Clients are your bread and butter and what puts food on your table. But have you ever thought about the user experience? I’m sure you’re pleasant and professional with your interactions but what are you doing to make them love you? Do you have any plans for gaining their loyalty so they will come to YOU as their go-to expert? So many people are under the false impression that the term “onboarding” means simply obtaining your client’s personal information and setting up a payment schedule. While those are important steps in the process, there’s actually much more you can do to make the best impression and to be sure their every need is met.
In this episode, I show you How to Create an Instant Connection with New Clients – even before you begin working together.
I am Lisa Wells, your Virtual Assistant Trainer.
New clients. They are your bread and butter and what puts food on your table. But have you ever thought about the user experience? I’m sure you’re pleasant and professional with your interactions but what are you doing to make them love you? Do you have any plans for gaining their loyalty so they will come to YOU as their go-to expert?
So many people are under the false impression that the term “onboarding” means simply obtaining your client’s personal information and setting up a payment schedule. While those are important steps in the process, there’s actually much more you can do to make the best impression and to be sure their every need is met.
Let’s clarify something right away…onboarding is NOT the time to qualify whether a candidate is a good match for your services. Prequalification should take place during the intake phase, when you’re sharing about your skills and expertise in the hopes of wooing that prospect toward client status. Once you’ve gone through the intake and they want to become a client, you enter the onboarding phase. Sometimes this phase is quick, especially if you work with solopreneurs who have a good sense of what they need; but sometimes it can drag on. In either situation, the onboarding process is important.
Here we go with the first step: How to Create an Instant Connection with New Clients – even before you begin working together.
New clients generally need a bit of hand-holding when they first sign on, simply because they want you to prove yourself. They need to see results to justify spending money with you, so they’ll look for reassuring signs that you are indeed the right person for the job.
But they also need to be comfortable with your internal process. Are you available to answer questions? If you are preparing a document or list of resources for them, how will you deliver it? How should they send you tasks to do? Should they call you or email you if they need to cancel a call or have a question? This is just a sampling of some things that plague a new client’s mind, so having a kickoff meeting to explain everything goes a long way to calm those nerves.
A kickoff meeting also helps you develop a better understanding of your client’s work habits and communication. If you both enter this agreement but have differing expectations, you’ll have some rough spots to work through. It’s best to work these things out in advance.
A kickoff meeting doesn’t need to be fancy. You can make it a casual meeting in which you discuss the specifics of your agreement. You can discuss your working hours, how you’ll communicate, and the billing arrangement. And if you work with packages, this kickoff meeting will be especially helpful, because this is where you can discuss what to do if they need help outside that package.
Introduce your new clients to your team, if you have one. Explain their roles and why you’ll need to be in touch with them. Even if you have just one other virtual assistant on your team, make your clients feel as if they are part of the family. If your team will have regular contact with clients, grant them access to your client records or project notes so they can assist in answering questions or taking on tasks or projects without you being the bottleneck.
A nice touch is to send a welcome gift. Here are some examples of how to welcome new clients to your company:
- Send a small welcome gift that relates to their business or one of their hobbies
- Send a Welcome Kit that outlines all your business policies along with copies of the contract and payment options. Go a step further by sending it in a binder via snail mail
- Send a planner with inspirational quotes
- Send something sweet – like cookies and brownies
- A simple bouquet of flowers or balloons with an excited welcome message
Get creative or funny with your welcome gifts. Most of my clients are avid coffee drinkers, so many years ago I teamed up with a coffee company and would send a bag of coffee with my company name and picture on the outside. How fancy was that! Even those with serious, unfunny businesses will appreciate a good sense of humor and creativity.
New clients also desperately want to see your excitement because they are looking for someone who cares just as much about their business goals and growth as they do. Your actions should demonstrate just how pumped you are about working together. Show them that you’ve done your homework and have grand ideas for their business.
Also, talk about why you love your work. Share your business mission. The best relationships blossom when your missions are similar and serve a greater good. Share your story about what inspired you to do what you do. Tell inspiring stories about your clients. What do you love most about your clients?
All of this sharing shines a light on who you are as a person and it validates your client’s choice that you’re the right person to help them. Likewise, you should feel excited that this client is a good match for you. Together you can build a great relationship and see great success.
If you enjoyed this episode and want more onboarding strategies, check out my Client Intake and Onboarding Growth and Profit Plan. These bite-sized trainings are perfect for giving you the “just in time” information you need for an effective client onboarding system.
- How to stop winging it and what to do when clients push boundaries
- A great system for a smooth client intake and setting up the client for success
- Action sheets for new client intakes and new client setup systems
You can find the product below or head over to my VA Business Builder Boutique by clicking on Shop by Type in the menu bar and you’ll see a link for Growth and Profit Plans.
Join me next week as we go over Top Tips for Breezing Through New Client Paperwork (So you can get to the fun stuff faster!)
See you then!
Catch up on other “Simple and Easy Onboarding” episodes:
Did you enjoy this episode and want to put it into action? Check out this Growth & Profit Plan!
Growth & Profit Plan: Client Intake and Onboarding
Delighting your clients from the start means they’ll return and send referrals. Without a great intake system, you’ll end up recreating the wheel over and over again. #wasteoftimeandenergy
With this Client Intake and Onboarding Growth & Profit Plan, I’ll show you how to painlessly weed out those who can’t afford you, won’t do the work, or just aren’t the right match – before they even sign up. No more wasted phone calls – high five!
Here’s what you’ll discover in this lesson:
- How to stop winging it when it comes to setting boundaries and what to do when clients push boundaries
- A great system for a smooth client intake and setting up the client for success from the beginning that you can model
- Action sheets for new client intakes and new client setup systems that you can use as a resource
WHAT YOU GET
The Client Intake & Onboarding Growth & Profit Plan includes:
- Training video
- Downloadable audio
- Slide deck
- Sample workflow of a “New Client Setup” for products and services – your A-Z roadmap showing you “do this first, then do that”
- Sample intake form for a coaching client
- Sample intake form for a project client
PLEASE NOTE: Once you purchase, you will receive an email with your login/password to gain lifetime online access to your Client Intake and Onboarding training.