Surprise and delight — Take extraordinary care of your clients

By Sandy Schussel

Sandy Schussel, LLC


Magic happens in your career when you stop trying to call and drop in on anyone who might be breathing and have a few dollars and instead, start to take extraordinary care of your existing clients.

I’ve been working with Bryant, a financial advisor in New York, who has been “just getting by” for nearly five years. Our work started when he asked me for better cold call scripts, and I suggested that there was a better way to get clients. We talked about how he could redirect the time he had been spending on cold-calling to serving his existing clients better, surprising and delighting them, and earning referrals from them.

As part of our coaching, Bryant submits a weekly report to me. Here’s what he wrote to me last week:
    Hey Sandy, quick update. I surprised and delighted two of my best clients. I got the first one a slow cooker that matches her new appliances. Her neighbor happened to have been there when I brought it in, and I got an appointment with her! I’m waiting for the gift I thought of for the other one to be delivered to me so I can bring it to her. She likes gummy bears, so I bought her a five-pound gummy bear. Also, she invited me to come to a baby shower she is hosting, so I bought the baby some gifts. I'll keep you up to date on that. Thanks for the motivation.
“Surprising and delighting” isn’t about the cloying act of trying to please people so that they give you their money. It’s about letting good clients know that you value them and listen to them. Bryant bought a kitchen gift that matched the new appliances his valued client was proud of. The giant gummy bear showed his second client that he listened to her and learned about her likes and dislikes.

Too often, I talk with professionals who, even after years of working with their best clients, don’t know very much about them.

Surprising and delighting isn’t about spending huge amounts of money — or even buying presents, for that matter. Dropping by the hospital (empty-handed) when his client was recovering from surgery cost one advisor I work with nothing, but had his client telling all of his friends about the visit.

So, unless you know your client loves gummy bears, don’t send her a five-pound gummy bear. But what would surprise and delight her? If you don’t know, it’s time to learn more about her. If you do know, this is the perfect time to show her you value her as a client.