Bringing the WOW

I taught a class last week where we discussed the “Bringing the WOW,” that element of service that just completley overwhelms a client.  Bringing the WOW is performing a service for a client that surprises and delights them.  It can be a simple gesture, like a birthday card, or something more extensive, like catching a mistake in a contract that saves them thousands of dollars.

Unfortunately, our discussion of Bringing the WOW went a little askew, which was my fault.  I started the discussion by talking about WOW in the context of a really thoughtful (and cheap!) closing gift for a client — a set of 9-volt batteries.  To me, the WOW in that is the explanation — “I just thought that maybe your sellers might have skimped on the maintenance of their home while they were getting ready to sell, and I want you and your family to be safe.”  The idea is to send a simple message to the client — “I care about you” — while surprising them with something that might not have occurred to them — that they need to perform some routine maintenance that the sellers might have neglected.

Unfortunately, though, I locked the discussion into a framework of closing gifts and other gifts.  One agent had her husband make her client some adirondack chairs, so they’d have something to sit on when they moved in.  Another had food delivered to the move.  Another cut the grass for two weeks.  All very nice things, and certainly in the spirit of WOW.

But let’s not forget the core idea of WOW — it’s creating a great impression for service.  That is, I think it’s great to bring something thoughtful to the closing table, but the real issue is whether you’re providing a good service to the client.  In other words, an agent who botches a sale, or mis-prices a home, or misses that the upstairs bedroom is illegal and costs her client two months of extra payments while the closing is delayed, is NOT going to be delivering WOW by bringing pizza to the closing.

I’m not demeaning the value of the thoughtful gesture (like pizza at the move-in day), and the agents who made suggestions were terrific. I’m also not suggesting they were, say, cutting the lawn INSTEAD of verifying the taxes on their listings.  But I want to make sure that we don’t misunderstand what delivering the WOW means.

The first order of business is doing a fantastic job on the service elements of the transaction, delivering WOW through the fundamental job that the client hired you to do.  THEN you can add those little touches like 9-volt batteries and pizza and chairs and toilet paper and lawn cutting.

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  1. I recently closed both sides of one of my listings. It was a nightmare from day one, mortgage issues, communication issues, broken pipe issues, threats from attorneys, deadlines, ultimatums….. but I plugged along giving both clients the best representation that I could. It took about 6 months from contract to the closing table. About two weeks after the closing, I received a very nice thank you card from the seller. A couple of weeks after that came the WOW for me. I received a card in the mail from Marsha Rand, CEO of Rand Realty. Marsha enclosed a card that my sellers had written to her. My sellers told Marsha how happy they were with me and the great job that I had done. I have always heard that the best compliment is receiving a referral from a past client but your client telling the CEO of the company what a great job that you did for them has to be a close second.