July 1st, 2015 marks the 20th anniversary since I started Zookbinders. (Check out www.zookbinders.com)

I “celebrated” by walking through the facility alone and thinking about all of the great clients we’ve had over the years and all of the great colleagues who helped them out. This led to the question: “how does a company stay in business for 20 years”?

The easy answer is: talk to your current and future clients, find out what they want… and deliver it… better than your competition.While that sounds so simple, the real secret is to dig into your customers’ pain points and find the “unmet want”. Let me explain:

When we talk to new and future clients, we ask a lot of questions to find out where they need help. We ask what they like about their current album company, and what they wish could be done better.  Then we ask them to describe an ideal album company.  This has taught us what’s most important to our clients.

You can do the same thing. When meeting with a prospective client, what if you asked questions like:

“Have you met with other photographers?” If so, “what did you like best about them, and what concerns do you have?”

“Please describe an ideal experience with a pro photographer from the minute you hired one until the day you received your finished album.”

The answers you get will tell you if you’re a good fit for them, and also what their real “hot buttons” are. It will also give you the opportunity to point out the strengths you have that match the concerns they have, which helps build trust.

While I admit we’ve had some good ideas over time, our best ideas come from our clients. They’re the people we’re servicing…so who could possibly know better than them what THEY want!

It’s the same with your clients – the photographer that really understands what the bride is going through, and what’s important to her has a tremendous advantage.

A good Doctor asks a lot of questions before making a diagnosis.  A good photographer asks a lot of questions before making a recommendation on the right products and services.

So now that you know the secret, every time you talk to a new client ask them what’s important to them and how they like to work. If they’re asking for things that you don’t have…you need to make changes.

Ask every current client what they liked best about working with you. Ask them to share the one thing you could improve upon. Then MAKE THAT CHANGE!

Keep asking questions, keep digging for pain points, and keep altering your way of servicing clients, and you’ll be in business for 20 years or for generations!

Thanks for giving us the feedback (Click here and contact us!) that’s allowed us to provide you the best products and solutions for the past 20 years! For 20 years, you’ve told us what you need, and have stuck with us as we’ve gone through the pain of constant reinvention to deliver. Here’s to another 20 years together!