Connecting with Your Catering Clients
In September we talked about The Right Fit, determining who was the right client for you. Now, we want to talk about how to attract customers and connect with those clients. You’ve already done the hard part, figuring out who to talk to. Many businesses, catering and event planning related or not, struggle the most with determining who they should be trying to attract, so you’re ahead of the game.
One of the most important things to remember about connecting with your ideal client is remembering that you aren’t necessarily your target audience. How you do research or like to be contacted might be different from your clients. If your ideal client is newly engaged couples, 25-34 years old looking for a wedding caterer, you may want to reconsider your recurring ad in the local newspaper. You’re more likely to reach this audience through a wedding website like Wedding Wire or The Knot. Consider how your ideal client will search for caterers in their area. Take into account factors like age and geography when you decide where to advertise your services. If you aren’t comfortable placing an ad in the newspaper or creating a Facebook ad, don’t worry. Almost all avenues you’ll use to connect with your audience have experts who can help you.
You’re looking to build a relationship with your clients. You’re asking strangers to hire you. When was the last time you met a stranger? Did it take you awhile to get to know them, figure out what they liked and didn’t like? Your social media accounts are a great way to introduce yourself, your hobbies, and spark interest with potential clients. People want to hire others they share a common interest. If you love kayaking, make mention of your weekend trip in your #Monday post. “After a long weekend kayaking down the James, we’re ready to kick off some prep work this Monday morning.” This posts keeps your page professional and business related, but shows a personal side that people can connect with. Be sure to include a visual of your trip (or topic) with your post to grab more attention.
Speaking of sharing interests, a great way to connect with people is in real life! A conversation in person is more memorable to people than a quick email. Expos, festivals and events are a lot of work, but they are a great way to meet customers who otherwise might not ever have you on their radar. Put your effort into events that align with your core values and hit home with your key audience so you can connect personally. If you love preparing food fresh from the garden, you’ll likely be able to bond better with patrons at a farmer’s market than wedding expo goers. While the wedding expo attendees need a caterer, they may have different needs and a different interest in food than what you offer. You’re more likely to be able to connect with people at a farmer’s market because fresh ingredients and local goods are already important to them, and the next time they need a caterer they’ll know who to call.
The key to connecting is making sure you’re targeting the right audience. Sometimes it is about quality over quantity. Having quality connections ensures you have solid inquiries and in the end you will have an easier time providing your service to someone who values it.