Stop inviting vegetarians to steak dinners!
Advisors often ask me for ideas on how to really “WOW” their top clients. What they are really asking is, “What is that magical, one-size-fits-all solution that will impress A-caliber clients sufficiently to compel them to become my advocate?”
The good news is: there is a magical solution to help create unique client experiences. The bad news is: it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.
If you really want to wow top clients, you need to start with the client – not with the event or activity that seems like a great idea. Because realistically, there is no one event or outreach tactic that can work for all of your clients. The point of the wow experience is to show the client that they matter to you, that you listen to them and think about them even when they’re not in your office or on the phone with you. In that sense, the wow experience is an opportunity for you to deepen the relationship and provide value. Done right, you may even meet some new prospects along the way.
The risk of starting with the experience
Let’s pretend an advisor has decided to organize a wine-tasting experience for his top 10 clients in a fabulous location. It promises to be a memorable event – a relaxed atmosphere, good wine and a great view. But the advisor has been so focused on the experience that he hasn’t given much consideration to the interests of those 10 clients. For all he knows, some of those clients may not enjoy drinking wine. After all, Gallup’s Annual Consumption Habits poll recently found that only 35% of Americans are wine lovers.1 There’s a risk that 6-7 of the advisor’s guests may fall into the 65% of Americans who are not wine lovers.
What potential message does that send to the advisor’s clients? That their needs and wants are not important. Resulting problems may be low attendance at the event, lack of a true “wow” experience and a missed opportunity to deepen the relationship with a top client.
So what might a “wow” alternative look like?
How to put the client first
Consider a hypothetical meeting with one of your top clients. The client comes in and you begin with some small talk. During your conversation, you learn that the client recently discovered they have high cholesterol and must change their diet. That seemingly small piece of information can actually be turned into a “wow” experience. For instance, you could arrange a cooking class about low cholesterol meals. Invite the client to bring some friends and enjoy a fun evening out with one of your top clients.
This event is different: it’s unique and it’s created just for that client. The result in shifting the focus to the client is a true expression of putting the client first. And you’re unlikely to have any no-shows – clients will attend an event that’s organized just for them. Afterwards, the client will likely talk about the experience with friends, creating advocacy in your absence.
Showing you’re listening and you care
“Wow” experiences don’t have to be expensive or time-consuming − in fact, at times they can be very simple and low cost. For instance, if your client shares how proud she is that her granddaughter just got into Duke University, you could create a “wow” experience by sending the client a Duke t-shirt. What counts is that you are listening to your clients, recording information and acting on it in a way that shows you genuinely care.