A few years ago, Speak2Leads received a very interesting lead from one of the most well-known beauty schools in California. Needless to say, we were very excited. This was a pivotal moment for us as a business –  not because of the business opportunity, however. In hindsight, we’re much more excited about the learning opportunity.

That new client changed the entire course of our business, and here’s why:

When prospects find Speak2Leads, they are generally looking for a solution that they don’t know exists. They’re seeing out ways to help their sales teams run more efficiently, but they’re not quite sure what products and services are out there to help. This client was in that exact situation.

The problem was, Speak2Leads wasn’t a fit for what the beauty school needed. In fact nothing on the market was.

You see, the school was managing leads through a very manual process. Quite literally, they were running on paper. The school’s web team would receive an online lead, print it out, and then run it across the building to an admissions rep. As you could imagine, that process was less-than-fun. Even though business was booming for this school, they were missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with prospective students.

This bugged me and my team. More than you could possibly imagine. It kept us up at night. We wanted to propose a real solution. So we did.

Our client service team decided to venture somewhere few startups will go. We decided to customize a solution.

We partnered with our client and designed a brand new solution, an e-mail based lead management feature. We committed our entire technology team to the initiative. We came together, across teams to build an amazing new feature. And three months later, we were up and running. Our client was on the platform, and they loved it.

But the story doesn’t stop there.

The end result was that we accidentally scaled our business.

At the time, we didn’t realize it, but that client helped us grow our business too. Today, we have more than 10 customers on that feature that was, once-upon-a-time, completely nonexistent. It’s one of our core value propositions.

And without our prospective customer’s guidance, we never would have thought to design it.

We’ve come to realize an extremely important lesson – to always do business with an open mind and open heart. Your customers are your most valuable stakeholders, so let them design your product. Just understand the problem and the solution will come.