Catersource is part of the Informa Connect Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Get To Know Your Neighbors

Referrals are an important part of every business. Any great salesperson knows this. Developing a “sales team” of people that do not work for you but recommend you costs you nothing.

These testimonials are more powerful than your own sales pitch. They are unbiased and come from an external source. Your only job is to make sure you deliver what your references have promised.

Start building your testimonial pool. Invite people into your business to experience what you do. This includes more than just customers. Invite your vendors and your local community to get to know you. Your neighborhood. You never know who may be able to send some business your way. You also don’t know how far their reach is to others.


I just returned from a weekend road trip. I drove to Eastern Iowa from Chicago through Southwestern Wisconsin. I spent the first night in a small town called Verona, Wisconsin.

I picked my hotel based on what was open and had the highest TripAdvisor reviews for cleanliness & service (cleanliness is the new luxury). Upon check-in, I was asked to fill out a form for my complimentary breakfast. They were offering an individually-plated meal because the free morning buffet was closed. It was comforting to see the hotel had already made adjustments due to Covid-19.


I asked Eric at the front desk what he recommended for dinner. I had not dined out a restaurant for the past four months. I was excited yet tentative. I wondered how restaurants would be following cleanliness guidelines. Eric suggested the local bar & grill across the street. I looked out the window at what appeared to be a dive-bar. “Really, I thought?” Eric had seen this face already before. “I know it doesn’t look it, but they shut down every afternoon between 2:00-5:00 pm for a complete scrub down of the place. I watch for it every day that I am here.”


I had the best reuben sandwich of my life with an ice cold Wisconsin beer. While I was there, I posted a picture on Instagram. It was that good. I had more likes from that post than any other in the past four months. Before I paid my bill, the owner stopped by my table to see if I enjoyed everything. I let him know my sandwich and beer were excellent and that Eric sent me over. Eric was the best non-paid salesperson on this owner’s team. Now I’m the second best non-paid salesperson on his team. Connect with me if you are going to Verona. I will tell you where to go.


Jennifer Perna

Jennifer Perna

Owner, Fulton Market Consulting, Chicago, IL
Jennifer Perna started Fulton Market Consulting in May 2017 after developing an event experience and sales management experience portfolio for over 25 years in the downtown Chicago catering and special events industry. Jennifer presently works with owners, managers and all team players at hospitality-related companies on increasing sales and creating business development strategies, streamlining processes for operations and event production and developing best practices for human resources and administrative management. This is especially imperative as we continue to manage a diverse and young talented pool of employees today. Jennifer brings a dynamic, approachable and relatable communication style to all levels and members...