Last week, I was discussing with an advisor his strategy for utilizing his client advisory board to generate referrals.
“We have to make sure we deliver such a fantastic experience that the clients will tell everyone about us,” he said.
I've heard this many times from advisors. As a business development strategy, however, it has serious shortcomings.
First, there is no generally agreed upon definition of “wow.” Too often, advisors interpretation of a “wow" off base.
To wow a client, you must exceed  the client’s expectations -- not your expectations of what the client wants.
And all clients are not wowed by the same thing.
Moreover, how will your staff know what a “wow” is? And how can they deliver service that wows if they cannot translate it into behavior?
Not too long ago, I became a new customer at a local bank and neglected to sign a form needed to open my account. The manager, in her pursuit of delivering the “wow” experience, drove to my office to deliver it to me for my signature. My reaction was, “Why is there a bank manager in my lobby? The mail would have been just fine. I don’t need to be interrupted right now.” My assistant went out to see her.
She dedicated a meaningful portion of her day to drive to my office, as testament to the bank's dedication of delivering an outstanding customer experience. However, if it had any effect on my attitude toward the institution, it was mildly negative. She was focused on her own assumptions about what a great client experience and did not consider my expectations.
The bigger issue of “wow,” however, is that too many advisors say it and do not deliver it. 
Sure, I bet YOU do. But how will prospects know it? If a prospect interviews five advisors, and they all say they deliver an amazing client experience, how will that help the prospect to choose you?
If you dedicate yourself to consistently deliver “wow,” you must operationalize it?
You must have procedures around it and its efficacy must be measurable.
It's better to define exactly what your service comprises and explain those deliverables to clients rather than telling them you will wow them. 
Better yet, ask clients if the processes and deliverables you've created to wow clients are, in  fact, wowking them. Is it how they would most like things to be handled?
If you commit to delivering a “wow” experience, you will thrill some clients and it will generate referrals. People are attracted (and make referrals) to firms and people that provide the solutions and experiences that particular clients seek.
Define those solutions and experiences. Test them with clients. Once you have determined what the target clients’ expectations are, build processes to meet them consistently and exceed them periodically.
Then you will have a performance goal all your employees and clients will appreciate, and that clients can explain to others. That's how to really wow your clients.


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