How to Use the Power of Surprise to Wow Your Clients

5 Unexpected Ways to ‘Outexperience’ Your Competition with a Well-Timed, Personal Gift

This is a guest post by my friend, Brad Johnson, a member of my Inner Circle Mastermind Group. Brad is vice president of marketing for Advisors Excel, works by referral only, and mentors a small group of the country’s most elite financial advisors. His thoughts on growing a successful financial advisory business have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Investment News, and Financial Planning, among other industry publications. You can find him online at BradJ.net, as well as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

If people know you’re thinking about their lives, they’re more likely to want to do business. Here’s a quick story of how I personally created a wow experience that might set the stage for how to pull this off in your practice.

Recently, I took a trip to Nashville, Tennessee, to meet with Michael’s Inner Circle Mastermind Group. A few hours into the meeting, some comments were made by the group about my socks and those of another member, and how cool they were.

Sock It to ’em

For any of you who missed this recent men’s fashion trend, here’s a little more info. But, long story short, the new trend in men’s fashion is wild and crazy socks.

After an all-day meeting (and some serious sock envy), another one of the mastermind members and I were riding back to the airport when we started talking socks. Everybody in our mastermind loved the idea of replacing their old boring socks with a brand new wardrobe of fun and edgy business socks, though some weren’t sure they could pull it off (it being a pretty big fashion leap forward for them).

My friend Wes and I asked ourselves, “Why don’t we just order them for everyone?” So we did.

A few days later, our inboxes started getting flooded with emails! The sock recipients were sending us:

  • Pictures of their new socks!
  • Comments from random strangers about their socks!
  • Stories of their children’s and wives’ comments about their new sock wardrobe!
  • One member even updated his entire suit wardrobe to match his brand-new socks!

Who knew the fun experience sending a few socks out in the mail and assisting a few guys on their new adventure into men’s high fashion could create?

The Power of Surprise

To me, there is nothing more gratifying than witnessing the power of a surprise and seeing how excited people get when you send them something you know they’ll appreciate and is completely unexpected.

The best part is you can use this thought process with anybody—prospects, clients, business allies, or anybody else you’d like to make a big impression on. And when done properly, the people you touch will become some of your biggest, wildest and most raving fans (compliance disclosure—make sure you stay within all securities and insurance gifting guidelines).

Now I’m not talking about just sending an ordinary letter or card, even though those things can create a positive impact as well. Rather, I’m talking about sending something personalized and relevant to the recipient’s life (but most importantly, unexpected).

5 Winning Surprise Ideas

So as a financial adviser, how can you incorporate the power of a well-timed surprise into your business model? Here are five different ideas you can send by mail to your clients and prospects:

  • Surprise Idea No. 1. Next time a client isn’t feeling well, what if you sent him/her a “get well” package to let him or her know you’re thinking about them? One of our favorites is a medicine cabinet from GiftTree.com.

  • Surprise Idea No 2. If one of your clients loses a friend, relative or spouse, what if you sent wind chimes in remembrance of that person with an “in memory” transcription and a personal card? Here’s how.

  • Surprise Idea No. 3. One of your clients is talking about a book they’ve been wanting to read. What if that book showed up two days later with a note from you saying you hope they enjoy the book? Amazon.com makes this easy.

  • Surprise Idea No. 4. You go out to dinner with a husband and wife and they mention how much they love the bottle of wine that you’ve sampled that night. Three days later that bottle of wine shows up in the mail or is dropped off by one of your office staff with a note from you saying you hope they are able to enjoy one of your favorite wines at home.

  • Surprise Idea No. 5. Okay, so I can’t leave this one out. A client mentions he loves the dress socks you’re wearing. What if you mailed them some of your crazy socks and they showed up in his mailbox a few days later? Think he’d be excited about that? NiceLaundry.com is the service I’ve used.

As you can see, it doesn’t take much to surprise your clients and show them that you care. Of course, if you want to make the biggest impact, speed and personalization are key.

So stay in tune with your prospects and clients. Really listen to what’s going on in their lives. When you recognize an opportunity to wow somebody, make a note in your phone. When you’re back at the office, take advantage of that opportunity immediately. You’ll build stronger relationships if your clients know you’re thinking about them and their best interests.

I promise you, this simple practice will create positive experiences and turn your prospects and clients into raving fans. You may not be able to “outspend” the big financial services competitors in your market, but you can “outexperience” them!

Question: What’s one way you could surprise an important client or prospect today?

We discussed this post live on Periscope. Missed it? No problem. You can watch the replay here where I take questions about the post from my readers. I also gave away six sets of crazy socks!
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