According to Wikipedia “The Wow Factor” is the 18th episode of the fourth season of the American sitcom Modern Family, and the series’ 90th episode overall.
Can’t be right?
I googled some more.
According to the Royal College of General Practitioners there are 10 WOW factors.
I won’t list them all except my two favourites, “WOW #3 “Always here to help at every step” and WOW #10 “There is always something that you didn’t expect to learn. That’s a bonus”
We’re getting closer.
In my experience, I’ve felt the WOW factor when someone has gone out of their way to do something special, something totally unexpected.
Imagine having a client who gifts you shares in his business as a thank you for the results he’s getting.
Now that’s a WOW!
If you want to set yourself apart and develop extraordinary relationships, create authentic experiences to astonish and delight your clients.
Here are five uncommon ways to inject the ‘WOW’ factor into your coaching practice.
#1. WOW your client before Session 1
You never get a second opportunity to make a first impression count.
WOW your client before your first session by utilising the time between signed contract and when you start working together.
As well as sending them a brief, personalised message letting them know how much you’re looking forward to working together, go the extra mile.
I remember receiving a box from UPS out of the blue containing a delight of sweet treats, notebook, pen, mug – all thoughtfully curated and sent by my first coach Bridgette.
It left a lasting impression.
- Consider creating a personalised “care box” of your own.
- List 3 to 5 things you think your client would really appreciate and why
- Add something extra you can brand, make by hand or that’s handwritten
An uncommon item I love to include is “How to get the most out of coaching” – A Client’s guide to optimising the coaching experience. Karen Davis & Alex Mill
Why this works: It sets a positive tone right from the get go. Surprising your client with a thoughtful, personalised gift, creates a lasting first impression that distinguishes you from other coaches.
#2. Behind the client mask
Your client is dropping all manner of personal details and leaving all kinds of clues throughout their coaching journey.
Each session they’re sharing intimate information that builds a picture.
Listen to the state of their relationships, what they believe in, where they’re stuck, what they value, what they most/least enjoy, favourite ways to relax and recharge, their tastes, foibles, habits, rituals and more.
Take a moment to pencil those details into a sketch you can colour in every time you hear something new.
- Introduce them to a valuable contact you know who may be able to support them
- Share a specific piece of content that might resonate with something they’re going through
Why this works: By actively listening and providing personalised resources, you’re building trust. You’re also ensuring your coaching is tailored specifically to your clients needs and circumstances.
#3. Change the environment
It’s all too easy to fall into the habit of conducting most sessions in the same way
Same old quiet space at home or in the office.
After a while this can become monotonous, potentially stifling creativity and hindering progress.
Shake things up by changing your environment.
Here are 6 ideas I’ve found work wonders
1. Walk and talk
Suggest a walking call where you both venture outdoors. This may stimulate thought through physical activity, fresh air and different surroundings.
2. Meet in person
Arrange a face-to-face meeting in a vibrant inspiring location. Walk round a museum together. Great art can stimulate great conversations.
3. See a movie
Go and see a great movie together. A shared cinematic experience can breed exceptional conversation and break down barriers in unexpected ways.
4. Exclusive club
Go to a private members club. I love taking clients to my club in London where I’ve welcomed people from as far as Melbourne, Australia.
5. Do the unexpected
Share a completely unexpected experience together.
The famed record producer Rick Rubin once conducted an interview with Tim Ferris in his sauna with ice bath breaks.
The 80 minute discussion was so enlightening I decided to recreate the event with a client on Brighton Beach.
We talked, sweated and froze together at Beach Box Sauna Spa feeling the most invigorated we’d felt in years.
One the most powerful sessions I’ve ever done was the one with the least number of words.
A silent 45 minute meditation (on Zoom) in which after one sentence was uttered, I held space for my client to feel fully supported.
At the end of practice, she got what she wanted, no words were necessary.
- Pick one idea that changes your environment and try it out next session
- Talk to your client about what types of environments inspire them most and then surprise them
Why this works: Our surroundings impact our cognitive and emotional state. Breathing new life into your sessions will prompt clients to think differently, keeping them engaged and intrigued.
#4 Always under promise and over deliver
There’s an art to managing expectations particularly for those suffering from people pleasing tendencies (like myself) and those with demanding clients who push boundaries and buttons.
Never over promise and under deliver.
By consistently delivering more value than your clients expect, you’ll keep them in a perpetual state of delight.
Here are some unexpected ways to add value to your services without selling yourself out.
1. The surprise “bonus” session
I occasionally offer a surprise bonus session with a client to go deeper on an area which is important to them and there’s more to uncover.
It’s a wonderful gift to demonstrate your long term commitment as clients feel valued and encouraged.
2. Personalised follow up
After a session, send a personalised email summarising the key points, next steps and insightful thoughts that came up during the session.
Whilst it takes a little time, this practice is incredibly valuable to reinforce learning and growth.
I don’t rely on memory, I use Otter to record calls and then spend time preparing a summary that has depth, meaning and quality.
3. Write a hand written note
In today’s digital world, receiving a personalised, hand written note or card is so unusual and unexpected it’s truly memorable and appreciated.
- Identify an opportunity which lends itself to adding value
- Send a handwritten note, create a bonus session or follow up with a meaningful summary
- Notice the impact or significance this simple act has on your client relationship
#5. Celebrate the tough times, not just the good times
Building a relationship takes time and commitment.
There’s no short cuts, magic wands or accelerators.
Every interaction, occasion and outcome offers an opportunity to support your client.
If you’re in it for the long haul, there will be ups and downs.
Magic happens when you celebrate challenging times as well as the best of times.
It’s easy to send a card or gift on a birthday or special occasion, what’s more remarkable is acknowledging the tough times and low points with equanimity.
- Send birthday cards and personalised gifts
- Acknowledge the tough times too with a heartfelt message, inspiring card, book, Ted Talk, Podcast or something personal they’ll value
Why this works: Demonstrating steadfast support during both celebratory and challenging times, cultivates a deep bond of trust, enhancing the overall depth of the coaching relationship.
#6 Be honest about the value you can’t add
Saying “yes” to everything is the fastest way to lose client trust.
In the first year of coaching, the word “no” literally vanished from my vocabulary.
In my second year, I had to re-learn how and when to say it.
The best way is to be straightforward about your service, offer, expertise and the real value you bring to the table.
Forget expectations, create agreements.
The more you communicate your boundaries, what you can and can’t do for your clients, the more they’ll respect you and your time together.
- When your client asks for something beyond your capability, instead of making false promises, be honest.
- Discuss why it may not be possible and address alternative solutions.
Why this works: It’s actually refreshing to be direct and transparent. You’re modelling behaviour your client may value, particularly if they’re finding it difficult to create boundaries.
Going beyond the call of duty and creating the WOW factor isn’t complicated.
Going out of your way and doing something thoughtfully unexpected can significantly strengthen your client bond and word of mouth.
Each interaction is an opportunity to astonish and delight.
Whether it’s listening closely to the details, changing up your environment, under promising and over delivering, or being honest about the value you can add.
Even the smallest gesture can leave a lasting impression when done sincerely.
Inject the WOW factor today.
Choose something that resonates and try it out in your next session
- Personalisation amplifies impact
- Go behind the mask
- Creative environments stimulate innovative thinking
- Under promise and over deliver
- Celebrate the tough times, not just the good times