Not many people think about creating an onboarding process. Freelancers often think onboarding is only for big companies or corporations.
Or they may think they don’t need a process since they’re only completing one project.
Even some coaches and other solopreneurs don’t consider themselves “real businesses” so they don’t understand that an onboarding process will help streamline client information, but it also protects them because they’ll have contracts in place.
The truth is: Every business can benefit from having an onboarding process.
The reason is because onboarding isn’t just about getting started with a new client; it’s about the entire customer experience, from start to finish.
The more positive an experience your client has, the more likely they will make another purchase. At the very least, they’ll be so happy that they’ll spread the word about your business.
We’re going to break down the onboarding process into seven easy steps.
Once you do the work initially, all you need to do is call up the workflow when a new client signs on and you’ll know exactly what has to happen next and who has what papers.
Add in some templates that your VA can easily customize, and you’ll cut down the amount of time and frustration of onboarding.
New clients. They are your bread and butter. Their purchases are what put 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 pre-sale phase, when you’re sharing about your skills and expertise in the hopes of wooing that prospect toward client status.
Here are some prequalifying questions to use during your consultation call and to analyze afterward:
- Does the prospect’s business, goals, and personality mesh with your mission?
- Does their budget meet your costs or are they just looking for free stuff?
- Does this prospect seem motivated to do the work?
- Ask if they’re talking to other coaches.
- Ask if they have a start date in mind.
- Ask about their general needs.
Once you’ve gone through the prequalification phase and they want to become a client, you enter the onboarding phase.
The onboarding process is important. And one quick note: If the onboarding process drags on too long and your client is difficult to reach, it may be worth reconsidering if this client is a good match for you.
If they are too busy to give you the information you require, will they be too busy to do the action tasks or stay committed to your coaching calls?
Even though a client has agreed to your services, consider this a courtship period. Instead of rushing ahead with planning strategies, take some time to carefully listen to their needs and get to know them better.
Ask them open-ended questions to elicit more information. At the end of each conversation, ask them if they have any questions or if there’s anything more you can do for them. Remember, you’re nurturing a relationship with this new client so they want to feel like a part of the process instead of you dictating what they should or should not do.
Also pay attention to how you come across in these conversations.
Never assume you know what the client wants, especially at this early stage. Practice active listening, which involves you tuning out all distractions, listening to what they say, and then repeating back to them the main points to be sure you hear and understand them correctly.
This tactic also helps improve your memory so you can avoid the embarrassment of not remembering what was discussed.
To make your life easier, we’ve broken down the onboarding process into seven steps that you can customize to your clients’ needs.