Whether you’re a new Virtual Assistant or an experienced one, there are five fundamental steps needed, to onboard a new client. Each step is essential, if you want to pave the way for a successful and smooth-running relationship.
However, the longer you’ve been in business, the easier it is to fall into the trap of skipping steps and merging them together – and that’s not always a great idea. On the surface, it may save you some time, but in the long run, it can complicate the client onboarding process – leading to missed opportunities and miscommunication.
If you want to ensure you onboard a client correctly, here’s the five fundamental steps you need to take.
The discovery call gives you both a chance to find out more about working together. It’s an opportunity to see if you actually want to work together too – as not every potential client will be the right fit for you.
This call is the right time to find out what goals and visions they’re looking to achieve, what’s currently taking up their time and causing issues, along with what they can achieve, if they work with you. It’s about finding out about them and their business generally – knowing exactly what work you’ll be required to do, comes later.
Follow-up is an essential part of the process
Taking on a Virtual Assistant is a big step for many business owners, so it’s only natural, they’ll want some time to go away and think about it. Therefore, follow-up is crucial. Not only does it allow you to touch base with them again, it also enables you to show you’re interested in working with them.
Following up with your potential client can be via phone or email, but the important thing is to not leave them hanging! If you want to work with them, let them know!
Read more about following up in the VACT blog “The importance of following up” – https://www.vact.co.uk/importance-following/
The initial consultation is for when you’ve taken them on as a new client, but now need to explore and identify how you can support them. It’s about learning about them and their business at a deeper level – so you can help them achieve those goals and visions previously voiced.
This initial consultation can understandably, last up to 2 hours, as you clarify everything from their ideal client and company ethos, right through to how you’re going to communicate with each other and what boundaries you’ll have in place.
Always have a Contract
Before you take on any work, you need to have a contract. This avoids any confusion over your fees or retainers, confidentiality, the terms of payment and an overview of the services you’ll provide.
Once your client has signed the agreement, make sure you send them a welcome letter, setting out your availability, contact information and how you handle reviews and feedback.
Invoice up front
Finally, make sure you always get paid, prior to starting any work. The type of work you do cannot be taken back, if someone doesn’t pay. If you want to respect your time, your skills and your business, you deserve to be paid up front and this is why retainers work so well.
Retainers not only ensure you both know how many hours your client require from you each month, it also helps you better allocate your time throughout that month. You can also keep an eye on their monthly limit and to seek authorisation for further hours, if needed.
Following the 5 fundamental steps above, helps you pave the way for a successful and smooth-running relationship. Not only do these steps help you onboard a client properly, they also protect your time and ensure you both know what is expected from each of you, moving forward.
What are your thoughts around the five fundamental steps to onboard a client? Do you have a clear strategy in place, to ensure you’re always adhering to them, or is it something that you feel isn’t crucial to the success of your business? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so why not leave a comment in the comments section below!