Have Processes in Place
Gaining a new client can be both an exciting experience and a terrifying one. This is especially true if you don’t have a system in place to sign on new clients. You’ll want to set up an onboarding process that helps you select clients who are ideal for you, and when you know who you want to work with, what you want to do, and how you’re going to do it, your business will run a whole lot more smoothly. Plus, that’s one less thing to stress about. And let’s face it; stresses abound when you’re starting a new business!
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Here are five easy ways to create your own onboarding process:
Set Up A Discovery Call System
Using software like Acuityscheduling or Calendly, you can add a form to your website so people can sign up for a call with you. You can even take payment through the system. But the best part is you can set up a form for them to fill out so that they answer qualifying questions before the call. Both AcuityScheduling and Calendly are free. For more features, you can upgrade to a premium plan (around $8-$15 per month).
Make the Call
Once the discovery call is set up, research the potential client before calling. Check out their website and social media if available. Google them. You’ll want to be able to have a conversation that shows you have some knowledge of what they do.
The call itself can be done on the telephone or via an app like Skype.
It’s a good idea to write down questions you want to ask so you don’t miss anything. Be sure to focus your call on what the client wants and how you can help them, and a possible start date.
If you’re nervous about the Skype call, try practicing in front of a mirror or with a friend. Check your body language and facial expressions as you practice, and be sure to have your questions with you before you begin.
In short, be as ready as you can but don’t drive yourself crazy! Remember, you’re a business owner, and the call is also a way for you to decide if you want to work with the client or not.
Send a Proposal
Once you finish the discovery call, within 48 business hours, send a proposal to them based on what you’ve discussed. Include your price, and how to get started with you. You’ll also want to include a firm date to receive their decision because you don’t want to keep the offer open forever. Here’s a sample Proposal Template.
Need some inspiration for writing emails to potential clients? Grab my Email Templates for Service Providers here.
Set Up Their Account
Once they’ve met the terms of the proposal, such as paying a deposit, signing a contract and agreeing to your terms, it’s time to set up their account. You should do this within 24 business hours of receiving the signed agreement (if you use one). You can set them up on Basecamp, Trello, or another project management system of your choice. I use Google Drive and Dropbox.
Email Follow Up
Send an email to your client to get their account login information. I use a Client Information Sheet; the client must complete it and send it back with the required information. You can then add that information to the account you’ve set up for them.
You’ll also want to know how to assign work (such as if you’re a project management VA) and how best to work with your client.
Some VAs include all this information in a welcome packet, but you’ll still want to email your client anything that may need clarifying. You can even send them a welcome video if you’re up to it!
Once you’ve onboarded your client, get to work! You don’t want to wait for weeks to get the work in and completed.
Your contract or agreement should be set up so that you’re both clear about what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. If your client agreed to a package, you should be able to get started on it without much instruction.
The onboarding process is just the start of what is hopefully a rewarding, long-term experience for you and your client. Get it done and continue on your VA journey. All the best!
If you’d like help gaining quality client leads, check out VANetworking’s VAInsiders membership. Enrollment includes a valuable job board and MANY resources!