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See catering jobs from the client's point of view

Thanks to my copywriting skills, I have had to turn off my online dating account. My inbox has been overrun with potential matches. I have a full-time career; I can’t make dating another.

Without getting into the details, I’ll let you in on one copywriting trick that works great for any copy job. It’s the use of “You” versus “I”. Reading through all of my potential matches’ profiles, there is an overwhelming use of “I”.

“I am looking for…”

“I want…”

“I need…”

Too many I, I, I’s!

The word “I” was left out of my profile. I wrote with “you” in mind.

“You want someone…”

“You appreciate…”

“You enjoy…”

One change in words makes a big difference. You must put yourself in the place of your prospect to win them over.

To win a woman’s heart, you must think like a woman. Women have their own language that men don’t understand. For instance, a woman expects you to open a door, pick up the tab and walk on the street side of the sidewalk and much, much more.

You’ll never catch fish thinking like a frog.

Being on the metra side and a marketer, I think I’ve got this down fairly well.

There’s even a book called the Five Love Languages. By knowing your partner’s or potential partner’s love language, you can focus on what makes them happy.

I care nothing about gifts, but quality time is a biggie for me. Part of quality time involves experiences.

Experiences are not limited to you. Your catering clients expect their own experiences. The catering experience is more important than the food.

One type of experience is the event itself. One caterer, Ben Eaddy, is the master of experiences. He is able to command the highest prices in his market for crawfish boils, barbecues and other specialty catering events by the experience he creates, complete with Zydeco music, decorated tables, party favors and giveaways.

Another aspect to the experience is how the catering customer and prospect are treated.
What happens when I pick up the phone to call? Do I get a busy signal? Does someone take my contact information, or am I asked to call the salesperson?

Do you show up on time? Is my order complete? Is it set up nicely? Is the delivery person well-dressed, friendly and helpful? Is there enough food?

One caterer just sent me an e-mail about a hospital that replied to a direct mail piece we worked on together. The hospital wanted 30-day terms, but his vendors only gave him 14 days. He wanted to know what he should do. Here was my advice:

Clients don’t give a flip about you, your terms or what you have to deal with. They only care about themselves. Always put yourself in their shoes. (Refer back to the “you” versus “I” section above).

So let me give you insight into how a large corporation thinks. As Robert Collier discusses in his book, The Robert Collier Letter Book, “You must enter the conversation going on in the prospect’s mind.” In this case, the hospital is saying:

“I would love to use this restaurant to cater, but…

I don’t have the time to cut a check.”

It’s not convenient to pay with a credit card.”

I don’t want to put it on my personal credit card. Getting reimbursed is a hassle.”

Accounting requires seven days to cut a check. I won’t know my final counts until the day before.”

Need I continue?

If you average it out, the credit card companies take 2.75% of the sale. You could afford to borrow the money and wait six months to get paid, and you’d break even on your cost of funds. It’s a cost of doing business. It tells the world you are a business, not a mom and pop operator.

For the record, there are lots of little things that go into the “experience.” Ask and your customers and prospects will tell you.

As the hockey great Wayne Gretzky said, “I skate to where I think the puck is going to be.”

What can you change in your catering “experience” today that let’s your customers and prospects know you feel their pain and are the only caterer to solve it?

Answer that, and your catering success will follow.

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