Many years ago at a cake event, I heard someone talk about the three questions. Norm Davis says that Pat Trunkfield from England came up with these. I’ve shared them over and over in my classes. They can truly help you focus on what is important.
As I’ve heard them, they are:
1) Will they notice?
2) Will they care?
3) If they will notice and care, are they willing to pay the difference?
Will They Notice?
Often on cake orders, we get bogged down on details and don’t know when to step away from a cake. Your first question has to be whether the customer is going to notice that aspect of the piece. If not, you want to spend less time on that part.
I use the example of my figurines. If a customer won’t notice, I often give ball hands or mitten hands to the character. It is faster for me, which means I can charge less for the figure.
Will They Care?
Some customers aren’t fussy about every single part of a cake. They might notice something but just not care.
Going with the above example, my husband would notice that I didn’t do an anatomical hand, but he would not care. If you know or believe that the customers won’t care about a particular aspect of your project, you should revert to the easiest version of it.
Will They Pay The Difference?
If they will notice and they will care, they have to be willing to pay you for the amount of extra time it is going to take. If they won’t pay for it, they do not get it. Let me say that again. If they do not pay for it, they DO NOT get it.
Why? Why must you enforce and use these three questions? Any time you spend on a cake is time you are not spending with your family, your furry babies, your friends, your TV shows or things like your laundry! You are giving up your valuable time to create an edible piece of art for a customer. They must compensate you for it.
If you went into a restaurant and ordered a steak, you would notice that it did not have mushrooms on it. If you cared to have them, you would know that you would have to pay extra for them or the chef would not be putting them on your plate.
I can hear you right now. You’re saying, “but I will notice!” That’s fine. Continue on down that same path. Give up your free time. Go ahead and sell that bed that goes unused every weekend. Don’t make a profit on your skills. But I hope you are starting to think of your operation as the gourmet steak house instead of the buffet, where folks ask for everything for hardly any money.
One more use I’ve found for the questions is to help you know where you SHOULD spend the extra time. If you listen closely as a customer places an order, they will usually emphasize a couple thinks that are crucial to them.
Those are the elements that I really focused on, because I knew it would be the first things they would look for on the cake. If I did those well, I would find a happy customer on the other side of the cake box. At the end of the day, besides a few more hours of sleep, isn’t that something for which we are all strive?