2 Truths and Lie About Great Clients

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SEPTEMBER 19, 2016

Have you ever played the game "2 Truths and a Lie" at a party? Very simply, you state 3 things about yourself and everyone has to guess the 2 truths and one lie.

For example, here are 3 claims about me. See if you can spot the lie:

  1. I lost in the final round for the James Beard Best Rising Star Chef Award in 2014.
  2. I played on my college golf team and later became a LPGA Teaching Professional.
  3. I am scared to death of standing in front of a camera in spite of giving webinars and hosting an online school!

Can you guess what’s the lie? I’ll let you know at the end of the article.

More importantly, let’s look at 2 truths and a lie about what makes for a great client.

When I talk to other Personal Chefs about their favorite clients, they always say:

  • "Their best clients never negotiate with me on price."
  • "They get back to me in a timely manner."
  • "They are hospitable and make sure that I have everything I need."
  • "They are one of my long standing clients."

These various traits all point to our first truth about great clients:

Truth #1: Your best clients value what you do because you make their lives better.

There it is plain and simple. Take a moment to say it out loud to yourself and think about what it means...

As a matter of fact, let’s start out by looking at what happens if a client DOESN’T value what you do. We all know these types of clients.

They are the ones that always negotiate on price.

They cancel at the last minute.

And they usually have unrealistic expectations about what a Personal Chef really does.

But if your client values what you do, it’s completely different. They’re excited about your service. They praise your cooking, and you also start to develop a deep bond with them.

Next month is my 5 year anniversary with one of my clients, and I can say that I truly cherish them as a client and now as a friend.

Which brings us to Truth #2:

Truth #2: Your best clients just don’t happen, you cultivate them over time

Initially, each of your potential clients come to you with a food challenge - a problem that they want you to fix. Some clients want to eat healthier. Others are looking to spice up their meals. And others just want to have more family time at the dinner table. Many are also very nervous about inviting someone into their home to cook for them.

Your first task in cultivating a great client is not to impress them with your capabilities, but to listen.

Understand first, and then acknowledge their frustration and worry they may be feeling.

Make a connection.

Cultivating a great client is understanding first, and then making their lives better with your cooking, your professionalism, and your caring.

Over time as you continually have an impact on their lives, you will hear them say things like, “I can’t imagine what our lives would be like without you.” From those nice words come all of the traits we mentioned at the beginning of this article because your client is grateful for your service.

So the next time you get to speak to a potential client for the first time, ask yourself, “What can I do to make the quality of their life much better than it is today.”

Are you up for that challenge? Well, before you answer, consider “the lie” in our story:

The Lie: You can make anyone a great client

Of course, we would like to believe that anyone can be a great client, but as we discussed above, there are some people who just won’t value your services.

The reality is that you cannot make a great client with someone who doesn’t have a true food challenge.

Take for example, a typical family that is just content to prepare processed dinners and make regular fast food runs. They are active and just don’t see the need to make a change to improve their diet, and they can always find a new restaurant if they want more variety. As much as you would like to, this family will not see the value of a personal chef.

Now, what if the father in this family had a health scare and needed to start eating “heart healthy” meals. Suddenly, their priorities have shifted, and they now have a fundamental food challenge that you can address. They are ready to be a great client.

Now, I am not suggesting that you start turning away potential great or not-so-great clients. Not-so-great clients help you pay the rent. They just tend to be a little higher maintenance.

Once your week starts to fill up, you can afford to be a little pickier. Recognize the inquiries that are curious and the inquiries that truly NEED your services. The good news is that you will naturally find yourself gravitating to the potential “great” clients that are in deep need of your services (FYI, these people usually do not start off by asking, "How much do you cost?").

So there you go, 2 truths and a lie…

  • Truth #1: Your best clients value what you do because you make their lives better
  • Truth #2: Your best clients just don’t happen, you cultivate them over time
  • The Lie: You can make anyone a great client

I can say that I am grateful for all of my clients. It's such a great feeling waking up each morning knowing that I am going to make a difference in someone's life that day.

Did you guess my lie?

I’ve never (ever, ever) been considered for a cooking award. I’m just happy that my clients like what I make!

Until next time,

-Bonnie Goodman

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Things that are making us happy right now…

Each week we will share things that may or may not be relevant to your personal chef business, but are making us happy nonetheless. Let us know what is making you happy and we will share it here in future newsletters!

  • La Pitchoune: We saw a New York Times article on a writer who spent a few days living and cooking in Julia Childs home when they lived in France from 1965 to 1970. Through a little searching, we found the Airbnb listing. The place is well preserved and looking at the pictures is a wonderful trip back in time. I could easily see us taking a special trip with a few close friends to experience Julia first hand. Bon Appetite!
  • The Great British Bake Off returns?: We are HUGE fans of the The Great British Bake Off (aka The Great British Baking Show in the US). Many of us were heartbroken to hear that the Bake Off team is splitting up when the show moves to Britain’s Channel 4. However, this week we heard rumors that the BBC is thinking about how they can bring back Mary, Sue, and Mel in a new format! We would miss Paul Hollywood, but we’ve always felt that the heart of the show was with the ladies. The good news for us in the States is that we have one more season left to view (that’s currently airing in the UK). Here in the US, you can check out the series on PBS.

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Until next week,

Bonnie & Greg Goodman

Bonnie Goodman

Since 2010, Bonnie has been a successful personal chef in the Orange County area. Since 2011 Bonnie has been booked solid serving busy families, seniors, business professionals, celebrities, and professional athletes. Bonnie centers her cooking style around allergy-friendly and healthy homestyle meals that the whole family can enjoy.

When Bonnie started her Personal Chef business she was grateful for some of the Personal Chef Associations like the APPCA and the USPCA. Unfortunately there was not a fully immersive program available to teach her about building and growing her business. Bonnie decided in 2015 to launch the Personal Chef Guide to help new personal chefs enter the market and grow their business.