Over the years some of you have actually met my Dad at various conventions and many of you have read a couple of his posts he wrote for this blog. Well, today Dad's part of another adventure in building a successful business.
Here's the scenario, once a week Dad and I try and get out to lunch together. We have the same argument every week over whose turn it is to buy and we rarely go to the same place two weeks in a row. Yesterday we simply decided life is too short to eat another salad and we went for Sarasota's best burger at Square 1. Plus, there are few things in life that can make this almost 92 year old happier than a giant order of $3 onion rings!
Already, you're shaking your head trying to figure out how in the world this can relate to a business model for photographers, but here's how it all fits together. Quality, service, staff and the experience all make this one of our favorite places. What are clients saying about the experience with you?
Listening to your clients: Square 1 is the only place I've been in years that when I ask for my burger rare, it's going to come rare. No excuses about the health department and the risk of e-coli, just a terrific tasting juicy burger. I was told they can do that because they raise their own beef. They don't have to worry about health issues because they have complete control over the entire process.
So, think about the services you offer as a photographer. Do you offer everything your clients ask for or do you make excuses based on the limitations of the vendors you use?
Having unique products: That plate of onion rings is $3 on Wednesdays, but even at the usual $8.95 they're a great deal, because they're the best I've ever had. It's essentially their version of a loss leader. Everything on their menu is terrific and if I really don't want Angus beef I can substitute chicken or turkey.
I'm not suggesting photographers need to discount so heavily they lose money, but I do like the idea of having some unique products you can add to your packages. Maybe it's a small album, a canvas print, etc. - something you can offer clients that has great perceived value and they really want.
Great Service: Service is always outstanding, whether we're eating inside or out. They exceed expectations. Everything we order is always served hot with no chance our order has been sitting in the kitchen waiting to be picked up.
What would your clients say about the delivery of your products? Do you keep your promises on delivery dates, costs and follow-up?
A terrific attitude: Then there are little things like the hostess opening the door and catching us before we walk in. How many times have you stood waiting in front of a sign that says, "Please wait to be seated" ? I also love the fact that the wait staff has the ability to make decisions. If you want to substitute something or change the mix of something on your order, they simply do it. They're also consistent from restaurant to restaurant. We've eaten at two different Square 1's and the positive attitude couldn't be more consistent.
When you meet a new potential client, are they picking up on your infectious enthusiasm or do they walk away missing your ability to capture their event in a way that's unique? Think about it, Square 1 is just another burger joint and there are hundreds of them in Sarasota, but they exceed expectations every time and they've definitely become habit-forming. They identified what was missing in other restaurants and then made it their signature.
So there you have it - a business model to create an experience for your clients that exceeds expectations and is habit forming. For Dad and me, it's that now and then treat that makes lunch a little more special and at 92 he can watch his weight tomorrow!
Life is too short to not enjoy a decent burger and rings!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.