What does your firm have that your competition does not? What makes it unique? Before you jump in and say your food, service, and experiences are the best, think about this: this is exactly what your competitors are telling their clients.
To stand out, your uniqueness must be specific and be clearly different than your competitors. The number one competitive advantage is your venue. Whether you lease or own it, this will drive bridal, corporate, and social clients to you. This is a clear advantage. There is only one venue like yours and if you’re blessed to have one, you’re way ahead of the game. Having more than one is even better. One northeastern caterer I know is exclusive at over 15 venues. Now that’s unique.
There’s another advantage to having your own venues. Clients will seek you out first and if your venue is not a good match for them, you can take them to other venues in your locale that do not have exclusive caterers. Take them to the venue, don’t just refer them. Taking them will give you strong advantage over the competition.
If you simply don’t have the time to expend, call the venue manager ahead of time, let them know you are sending over a client, and ask them to support your catering firm. So many times, salespeople get lazy, say “call so and so at such and such a place”—and guess what, 9 times out of 10 you’ll never see them again.
Lack of venue
So, Bill, I don’t have my own venue, what else do I have that is unique? This is when you need to dig down deep. Ask your staff for suggestions. Hold a meeting with your team and see what they come up with. Years ago, I did this and we came up with 25 that were unique to my firm. Here are a few ideas to ponder to help you define what is unique about your firm.
• Celebrities and political figures for whom you’ve catered
• Do you have staff members who are rock stars, or perhaps a celebrity chef on your team?
• What have been your contributions to local charities and to the catering profession in general?
• Have you received any local or national awards?
• Do you teach at a local university or appear as a guest lecturer?
• Have you written any industry articles?
• If your Google, Yelp, Wedding Wire and The Knot ratings are primo—promote those
• If you’re in an area where you entertain visitors from other parts of the world, having team members • Who speak different languages can be huge
• How long have you been in business?
These are just a few ideas to start the thought process. Once you’ve defined what they are, train your sales team, put them on your website, and include them in your marketing material. Just having great food and service is not enough! You need to convey why you’re unique and why clients should hire you. This is one huge secret to sales success. You can BANK on that.
Bill Hansen is the CEO of Bill Hansen Luxury Catering and Event Production, Miami, FL.
See Bill Hansen at Catersource 2018!
Bill Hansen will present two “Proven Ways” panel discussions, with three small, medium, and large catering companies represented. Click here to view all of the education sessions available at Catersource in Las Vegas, February 18-21, 2018 at Caesars Palace and the Las Vegas Convention Center, including Bill’s!