I’ve picked up a client while one of my regulars is out of town. She asked on the NextDoor app if anyone knew of a personal chef, and a friend referred me.
STEP 1: If your friends can’t explain what you do in one clear sentence, then you haven’t defined your services enough OR you aren’t talking about your services enough.
Challenge: in one clear sentence tell me about your personal chef business in the comments.
The new client is a family with young kids and you know that’s my jam.
Their catalyst for hiring a personal chef is that they’re busy, he works all the time the kids’ school is 30 minutes away, plus they have a lot of after school activities.
That all adds up to a lot of takeout. Which adds up to some weight gain for everyone.
Mom doesn’t have time, or let’s face it, inclination, to plan, shop, and cook. But she wants the family to eat regular meals and be healthier.
STEP 2: My strategy during our first meeting (the interview) was to SHUT UP AND LISTEN.
I didn’t dive right in and go on and on about me, my background, my cooking style.
Or try to dazzle her with my extensive cookie knowledge.
I didn’t talk about gourmet food or foodie things.
Finally, I didn’t talk about hyper specialized diets like keto.
SHE DOESN’T CARE ABOUT THAT
I just SHUT UP AND LISTEN. It doesn’t matter how much she already told me by phone or email. I wanted her to go over everything again. She told me everything I needed to know about why they needed my services.
Then it was easy to talk to her and reinforce the points that were important to her.
STEP 3: I just spoke to the EXACT things she talked about.
- She talked about how busy they are and how overwhelmed she is. I BRIEFLY talked about everything I do that takes it off her shoulders.
- Also she mentioned how bad she feels about not taking care of the family better. I mentioned that that’s very common these days and that hiring me to help IS her taking care of her family.
- She expressed a desire to lose a little weight. I said it’s common to lose some weight just by not eating out all the time.
- Similarly she said they want to eat healthier and I BRIEFLY explained the difference between my food and restaurant food and why mine is healthier.
- Finally, she said she was concerned that her husband and kids would like the food, so I mentioned some testimonials and references of families like hers that love my food.
She decided to do a weekly 7×4 service (7 entrees – 4 servings of each entrée) plus simple sides of my choice. She will freeze half of them, and they will have dinner every night of the week.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but the MORE the client talks, the MORE they will like you and the EASIER it is to get them started.
STEP 4: Cook Awesome Food
Their menu (and cooking appliance) last week was:
- Brisket (pressure cooker)
- Chicken Cordon Bleu (oven)
- Broccoli Beef, Chili (stove top)
- Southwestern Beef Kebabs, Garlic Herb Chicken Kebabs, BBQ Chicken (grill)
- Plus, roast broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes (oven), and peas (frozen)
STEP 5: Always Follow Up
I always follow up a couple days later to check on how the food is and if they have any questions or problems.
She left me a super long voice mail going on and on about how much they’re all loving the food. I immediately asked her if I may use her message as a testimonial on my website.
In conclusion, that’s a textbook perfect client on-boarding.
And no, they don’t always go that way.
But the more practice you have, the more confident you’ll be, and the easier it is to get the clients that you love and will love you and your food.