Episode #73 - BEST OF GYAT! Ep 18: My Client Onboarding Process
This week we’re replaying one of the most downloaded episodes from our archives… Episode 18: My Client Onboarding Process.
This was recorded in late summer of 2020 but I still use this process today. The beginning of anything is an important time to get things right. So in the spirit of starting 2022 off on the right foot this episode lays out how I start off work with a new client.
Stay tuned to the end for news about some of the exciting things I’ve built for 2022 including details on a group coaching program I’ve built especially for people like you.
To create a process that ensures a smooth transition from prospect to client is no easy feat. In today’s episode of the podcast, I share my very own client onboarding process. I discuss the basics of what a client onboarding process is, as well as the tools I use to make it happen so that my clients get to experience a seamless onboarding experience.
- The basics of my client onboarding process
- Key tools/software to make the process easier
- How a great onboarding experience sets the tone for a great client experience overall
Featured on this show:
Lastpass - how we safely share passwords
Acuity - how I schedule calls without the back and forth, right from my website
HelloSign - legally binding electronic signatures
Quickbooks - my bookkeeping software that I use to send invoices and get paid
Teamwork - project mgmt software to keep everything organized
Hey everyone, this is Kelly. We have a lot going on right now at Reynolds OBM. I'm putting together my group coaching program, get your agency together, which is a program for online business. People who really want to run their teams better run their businesses better, and have better lives because of it. Get your agency together begins in January 2022. So between that and all the normal end-of-the-year rush.
Today, I would love to share with you the best stuff from the Podcast, episode 18, my client onboarding. I hope you enjoy getting clients, right, so exciting. You got the clients who've made the sale, you're doing all the stuff, right? You've, you've had the social media, you've had the blog, whatever it is, you now have clients coming to you. And now that's scary because you don't know what to do with them. Or maybe you have clients coming to you. You have brought them in and watched them for a while. But it seems like a messy process, right? Everything's always back and forth, and you don't know what's going on. And it just seems a little messy. So I thought today I would share with you the basics of my client onboarding process. There are books written about every step of this and you can get as detailed and granular as possible. I wanted to give you a brief overview of the different things that I do to make sure that we're set up, I'm ready to go as soon as a client is coming in. So the first thing is, most of the time, you're going to have some heard discovery call or some kind of meeting where you're gonna check and see if there's suitability. On my website, you can go and book a 15-minute call. You tell me what you need, I tell you how we work that kind of thing. And we see if we are a match. I have had calls lately that within the first four minutes, I realized this is not going to work. We're very different people, we want different things. Or that person that is coming to me doesn't even know what they want, or they don't need me, they need a virtual assistant maybe or something like that, you can weed out a lot of that kind of thing in that 15 minutes, it seems like nothing. But if you're very efficient, you can find a lot out. And it will save you a lot of aggravation, working with people that you are obviously not a good fit for. So after that call, I usually send some kind of proposal, not a formal proposal, but an email kind of recapping what it is that we were talking about, what my services are, what my fees are that kind of thing. What I recommend them doing if it's a retainer package, or they want to do just a systems package, like it's a package of things that are going to take care of or if it's ongoing work, maybe it's a strategic mapping session. So all of those things, I'm going to put that just as a brief email, this is what we have talked about, this is the pricing, you think about it. And then they will come back to me and say, Well, of course, you're awesome, Kelly, I would love to hire you. And then the next steps would be setting up a contract and invoice. So you're gonna want to send the contract out to the clients, just as a basic agreement, right? What do we expect? How do we work, are things refundable? When is the date of delivery, different things, all of our businesses are different? So that's going to be different from mine. Probably right. So you're going to send the contract that I use Hello sign, it's free for the first three things you sign out, it is legally binding to send us an electronic copy. So you upload it or you can do this straight from Google Drive, which is the best thing ever. If you have a drive copy of your contract can kind of update whatever you need to do. There's a Google add-on for Hello sign and Docusign. When you're in the file, you are going to just drag and drop the little boxes where you want them to sign and the date and any other information you need, like my has, it requires them to put an address in late for legal if I ever had to do anything legally, like serve the papers, I guess I don't know exactly, but that's what it says. So I do it, then you send that over, they can sign it electronically, and then download that when you get it back. And then an invoice. You're gonna want them to pay you. I have everything prepaid. All of my services are prepaid at least if it's a monthly service, they get paid on the first of the month. If it is a package service, sometimes it's monthly if it's over a couple of months, or if it's a package, maybe it's 50%. And then 50% delivery, something like that, but there's always a prepayment of some kind. I will send the invoice out, I worked through QuickBooks, I'll put all this stuff in the show notes because it'll be easier for you. I work through QuickBooks, I send the invoice and I send it out directly from there. There's a Pay button on there, people can pay by credit card or ACH. So I'm sending them something from Hello sign and something from QuickBooks. They can then sign the contract and pay everything right from their computer or frankly from their phone if they really wanted to. I also send them a W nine, my W nine. So this is one of the basics of working with subcontractors either if you are the subcontractor or the like independent contractors I'm sorry if You are the independent contractor or they are the independent contractor if it was a team member being onboarded a W-9 is basically just a way for you to send them an official document an official form with the information they need to, to claim you as an expense on their taxes. So it's the name of the business or person's address, social security number or tax ID, and what kind of business you are, are you an LLC, a sole proprietor partnership, that kind of thing. And they're going to take that at the end of the year. And create 1099, which is, if you were in corporate, you had a W two that you would do your taxes from and had all your wages on it. But when you are not on the payroll, you don't have that what you get as 1099, which says an amount and official amount of how much you've been paid over time, as a business, you need to create that 1099 At the end of the year for taxes in order to apply that as an expense on your business. So that's a long-winded explanation of what a W-9 is. W-9 is also only for us people, if you are outside the US, that would be a W-8 BEN-E, which says that they are not subject to US taxes. These are just ways of the government kind of saying, okay, who's doing what kind of business do you have, what kind of taxes you being. So now we've sent the contract, and they've signed it, I've sent the invoice they've paid it, and they have my W nine for their own taxes later on. My first step on any kind of retainer is ongoing active operations. OBM work then is a strategic mapping session. If this is just a package that I'm going to do for systems or something like that, I won't do it. You can also have a strategic mapping session all on its own. What that is, is a session, it's two calls, and it creates a plan of where we're going and what we're doing. We work on mission vision values, we break down the strategic objectives, and what's most important to you in your business for the next quarter, and then rank those kinds of things, pull projects out, and then decide exactly what we're going to work on for the next quarter. extremely helpful in knowing where you're going. So all of my clients that I'm starting to work with, I always do a strategic mapping first. That way I know the lay of the land, I know what's going on, I have a much better view of the business. So when I start working with them every day, I know where all the stuff is, I know what's going on to know what's most important. Is it financials or is it team building? Is it product development, like all of those things? What is the most important, that's what we're talking about after that if they have elected to not just us shooting, and mapping, but continue with everyday, ongoing services, I'm going to send them a welcome email, which will have lots of little information in it. So in the beginning, when I sent out the proposal, I also sent out a work-with-us sheet. I've talked about this before a little bit, but I will send it again in the welcome email because you know, most people only have to always over-communicate. That's my advice to you. That's when we're talking about the work-with-us document. Okay, so that basically means it's like a welcome kit I call the lockup. It tells you what our hours are, what kind of communication we'd like to do. When should you expect a response to that email? Do you expect it in the next 10 minutes? Or do I have 24 hours to respond to you? What kind of holiday schedule when? How does vacation get handled? How much notice am I going to give you if I'm going to go on vacation, things like that? How do we bill? How do we pay? Is there a rush fee? Is there a late fee? What is the timing of things? What are deadlines? What status reports are we going to hand out that kind of thing? Also, I like to include things like security, and what kind of security I use, I use a VPN. I use LastPass for all of our passwords. I have Webroot for antivirus and little things like that. Just add them in and tell people where you are and how you work. It's really important what kind of tools we use, I use teamwork. I'm a huge, huge fan of teamwork, PM, project management, and what we use for signing contracts like hello sign or things like that. I have a section in there as well on ethics, and how I run my business, and I want them to know right away how I work. And then also what happens when this thing is over. Right? I want everyone to be happy while they're here and happy after they leave. How do we break up amicably? Not bad, but like, you know, sometimes things just run their course and they're gonna go on to do something else. How is that going to be handled? So they can say, Okay, we have five days to download this, or we have this much time to do that, or whatever the thing is. So having all of that kind of set out. People, even if they've read it in the beginning, and they kind of forget half of it. They understand that there are rules and what's gonna happen, and they can always refer back to it, but they also just know, like, a lot of this is just letting them know I'm on top of it. Like that's my gig, right? I'm on top of it. So I show them when they come to me that I have a lovely sheet with, it's all nicely formatted, everything's set up, and they're all ready and I have a system. That's what they want to see. Especially when you know, to be clear, I'm not cheap. I've been doing this a long time. So when you come to me, and I look like I scratched some stuff in the back of a napkin, like, I don't look legit. So I try my best to look legit. So I have a welcome kit, I have contracts, everything's branded, my invoices, all of that. So all goes out, everything's as easy as possible. So then in that welcome email, I'm gonna say hi, welcome. So happy, you're here, here's my work with me, welcome kit documents. And then any other thing like I share what my last pass email is. So if they want to start sending me passwords through there, it's an encrypted service where you can share your passwords safely, I let them know that I let them know what the next steps are, and then set up a kickoff call. So you can either do that through a scheduling link, like, here's my acuity scheduling, to set this call-up. Do you want to get a kickoff call? I know you've already done the strategic mapping. But now we're like, okay, nitty gritty. What do we have to set up who do I have to talk to that kind of thing, the strategic mapping is like a plan for the business? And then the kickoff call is more of an alright, Tuesday, we're gonna do this Thursday, I'm gonna talk to that team member, what is the details of everything, when are we going to have regular calls, am I gonna have team calls Am I gonna have client calls, all of that kind of stuff. All of that gets done in the kickoff, call all those details so that I can then go and set up everything on my side. Things I set up, I keep my stuff and drive. Because it's easier with my email, I have G Suite for my company email, there is a client folder that is set up in Drive. So it has there in all their contracts and any legal documents that we have in there. Any kind of invoices that need to be in there any kind of thing like that there are files shared with my team, so they have access to everything in there will be a client brief. It's just a basic sheet. But it has things like name, address, phone number, team member names, how they like to get their invoices sent, how they like to pay, and things like that. So that if my team needs to know anything, or if I forget, because seriously, sometimes these things are like you only need these things once a year, it's good to write them down. So that will be in their whole client brief of all the information I need. If I ever have to go back and find out an email address or something like that, it's in there, then I kind of have Work Folders for them that I can start putting documents in that I'm working on. Because a lot of times when I get to a client, they're not really organized. So I start organizing in my files, just saying like different documents, different things, we're working on trying to get things organized. And then when I get over and I start to really get into their files, then I can get them organized and just move everything over. That way. From day one, I know where things are. And then the rest of those setting up things. So when I'm going to file the contracts, I'm going to create the client brief. And then I'm going to set them up in my project management software. I have a template that pops in. And it's a task list of all the things I've got to do here, I can start putting things in there one of the calls scheduled put those on my calendar, things like that, getting all the stuff in getting the last pass info, like if they're going to set up an email for me with their company, or if they are going to give me passwords to all the things I need to do. I need to get into their whatever, they can get that all over to me and LastPass and then add them to slack. Either I get added to theirs or they get added to mine. That way we can chat makes it so much easier to just be able to like chat back and forth on Slack. It's enormously huge for me. My whole team talks there and I talk with my clients there makes it so much easier at the clients' birthday to your calendar, little things like that matter. Everyone loves when their birthday is remembered. So any other systems get set up that way. And that's the basics. That's the basics of setting it up. So as an overview, we've got the client on a discovery call and we figured out if they're possibly right for us. We sent a proposal and a welcome kit to the work-with-me kind of sheet. So they know what's going on, how much it costs, and what's expected. Contracts are really important. Everyone should know what's going on. Everyone should know what the deal is, and how this is going to work. send an invoice because you know, it's nice to get paid for your work and your W nine so they're ready next year, January 28. When everyone is scrambling to do their tax stuff, they'll already have your stuff. So then we're gonna have a welcome email, sharing a LastPass email, or any other work with the documents, anything that they need to know to get started. And then I do strategic mapping, obviously. But whatever that kind of thing is for you, whatever that plan is where you're sitting down with the client, figuring out what your plan of attack is, what is the plan here? What are we going to do that kind of thing? Then the welcome email, then planning the kickoff call, what are we working on? First? What are the expectations? Are there metrics that we're going to try to meet? And then the setting up internally, the files that you want to create, so you know where the contract is, you know, if there's ever a dispute, it's nice to know where anything is, being organized is pretty awesome. Keeping a client brief. So you have all the information you might need, or your team might need on hand pretty easily, setting them up in any of your systems, getting their information, that thing you need to get started and get working on, you know, remembering the birthday once in a while. This is a really, really basic run-through, we could dive into any one of these bullet points. For an hour each, I'm sure, I'm just trying to give you an overview, these episodes are not four hours long, we bring clients in so that they have all the information they need, and we have the information we need. And we can just get started. Because going back and forth, it's just draining, you look online, and you see something and you're like, Oh my God, that's the greatest and you're so excited about it. For a lot of people, when they buy your services, it's a big deal for them to spend that kind of money to invest in their business in this way. They're so excited about it, and they're really going to do something with their business and they're ready to go. And then they don't hear from you. Or you get kind of half-assed paperwork or not everything's there, or you have to go back and forth. And it kind of seems like you don't know what you're doing. If you don't like it if you buy something, you don't get a receipt you're like that goes through. And then you get nervous. And all of a sudden, there's a little buyer's remorse of, oh my god, I just invested all this money. And now I'm scared that I'm not going to get my money's worth. It's a terrible way to start off. But people are excited. And then you give them a really great experience that excitement carries through, and then they just love you. And it's a lot easier to deal with when everything kind of goes to hell. And you seem like you don't know what's going on, or you're not answering back or they have to chase you that sticks with them. And then everything comes out of that lens. And then everything is like well, he didn't answer me on that. I don't know if he's gonna do it on this, you know, and you just get this yucky feeling. And that's not the way you're going to have a great relationship with your client. So starting off on the right foot, having that great first impression. And really showing off what you have and who you are, is going to push that relationship into such a better place. I know that this is very specific to me, and all of you have very different businesses out there. But I hope that at least something here is useful. So that you can adapt it to your business. So you can go out there and show off to those clients and rock out. I'll see you next week. Get Your Agency Together isn't a certification. And it isn't a marketing course. It's a group program for small agencies and small business owners who run their teams virtually. It's a program for people like you who already have a growing business but want to grow by creating an agency. Or maybe you already have an agency, but need to go back and get those foundations you may have missed to scale. It's five months working with me and each other, where we'll support you as you make decisions about what kind of agency you want to create that aligns with your values and goals. What kind of offers you're going to build for your clients, how you're creating a team and delegating that work, how all the logistics work, and the mindset issues that pop up all on the way. Get Your Agency Together is built on a lot of the most common questions I get in my private one-on-one coaching program. And based on all those tough lessons I learned along the way, building my own team and agency while servicing our eight-figure clients. The program will give you the tools you need to change the way you operate and become the kind of company you want to be. Visit Reynoldsobm.com. To learn more, sign up or book a call with me to find out more and get some questions answered.