I have a confession to make: I recently broke up with my CPA.
*cue sad violin music
When you consider the fact that we’d been together for 20+ years, it was actually more like a divorce (dirty laundry and all). Without getting into the salacious details of why we’ve gone our separate ways, I will concede that he was a brilliant accountant with a sarcastic, dry wit who was actually quite amusing to be around sometimes. It’s no surprise why his business had grown exponentially in the 20+ years I’ve known him. However, as my businesses evolved over the years, so did my expectations of what I needed from a trusted tax advisor. At the end of the day, this relationship simply wasn’t working out (for me, at least).
Which brings me to a very important point I wanted to discuss with you today.
As business owners in a healthy, bustling marketplace, we’re oftentimes led to believe that the best product/service at the best price wins every single time. I’m here to tell you that while both those things are important, there is actually a third component that’s even more important: you’ve got to be someone the customer wants to do business with. You’ve got to be good where it counts and you’ve got to do that one thing better than everyone else. Believe it or not, it’s got little to do with your exceptional product or competitive pricing.
Simply by doing that one thing exceptionally well is why customers will choose you, and not your competitors, every single time.
This was one concept I understood very well when I first started my photography business in 2010. Despite my meager portfolio and rock-bottom prices, I could definitely empathize with my clients’ hesitation: here you’ve got this hungry photographer who was untested and inexperienced – but damn, that’s a helluva good price he’s offering! On my end, I knew that I needed to offer more than decent photos and cheap prices. I needed to demonstrate I was going to work hard for them, be dependable/honest, be easy/fun to work with – and most importantly, exceed their expectations at every turn. Outside of pricing and product, I knew I needed to be exceptional where it mattered the most.
And here’s the newsflash, friends: “what matters most” is going to be different for every single client that you meet.
Sounds pretty basic, doesn’t it?
This basic mindset of prioritizing the client expectations/experience over pricing/product has helped us grow 3 successful photography brands into what they are today. Now don’t get me wrong – your product still needs to be decent and your pricing still has to be fair. But at the end of the day, you are what matters most. Your clients want to know how you and your product/service are going to make their lives easier/better/more incredibly amazing. Once you nail that last part, the rest should fall into place (hopefully, with another happy, paying customer!).
TL;DR: Clients don’t care about the price/product as much as you’d like to think. They care about what makes you so darn special, and why they should go with you (as opposed to anyone else).