan Sumner

    Hey Pat,

    Some great info there. You made your explanation more personal and about the person, it sounded so much better with more effort.

    I personally would have done the same. I could listen in yes, but when it comes to explaining why I was listening I guess I would be the same and feel a little rude.

    I did comment on something similar last week at my local takeaway, about their menu layout and how it could have been made more readable and customer friendly. They liked my ideas and are going to look into it.

    Thanks for sharing Pat.

    Dan Sumner

  • http://www.smallbusinessdevelopmenthq.com Tomas Merrill

    I think this great, Pat. It reminds of Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. I think making it about the person you are trying to sell to is the best thing a salesman can you. And as you said earlier in the comments, it doesn’t have to just apply to salesman. I used this strategy when asking for a raise with my boss, and it worked. Thanks again for the great post!

  • http://www.familytentreview.org leigh

    Hey Pat,
    Great post. When I think about seeing these ladies dial down their list, I think of would have I would do ‘before’ getting to the warm call. Hopefully the ladies at the show took some notes when talking to people. That was the perfect opportunity to get the potential clients email address and 1 or 2 pieces of key information. I would have sent an email with link to website and personalized message about how my services will meet their xyz needs, and i will call them to discuss a tasting (or what ever). My point is, I think setting up the call before the call is important. When doing events, make sure we have enough people to man the booth to make connections with people about their wedding (date, venue, how is the planning going?), venue, if they have ideas on menu, etc. take notes, and use that information later in the sales process. Time is the essence though, make sure that email goes out the same or next day after your first contact.

    • http://ehealthinsurancesolutions.com/ Sharon Nuttall

      Leigh, I really like your approach. Trying to almost close the deal (which is what committing to a tasting would probably feel like to a potential client) with their luke warm phone call is a bit like asking for marriage on a first date – it just ain’t-a gonna’ happen most of the time! Going with something like, “I’d like to email you some suggestions/ideas/menus/tips that our brides have found really helpful” would let them establish credibility and rapport with the lead.

  • http://smallhouselife.com/ Dee@ Small Houses

    “Hi [Name] this is Pat from Pat’s Catering!” <<you crack me up!

    At the end you mentioned you didn't speak up.. Of course it varies, but I typically do. It's a HUGE risk and potentially embarrassing.. but usually after the 'deer in the headlights looks' (hey, I'm from Texas!) they eagerly embrace the intrusion.. because most people flat know nothing about how to run a business. Yet, at the same time, they desperately want to succeed.

    dee :)

  • http://www.brockstarlife.com Brock

    Great points. I think everyone should work in sales, even if it’s just over the phone, at least once in their life. You learn way more than just how to close!

  • http://www.mschocolatier.com Jason Mancillas – Ms. Chocolatier

    I really don’t think it would of came off as being rude. I think as a business person any advice given for free is good to a business person who may be tackling more hats that they may have to wear.

    I think the approach would of determined if it may be viewed as rude. I think most people are open to constructive feedback.

    And to follow up on what you were stating our wedding coordinator did approach my wife in that manner as you presented. My wife kept saying I can’t believe she remembered me. Building that relationship with the customer makes a customer for life.

  • Kay

    Pat, you made such a valid point. It should always be about the customer. If they were truly about giving the brides a unique experience with their catering services, their approach would be a lot like yours. With your approach, I think the brides would be more willing to give your catering business (if you had one) a chance. Whenever a business is trying to acquire new customers, there’s only that small window of opportunity to make a first good lasting impression.

    Sometimes, I am little hesitant to butt in on other people conversations to offer suggestions, too. In this case, what’s sad is…. this catering company doesn’t realize their approach is not generating sufficient business. Maybe… Pat, if you remember the catering company, send them an email (assuming they even have a website) or a letter briefly explaining what you noticed on that day and how they need to alter their phone approach. And within the letter give them a link to your website so they can gain insight on people-interaction. :) Because they need help!

  • http://www.reconart.com/ Steven

    “I’m not an expert copywriter or salesman, but my experience tells me that catering to the customer is exactly what you have to do.”

    Bingo, bango. In my experience, focus on the customer trumps everything else. I liked your approach to the follow up call, but I would probably not use the first follow up sentence after they respond to ‘How are you?’. Just seems unnecessary and perhaps a waste of time.

    Besides that, I liked the approach – get that meeting!

  • http://www.blueglobalmedia.com/blog Christelle Hobby

    Isn’t it funny how when you enter a business/industry you start to see everything through that lens? Sort of like when you buy a car. You may have hardly seen any of that model, then the second you purchase it, you see them everywhere.

    It is a really good habit (as long as you don’t terrorize family and friends with it) to “practice” your marketing skills on other scenarios. Cool post and definitely a good lesson/reminder about how people should handle their customers.

  • http://www.mythemepages.com Jon Hawkins

    Well, Pat, i might have worded the calls to the brides the same as you.
    Should you have said something? I don’t know!! I am still learning go with my first gut voice no matter how uncomfortable it may be at that moment. Especially, when I think it will help the situation.

    This is what I call a chance/choice situation….I do my best nowadays to change my chances to say something into a choice to say something.

  • http://invite.wproadie.com Stephen Jeske

    You know, it is easy to forget that your customers are real people with real needs, wants and desires, and not just another transaction. After a while of doing the same thing over and over again, we just want to “cut to the chase” and get the deal done. I think Pat hit the nail on the head when he said that you need to “cater to the customer”. Are you still interested?, is a yes or no question. I still remember from my days selling newspaper subscriptions door-to-door that you never ask a yes or no question because most often people will say NO. So no wonder they didn’t close many appointments.

    I don’t think I would have said anything either if I were in your shoes Pat. The two women don’t know you. Unless they are obviously disappointed at not getting any appointments, any advice would likely fall on deaf ears.

  • http://www.extramoneyblog.com Sunil from The Extra Money Blog

    nice post Pat. a reminder not to view a “list” as a task to get through (run right down through it) but rather focus on a customer centric approach.

  • http://www.enoughcashflow.com Samuel

    Great post Pat!

    You should have offered to help them in exchange of equity in the company. Another source of income that wouldn’t require too much of your time. ;)

    Continued success,
    Samuel

  • http://buy-expired-domains.com/ Thomas Hoi

    Hi Pat,

    Thanks for sharing this post. I believe it’s always important to put your customer’s needs as top priority. So many sales pitches always boost about their company’s history, sales record etc… but fails to listen to customer’s wants and needs.

    It also interesting that this kind of mentality has also “infected” the websites. Just look at company’s websites and you know what I mean. Most of them are cold and does not connect to the visitors who are looking for a solution to solve their problem.

  • http://www.profitdriversconsulting.com Steve Scasta

    Such an interesting and typical story! So much of sales is building a relationship and it sounds like these girls were more interested in the process of getting through the list of new contacts than actually trying to connect with them. (You DO have to give them credit for hustling though!)

    Whenever I’m following up after an event like this, the first question out of my mouth after the introduction and reminder of where we met is, “Is this a good time or did I catch you in the middle of something?”

    Trust me, people are NOT used to hearing that from salespeople and are much more likely to give their attention if the salesperson is showing some respect for their time and not trying to steamroll them.

  • http://ourcalicut.com Omar

    Great Post. Hoping to learn more from you.

  • http://www.importexporthomestudy.com/import-business importdan

    Wow great article, ive always been interested in catering but I don’t have the skills for that mess. I grew up having a piano bar for my family’s business back then and I remember hardly ever seeing my parents. I work from home selling import/export goods and I have all the time for my family.

  • http://www.propelbacklinks.com SteveWyman

    Hi Pat

    I cant improve on your sales copy its excellent.

    I however would have found a way to chat/help them. Not by direct attack on their process but more a “hi” starting point.

    Most people want help if its offered in the right way. This blog is proof of that :-)

    regards

  • http://jeremy-ruggles.com Jeremy Ruggles @ Internet Marketing Tips

    Hi Pat,

    You are totally right about the way a company presents themselves to customers. You really want them to feel like they will benefit from working with you or hiring you. You want to give them value and leave them knowing they made a good decision even if the decision was just to take something free from you.

    You are a top notch marketer Pat!

    Take care,

    ~Jeremy

  • Jackie

    Pat, You should have said something to those girls – they were working so hard and need the help. If they didn’t accept the help from you – so what? it didn’t take away anything from you. But if they did accept the help and it turned their catering business around – they would always be thankful and never forget the “stranger” in the coffee shop who helped turn our business around. If you know the name of their company = you should step out and contact them and offer you insight. Nothing ventured – nothing gained

  • Cigoz

    Nice Post Pat and well thought out.

    I know a few things about creating a real connection with customers, but I know a lot of organizations hardly knows what works and what doesnt when it comes to selling themselves.

    It is true it’s a sales call but building relationship is the mindset that will work eventually. Once you create a ‘me vs them’ notion, people are alienated.

    I dont know what the culture of human inter-relationship is in your locale but if I were to meet such a passionate duo, I would have asked to join them and actually make some calls for them. People everywhere appreciates being shown the way that works. I am yet to meet people who would put their pride above their business even in the smallest details.

  • http://www.performbettergolf.com Mike

    Pat,

    Great post! Being a marketing professional myself, I too am always look at why business do what they do. And, many times I relay my opinion to my children, especially my 16 year old boy. Hopefully he’s listening ;)

    Cheers,
    Mike

  • http://www.hammerandheels.net/ Angel

    Hi Pat, I always learn something valuable from your posts even if the particular post doesn’t directly relate to me. I have filed these great tips away in my hippocampus :)

    And yes, I would have said something as I think it would have helped the girls so much.

    Seriously, I think you are missing your calling as a busness coach.

  • http://www.howileftmyjob.com/ John Warren

    I definitely think you could have made some recommendations without being rude. As long as you weren’t condescending about it or anything, they would probably have been appreciative of the help – though I’m guessing they would’ve been a bit shy when they first realized you’d been listening.

    That said, I don’t know if I would’ve said anything or not… I may have simply done the same as you and made a blog post about it later.

  • http://www.nairacow.com Mk Akan

    Hi Pat,
    So true and it is the basic rule about basic copying writing and marketing in general.It is always about starting with the gains of the customer or the person concerned.

    “Tell them what they will get first before saying how you will help them get it”.

    I think you would have still somehow informed them. Maybe a little note on a paper or something.It would have made a difference to their business.

  • Aidan

    Personally I find it extremely out of place for a total stranger to ask me “how I am” especially where selling a product or service is concerned and its the sort of phrase which immediately puts my guard up. If I’ve never spoken to or met the person before I know for a fact they really don’t care “how I am”. While I agree that customer service, a polite introduction is neccessary for completing business asking a total stranger a question that implies you actually have some degree of interest how they are feeling just sounds slimy.
    While its nice to think that people have more “good” days than bad and generally are in a positive state of mind what happens to the process of selling that service on the basis that the person is going through a “bad” day? Upon telling the caller “I’m not too good actually” am I really going to get into a conversation with a total stranger about the dog dying, my wife leaving or whatever other ill wind has befallen me..more to the point this caller is not going want to get into all that either because of the simple fact he doesn’t care. I’m over analysing I know, courtesy is king but I think coming across like a car salesman will do more harm than good and the approach needs to be carefully done.

    • http://www.geargenius.com Tim

      While I agree that asking someone ‘how are you’ if you don’t care comes across as slimy, that is exactly the difference between a good sales person and a bad sales person. Good sales people care, and it shows, even with a simple ‘how are you?’ Also, keep in mind these are leads that the two girls met at a bridal bazaar so they have already met these people at least on a formal level. So if ‘how are you’ is too personal they could at least ask ‘did you enjoy the bridal bazaar?’, but something needs to be said to show personal and sincere interest.

  • http://www.bestoffiverr.com Charleen Larson

    What a timely article for me in particular. I’m about to take on a new marketing challenge that involves selling a service (not catering) to brides-to-be or those who love them.

    I’m like you, though, always trying to come up with better solutions for other marketers.

  • http://www.applycardcredit.org susie

    This article remind me of how i first started inviting people to come and listen to a business opportunity talk, an mlm business that i got myself involved in many2 yrs ago and quit after too many rejection. Lol. Years later i realized that there was nothing wrong with the business but it was the way i approached people for business. It is all about building relationship first ….i guess it applies to everything even in internet business. Thanks pat for sharing the story. I guess We all can learn something from this.

  • http://www.trafficpowerhouse.com/readallaboutit/ Spatch Merlin

    That’s not really working, the way those women target their leads. I mean converting is not easy as asking them if the brides would hire them. I agree with you, in the wedding niche it is important to place the highest regards to the brides – to always put them at the center of everything. As John Maxwell said, people don’t care how much you know, they wanna know how much you care. When you, the marketer, lets them know you totally care for them, people would always seek out your services no matter how pricey it is.

    Spatch Merlin
    More Web Site traffic Guide

  • http://www.teamaguilar.com/torrey-highlands-real-estate.html Alex Aguilar

    I’m sure the two young women would have bagged at least one or two customers with your improved telephone script, but the reality is that cold calling customers is a terrible marketing technique. Calling up people and trying to get them interested in buying things is an uphill struggle at the best of times – as anyone who has ever worked at a call center will attest to.

    • Pat

      The thing is that they weren’t cold calling – these were warm leads that have already given permission to these girls to contact them. Following up with a phone call, I would argue, is a GREAT marketing technique (if done correctly) because it’s much more personable than an email or letter, for example.

  • http://www.weddingpeoniesflowers.blogspot.com Peonies Wedding

    Wow Pat that is a fantastic pitch! I think I am going to adapt it to fit my business.

  • http://www.simonhaestoe.com Simon

    “that is exactly the difference between a good sales person and a bad sales person. Good sales people care”<—-great. Yep, it's not impossible to care about a person you've never met. and, ESPECIALLY if you are one – like a real sales person would – focusing on how to improve that person's situation (yes, and making money off of it, but why would that be wrong?!).

  • http://www.bestoffiverr.com Charleen Larson

    I’ve been thinking about this question a lot and after reflection, I think Pat was wise not to approach the two women and here’s why…

    Have you ever tried to help a friend or a relative in their business by gently (one hopes) educating them about better techniques? How did that go over? Maybe it’s just me but I’ve never gotten anything but stiff resistance. It seems they just can’t allow themselves to accept help.

    An example: A relative owns a craft shop. Her customers are 100% women. The business is seasonal. I sell a jewelry product that is handmade in my relative’s state but hard to find there. I suggested to her that I would give her (free of charge, no obligation) two racks full of jewelry so she can see how it goes in her store. I understand this demographic and am convinced it’s a sure moneymaker. She gets free jewelry, gets to keep the proceeds and I gain nothing by this other than the satisfaction of helping.

    She turned me down flat.

    If people who know you are resistant to your well-meaning attempt to help, how amenable would strangers be?

  • http://lifestoogood.net Alan | Life’s Too Good

    Hey Pat,

    I like it & you’re definitely right that marketing has changed and the old company based approach doesn’t work anymore but I still think your version is too long. I think just say “Hi there this is X from Y we met at the bridal bazaar Y days ago, how are the wedding plans going?” that’s it.

    Then judge the response you get. Depending upon that have 2 or 3 alternative next lines but perhaps throw in some active listening to the response to get more engagement and build trust before telling them you can help them. Be prepared to wait as long as it takes to make your pitch particularly if the conversation is going well – as you said, it’s all about the customer.

  • http://www.aftertendesign.com Linda

    I work as a a freelancer, and though my contacts are not via phone or ‘cold calling’ this can be applied to anyone writing a proposal for a project ( I do graphic design, with specialty in Internet Marketing), Be clean, precise, make it about them, not what I offer.
    On many freelance sites, such as elance.com you have a small window of opportunity and need to stand out from the usual proposals people submit, and this post would be so helpful to many starting out.

  • http://www.perfectfitforyou.com Nina-PerfectFitForYou

    Hi Pat,
    I am Nina, a seasoned dressmaker. This is my first comment ever… I wanted to say thank you.
    One of my most valuable services is bridesmaid dress alterations. Poor girls end up with dresses ordered online that don’t fit. To make things worse, bride selects the style and color. No doubt bridesmaid come to me literally ready to jump off the cliff…

    One day I thought, why don’t I call wedding planners and ask them to send the bride and bridesmaids to me BEFORE they selected dresses and fabric.

    I think it is a great idea, that will help a lot of girls. I wanted to start a conversation just like these two girls in your story, almost exact same line!
    See, English is my second language and I am no marketer.

    I will try your way, it seems logical :)

    Thanks a lot
    Nina

  • http://www.perfectfitforyou.com Nina-PerfectFitForYou

    Yes and i forgot to add that if it was me sitting in the coffee shop breaking my head against the wall, I would have appreciated an interruption :)

    Of course, depending how you would approach this. I would be open to the advice that starts like:
    “Hi, I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation. Having some experience in marketing, I was wondering, how is this calling working for you? ”
    and if i heard that it doesn’t, I would have offered some tips

    Thanks
    Nina

  • http://www.30yearoldninja.com Izmael Arkin

    Man, this is interesting. I find myself in situations often where I am more attracted to the selling process than the product itself. Just recently, I stayed at a small hostel while I was travelling. The owner was a rather quiet guy but he did a few key things which were really powerful. First off, he talked with all of the guests. Now, he was a quiet guy but he asked a lot of questions. Because he talked to a lot of the guests I noticed that all of the guests talked with one another. He also had food out on a table which he encouraged people to eat… Low and behold the next morning I had some extra food and without even thinking I found myself offering the food to other guests. Of course, I went to this place because of the fantastic reviews. Which when I left I was able to understand how fantastic this place was.

    Even the online marketing was smart. This guy celebrated this place by publicly saying online “Welcome to the smallest hostel in Nara”. It is the first thing he shares with people about his place. Being small is not awesome yet he made it awesome.

    So interesting to me. Great Article Pat

  • http://pazer.blog.com/ Andreas Pazer

    I definitely think you could have made some recommendations without being rude. As long as you weren’t condescending about it or anything, they would probably have been appreciative of the help – though I’m guessing they would’ve been a bit shy when they first realized you’d been listening.

    That said, I don’t know if I would’ve said anything or not… I may have simply done the same as you and made a blog post about it later.

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