Have you ever thought about the differences between a low price leader like Wal-Mart versus a high end store like Saks Fifth Avenue?
Is it just that one costs more than the other? Is it that one has better quality items than the other? Yes, both are correct, but there's so much more than that.
When presenting your services to potential clients, are you offering yourself as a high end personal chef or a low price leader? Duh, of course you want to be the high end professional that is paid top dollar for your services!
To request top dollar, it takes more than a mindset of confidence.
Professionalism is also a visual presentation of your brand. When first meeting someone, it's a natural human tendency to judge them right away. You're judging them based on their clothing, posture, eye contact, speaking style, body language, facial expression, and so much more. And you're doing all this in a split second. That's exactly what a first impression is all about.
Your potential clients are also summing you up before you speak your first words. Wouldn't you like that initial impression to exude professionalism? Of course you do! But, what is it that constitutes a professional personal chef versus one that appears to only offer their services as a side job and possibly be in their first day of business?
Whether or not your personal chef business is a side job or full-time, your first impression should cause the potential client to believe that your business is in it for the long-term and that you're an upstanding member of the community.
A few checklist items that are qualities of a professional personal chef include:
Presenting yourself in marketing photographs and at appointments wearing a clean uniform with no holes or stains. The uniform doesn't have to be fancy or cost big bucks. It could be as simple as a shirt with your logo or business name, clean slacks and clean shoes. Yes, your shoes are very much as important in showing off professionalism as your shirt. Never ever wear street clothes when meeting a client as this will scream amateur chef.
Show up in a clean vehicle. You can't likely change your car, but you can change how well you care for it. Your new client is most definitely looking out the window to see what you're driving and how well it's cared for. If you have items to bring into the home, they may even come out to the car with you and could be appalled if you have pet hair coating the seats along with those bags of groceries.
Design quality business cards. Yes, it's true. Business cards are still around. It sounds simple enough to go down to the copy store and have 100 printed for $10, but imagine if you instead order them at a high end printing company, such as Moo.com (I am not an affiliate) and paid $100 for 50 cards that cause people to say "wow, I've never seen anything like this before." You can really stand out as a professional with high quality business cards.
Absolutely be on time, always. It's extremely important to never show up a minute late for any appointment ever. Punctuality is the golden sign of someone who takes their job seriously. It's also respectful to your client's time when showing up at the exact time (or a little earlier). It's called "being in integrity" and a cherished trait. If you say you're going to do something (show up at 10am), you absolutely follow through on your statements. That's being in integrity.
Respond to inquiries as quickly as possible. It can be daunting when you worked an entire day and then glance at your email to find four requests for dinner parties. However, replying to those requests sooner than a competitive personal chef in your area will propel your business so much further ahead. "If you're not first, you're last!" Being known as a highly responsive business is another golden sign of professionalism. You don't necessarily have to reply with a lengthy message. It could be a quick "I've received your message and will get back to you by 10am tomorrow". If you could set that response on auto-pilot, bonus.
Become comfortable discussing your rates. When setting your rates, you likely have all the confidence in the world, but when it comes to presenting them to a potential client, you may find yourself negotiating in their favor, argh. A professional personal chef sets their rates, is confident is sharing their pricing, and does not negotiate. The only way to become confident in your pricing is to practice. Practice your sales pitch daily. Confidence will follow with experience. Learn How to Price Your Personal Chef services here >>
Finally, ask for referrals. I promise that if you're doing a great job for a client, they would absolutely love to share you with their friends. Ask for referrals, set up the next appointment before leaving any cook session, and be on the lookout for upsell opportunities. It's far easier to continue working with a current client than going out and trying to find a new client!
Did I miss anything? As a professional personal chef yourself, you may have an idea of something I should add to the list. I'd love to hear it! I'm a real person, so feel free to message any time.
Best Wishes & Much Success to You, Virginia Stockwell
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