Easy Onboarding tips that impress your clients…
Really? Onboarding sounds kinda mundane… unimportant… boring. Why would clients even care?
I get it. I used to think that, too. But then I realized how much time and energy – and money – I wasted on onboarding.
I also realized that not having my onboarding stuff together meant that my clients weren’t exactly having an awesome experience.
No one complained. But that certainly didn’t mean they were blown away my onboarding process. And that was a lost opportunity for me to turn clients into fans from day 1.
So onboarding may sound boring.
But there are three big reasons why you need a simple and professional onboarding process.
First, it really sets the stage for your relationship with your clients.
You show yourself to be a professional who has her sh*t together from the very first minute. And your client knows that working with a pro is going to mean great results for her and her business.
So you’ve taken any possibility of buyer’s remorse off the table simply by having a process.
Second, you save time and money.
Every minute you spend reinventing the wheel each time you sign a client is wasted time – which means you start to wave bye-bye to profitability.
Third, an onboarding system makes it easy on you and your clients.
You aren’t frustrated with yourself because you know exactly what you need from your client to get your project going.
Your client sees quickly what she has to do in order to hand everything over to you. So she gets to focus on her zone of genius instead of wondering whether you are good to go.
Onboarding is NOT just sending the contract and an invoice.
The best onboarding systems come from taking a big picture view of the type of projects you work on. If you know what is going to be required at each step, you can properly prepare your client during onboarding.
Plus, onboarding is your client’s real first impression about what it will be like working with you. So making it a positive and professional experience sets a really good tone for this project – and future projects.
What you really want to do with onboarding is set your clients and you up for success with an easy and impressive onboarding experience.
Here are my easy tips for onboarding that will impress your clients…
First, Understand your boundaries and stick to them.
How do you communicate? Where and how do you share information? What are your business hours? What’s your expected response time? How do you handle requests outside of the project scope? How do you handle client delays?
By knowing the answers to these questions, clearly communicating that information to your client, and standing firm on your boundaries, your clients will know exactly what to expect from you. They’ll also respect you as a fellow professional and be less likely to engage in scope creep.
Second, Be consistent with your onboarding – that means a system so you don’t waste time and money.
Systems are the key to running a profitable business that doesn’t suck all your energy away. Onboarding is a great example of a process that can easily be systematized.
Need some help here? I created Onboard Like A Boss™ for exactly this reason: to make onboarding and getting paid easy as 1-2-3. It’s the simple, no-brainer onboarding system with customizable templates you can use over and over again to get you paid fast and get you to work quickly and easily.
Third, Know what you need from the client in order to get started and keep the project moving.
As I mentioned above, a big picture view of your projects helps here. Don’t hesitate to map out your whole process so you know what you need and when.
Though your client might think she knows what you need from her, YOU are the expert. And you will be the one who is held accountable to the deadlines.
So be clear with your client about project requirements during the onboarding process to keep things on track.
Fourth, Use your calendar or project management system so you don’t miss deadlines.
This one might seem obvious. But it’s easy to jump right in get started with a project and forget to look ahead on your calendar and add in important project information.
Make sure you include project milestones, reminders to check in with your client when deadlines are approaching, dates for invoicing, and other project specific information on your calendar or in your project management system. Then check it at least once a day.
Fifth, Check and double check before you send your welcome package to your client.
You want to be sure that your welcome package includes all the things your client needs to sign, approve, or pay as well as information about how you work and project requirements.
If you have an onboarding system in place, it takes away the guesswork when it comes to pulling together that welcome package. All you’ll need to do is double-check client specific information and hit send.
Sixth, Don’t hammer your client with multiple communications.
Your client hired you to make her life easier. Sending her email after email as you get the project started is going to frustrate her and possibly make her question the decision to hire you.
When you have a well-planned onboarding process, your communication will be clear and concise without any of those “oh shoot! I forgot to ask for…” moments.
Seventh, Send a handwritten thank you note and a welcome gift.
It’s a rare thing these days to get something in the mail that pleasantly surprises you. So why not make your client’s day with a pretty handwritten thank you note and a welcome gift?
The gift doesn’t need to be big or fancy or expensive. The thought counts a lot here. And I’ve seen over and over again that the simple things really can delight your clients.
And speaking of surprise and delight, check out this post for tips on creating consistent content your clients will love.