8 Amazing Techniques on How to Create Catering Leads
In the catering world, there is nothing like too much work. Having sufficient leads is the only way to guarantee that your catering business will grow and sustain itself in the long run. The main fact is that the catering domain is very competitive. So focusing on your food and catering skills alone is unlikely to generate as much business as you would need to meet your business targets.
Therefore, to stand out from the hundreds of other caterers, you need to incorporate lead generation as a core part of your duties. The good thing is that even if you may not be a sales and marketing guru, you can apply several tried and tested methods to boost your catering business leads.
The following are techniques on how to create catering leads that are sure to get people booking your catering business all year long.
1. Use Creative Marketing Ideas
Using traditional media like print and newsletters will get you some awareness of your business. But you know what? That will not set you apart from the other caterers doing the same. It would be best if you had a creative idea that can immediately catch the attention of your potential business hence generating the leads you desperately need.
Having an out of the box idea will help your clients associate you with authenticity. A good example is having a pimped out catering van. Some fresh graphics will have you associated with stylishness and sophistication.
During this stage, it is essential to source out professionals since branding is crucial for generating leads and eventually pays off in the long run. Otherwise, anything shoddy is the equivalent of brand suicide. Also, ensure that you portray the same level of intricacy in your brochures and letterheads.
2. Organize Open Houses and Tasting Events
Conducting bridal tastings alone is not enough to generate enough quality leads. It is vital to also reach out to people in the corporate world as well. To do this, you need to collect a list of several potential leads and then make an effort to impress them with your exemplary services.
To delve further into the details, first, reach out to these prospective clients in either a properly designed email or any other convenient method. It doesn’t have to be too formal. Once your target leads arrive, start with an introduction and then proceed to take them through bits and pieces in your menu.
Also, once you have impressed them with good food, as they leave to ensure you have your business cards ready and take-out menus for your visitors. To hook them further, offer a discount for the initial event they book with your business.
Similarly, you can use an across the board approach during an open house event. Here, you do less targeting since you are pursuing specific area codes, industrial buildings, and office complexes. Over time you can get generate excellent catering leads using this method.
3. Get Personal
Developing your connection skills is very important in generating catering leads. The ability is key to your success and helps you close deals in the catering world. For instance, networking with wedding designers, bridal shops, golf clubs, and other players in catering may be seen by many as a hobby. But for you, it is a lifeline to creating catering leads, and you should, therefore, conduct it with the objective to score leads.
Remember that just casually talking to these people will not give you the desired results. You need to delve deeper by introducing your services, ask if you can give them your business card, and also talk about some discounts that you can offer them if they refer you to a potential client.
For a more significant effect, carry some food along as a freebie, so that they can sample the delicious food you offer. Most people underestimate the importance of freebies. Particularly for a catering business, potential leads are likely to remember you if your food was delicious as opposed to just by your excellent speech.
4. Have a Reward System for Customers Who Refer Other Clients to Your Catering Business
While getting repeat customers is excellent, the only way to measure if your catering business is growing is through acquiring new clients. So which easier way to get new clients than giving incentives to repeat customers when they refer you to new ones.
A meticulous way to do this is by creating a proper referral package. The first step is reaching out to previous customers either through email or social media and trying to establish feedback from your services.
If the feedback is good, simply ask them if they can give you a referral. You can automate this process to make it easier for you and your customers by creating a referral page on your website. It is crucial to know that a referral program does not have to be expensive to have the most significant business impact. For instance, a simple 20 dollar gift card on every referral that converts into an order can equally deliver the desired results.
5. Leverage the Use of Catering Software
If you are still tracking your catering orders using Google calendar or sticky notes, know that you could be hindering the growth of your catering business. Most catering software will help you streamline your catering process, hence allowing you to accept more clients and increase your leads.
Embracing technology will not only make your business more efficient but also saves you time, thereby allowing you to focus on the finer details like ensuring customer satisfaction and lead generation. The use of software also gives you the added bonus of avoiding miscommunication between associates of your team regarding order specifics. This element helps you get your orders right always, a factor that will cultivate trust amongst you and your catering clients.
6. Build Forms to Collect Your Targeted Leads
Attracting leads to your business is not enough. It would help if you had a mechanism in place to manage them. For instance, a well-developed and optimized website should do the trick. Ensure the site has a form that prospective clients can fill in their information.
Make sure not to make it too challenging to the extent of hurtling away your target customer. Gathering info such as name, email, cell phone number, and the package they are interested in should be enough data. You can offer incentives like free draws, contests as motivation to fill out these forms. This tactic is one of the most ideal in building a list of targeted catering leads.
7. Use Structured and Timely Communication to Cultivate Your Leads
This step is essential in tipping over your lead to a potential customer. That’s why it is critical to respond in a timely fashion to all inquiries from leads. This aspect applies to whether the requests come through your site, social media, a call, or email. This dialogue helps to establish trust between you and your lead as well as vital information flow.
The reason for this dialogue is that each potential customer usually needs a series of interchange before eventually making the decision to engage your catering services. This element is typically the case for new customers, except for referrals and repeat clients.
One of the main ways in ensuring a continuous channel of communication is by encouraging potential leads to either subscribe to news sheets or follow your catering service social media platforms.
It is good to know that there is a slight difference between nurturing prevailing clients and nurturing existing leads. Either way, communication should be concentrated around reminding the leads of your business and that your services are still available.
8. Take Advantage of Fairs
Catering services always make the mistake of only targeting wedding fairs. But what about other shows? The fact is other industries like finance, legal, marketing, and others organize conferences and may require your services too.
So next time there is a fair in any industry, ask for an opportunity to put your stand or a tasting area. This step will, without a doubt, propel you to create more catering leads. Similarly, do not forget to set up at your home-grown farmers’ marketplace.
It’s one of the easiest ways to introduce yourself to the public as well as initiate a conversation. Also, the majority of the people walking around the market are in contact with someone getting married or may need catering services at one time in their lives.
Ensure you leave them with a great taste in their mouths. For this action, they will always remember you and might end up being essential leads in the future. The added benefit of being in a farmers market is that you get to meet some of the critical business players in your industry. They could include suppliers, merchants, and is besides a shrewd business move.
Remember, despite knowing how to create catering leads, not your entire collection of leads may be willing and ready to hire you as their service provider right away. It is therefore critical that even if you have followed all the steps in putting yourself out there, you ensure that you maintain momentum and follow up to guarantee you a balanced flow of catering business.