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Buy her a giant gummy bear

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Magic happens in your career when you stop trying to call or drop in on anyone who’s breathing and might have a few dollars to spend and instead begin taking extraordinarily good care of your existing clients.

Bryant is a financial advisor in New York with whom I’ve been working. He was “just getting by” for nearly five years. When we started working together, he asked me for some better cold-calling scripts. But I suggested that there was a better way for him to get clients.

We talked about how he could better use the time he had been spending on cold calling. I suggested he begin:

  • Serving his existing clients better
  • Surprising and delighting them
  • Earning referrals from them

As part of his coaching, Bryant submits a weekly report to me. Here’s what he wrote 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!! Haha! Also, she invited me to come to this 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 cynical act of trying to please people so that they will give you their money. It’s about letting good clients know that you value them and listen when they speak. Bryant brought a kitchen gift to a good client, which matched the new appliances she had been proud to show him. The giant gummy bear showed the second client that he listened to her and remembered her likes and dislikes.

Surprising and delighting doesn’t necessarily mean spending huge amounts of money—or even buying presents, for that matter. Dropping by the hospital (empty-handed) as his client was recovering from surgery cost one advisor I worked with nothing. The caring gesture, however, resulted in the client telling all of his friends about the visit.

So, unless you know your client loves gummy bears, don’t send her a five-pounder. But what would surprise and delight her? If you don’t know, it’s time to learn. And if you do know, this is the perfect season to show her how much you value her.

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Sandy Schussel is a speaker, business trainer and coach who helps sales teams develop systems to win clients. He is the author of “The High Diving Board” and “Become a Client Magnet.” For more information, go to


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