Are you struggling to sign clients because your onboarding process isn’t clear – to them OR to you? A few simple tweaks might be all it takes to increase your revenue this year. That’s exactly what we’re chatting about in today’s episode. So, let’s get started.
Links Mentioned in this Episode:
- FREE Goal Planning Resource: brumleymarketing.com/goals
- Website Audit: brumleymarketing.com/services
- Instagram: @sarahlbrumley
- Find more information and full transcript at brumleymarketing.com/podcast
- Acuity Scheduling: acuityscheduling.com
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Need Help Clicking Publish?
Before we jump into the meat and potatoes of this episode, I wanted to let you know that if you are struggling to launch or grow your own business, you don’t have to go it alone. Brumley Marketing is here to help. We’re a family-owned, small business focused on helping other small businesses achieve their biggest dreams. We offer done-for-you services as well as DIY resources. Our goal: to help you get recognized online, increase engagement with your dream clients and customers, and, ultimately – make a bigger impact – on your community and your wallet. To access our resources or to schedule a FREE consultation, head to brumleymarketing.com and let’s get started!
How to Streamline Your Onboarding Process
Well hey there! Sarah Brumley from Brumley Marketing here and I’m really excited that you’re here with me today. Is anyone else baffled that tomorrow is June 1st? I mean, we are nearly halfway through 2022 and, I don’t know about you – but I’m feeling like SO much has happened and yet, there’s still so much on my list of things to complete before the end of the year.
I know that a lot of mama business owners have big goals for 2022 regarding revenue and sales, and, that why I think it’s the perfect time to talk about getting those potential clients through the onboarding process. Because, you can dream of having clients, but if you don’t have a process in place to get them to that point – they will find someone else that does.
To be honest, this topic came up as part of my own discussion with a potential client just last week. She was shopping for website designers, came across my company and wanted to see what we could offer her. At the very end of our discussion, I asked her what her biggest struggle has been as she’s gone through the process of interviewing designers.
I thought her answer would be something along the lines of high price points or not finding anyone qualified (which is the typical response I get), but it was quite different. She told me that her biggest frustration is that with most of them, she didn’t know what the next step was. She didn’t know whether the call she’d set up would be a Zoom call or a phone call. She had no idea whether that person was going to call her or if she was suppose to call them or whether that person had scheduled the call in her timezone or theirs. She didn’t know what the actual call would entail – would they need her website information or just ask her basic questions about the project she was hoping to have accomplished.
She was confused. And, she told me, because she was confused, she’d missed two of the six interview calls.
Think about how frustrating that would be. She’s a busy mom. She doesn’t have time to wonder about these things. Just taking the time for the meeting is a stretch, but then to add on the worry and all of the unknown related to the where, when and what – that was enough to make her want to give up the entire project.
Also – those business owners that didn’t make things clear – they lost a potential lead who was very ready to put down the money to get the job done.
Maybe you’ve been on one side – or even both sides – of that story. I know I have. And, while we can’t fix what other business owners do, we CAN make our own onboarding processes VERY clear so that our potential clients don’t have to play the guessing game.
Because, no one wants to lose a warm lead just because they don’t know what time to show up for a call, right? I’ll guarantee if that happens to me – I won’t be scheduling another.
So, let’s dive into three ways we can streamline our onboarding processes and make our customer’s journey easier.
Method #1: Use Technology
Alright – if you want to streamline the process for your potential clients, the easiest way to do that is to use technology.
Why? Because you won’t always be available at every minute of every day to answer questions. That’s where technology can help you get the process started. From learning about your services and prices, scheduling an appointment with you, filling out surveys, and even paying their invoice, you’ll save yourself a boatload of time collecting the right information.
Now, before you switch off this podcast episode because you really don’t like tech or setting up tech or maintaining tech, let me just reassure you – the tech platforms I’m going talking about today are a one-time set up that allows me to reap the benefits for years to come.
In my own business, I’ve integrated technology in every aspect of the onboarding process.
When a client – let’s call her Lucy – finds my website (whether they searched and came across it from Google or happened to see it shared on social media), she immediately has access to my services page – complete with all of my pricing information. Lucy can see other projects I’ve worked on, learn a bit more about me, and decide if it’s worth taking the next step to schedule a call with me.
If Lucy decides an introductory call is a good idea, she can schedule that call directly through a link on my website that takes her to my scheduling page. Now, I use Acuity Scheduling for this at the moment, because it’s fairly inexpensive and easy to use, but there are a boatload of other scheduling apps out there that you can use for this purpose.
So, Lucy schedules a meeting with me. She picks the time that works for her – in her own timezone – and selects that. From there, she fills out a brief survey to help me understand more about what she’s looking for. AND that survey helps her narrow down whether my services fit her needs.
From that point, Lucy receives an email from me that states exactly what time she will be meeting with me AND that I will call her via the telephone number she provided.
There’s no guesswork involved. All Lucy has to do now is answer her phone when it rings at the scheduled time. Easy as that.
In my case, outside of the short form I have my potential clients fill out, I don’t need them to bring anything else to the meeting. Your business might be different, but you can make that known right in the same scheduling program so that there’s no guesswork with that, either.
Without utilizing my website and technology, the process might look a bit different. I’d probably have to go back and forth with Lucy multiple times via email, working to schedule an appointment with her. I’d have to know where she’s located so that I can make sure the time is correct for both of us – leaving room for error and missed phone calls. Also, she may get on the phone with me at her scheduled time, only to realize that she wanted Instagram marketing, and my company doesn’t do that.
So, the first way to streamline the onboarding process, is utilize technology – a website, a scheduling app, etc.
Method #2: Do it the Same Way Every Time
The second way to streamline the onboarding process is to do it the same way every time. That means that you know ahead of time exactly what your operating procedures look like and are able to replicate that process for every single client.
Let’s start with what happens when Lucy jumps on that first call. In my case, I ask a variety of questions about her, her business, and sometimes even her family and life outside of the business. I share a little bit about my business practices and how things work when a client starts out with me, and answer any and all questions she has.
It might not seem like a structured call (and that’s the goal because I want to build relationships first and foremost), but the things is that I actually have all of my questions written out ahead of time in a template that I copy and paste into a new client file so that I can take notes as I’m chatting with her.
Once the call is finished, I let Lucy know that I’ll be sending her an email that will include the estimate for services recommended, as well as details from our call and next steps. Because I’ve made it a point to take notes into my template, I can very easily copy and paste that into my email, and she has all of the information about how to proceed should she choose to utilize my services. I’m not joking – that email contains anything and everything she needs to know about how our process works and what I’ll need from her in order to schedule her project.
Truly, it’s that simple. It gives Lucy, as the potential client, complete confidence in knowing the next step to take AND it saves me a boatload of time because I don’t have to recreate the wheel each and every time a new client comes along. I can copy, paste, change anything that doesn’t apply, and then let the potential client make the next move.
As a Mama Business owner, I think this is critical. Because, you don’t have time to waste, right? You need to finish that call, get the applicable information out, and then deal with other client work OR get back to your family. So, do yourself and your potential clients a favor and set your onboarding process up so that you do it the exact same way each and every time.
So, the first way to streamline the onboarding process, is utilize technology – a website, a scheduling app, etc, and the second way is to do it the same way each and every time. And that brings us to the third thing, which is to ask for feedback.
Method #3: Ask for Feedback
This is something that a lot of business owners really struggle with. We’ve put the system in place, and made it work for us, but we don’t take into consideration how our potential clients see it. That’s why, I LOVE to ask for feedback in all areas of my business. It allows me to make changes, even minor ones, to help make the client experience even better. I think this is especially important when it comes to the onboarding process and that’s why I make it a point to ask for feedback even from the first call.
Not only does it help me going forward, by my potential client knows that I’m interested in what they have to say and looking for ways to improve their experience.
So, what are some ways you can do this?
First, listen carefully to the things your potential client is saying. If she’s worked with someone else in your industry, ask about frustrations they’ve had with that company. OR – take it a positive way and ask what they liked the most about working with that person or company.
Then, think about the things you hear from other clients or business owners. What are common complaints that you might ask for feedback regarding.
For example, maybe your last client mentioned that you didn’t have enough availability in your calendar. You could take the time to ask this new potential client whether they were able to find a time that really worked well for them. If you are finding that everyone you work with has a hard time finding a good time to chat with you, then it might be time to rethink your schedule. A couple of small tweaks to it might open up a world of opportunities.
Another good way to get feedback is to ask someone to run through your process. Pick someone that’s not great with the online world – your mom, your grandma, whoever it might be, and ask them to go through the process like a new client would. Did they get the email with all of the details after they scheduled their fake appointment with you? Were they able to understand what time their call was with you? You get the picture. Maybe, you even send them an example “after the call” email so that they can tell you whether it makes sense from their perspective.
These simple things can make a world of difference when it comes to taking that warm lead to paying client status.
Take Action and Sign More Clients
And that brings us to the action part of this episode. I’m a huge proponent of taking action, because action is where the dreams turn into the reality. And that’s why every Mama Business episode comes with action steps you can take immediately to up level your mama life and business.
ACTION: Take time this week to do an inventory of your client onboarding process. Maybe you need to set one up entirely. OR, maybe it’s time to add some tech to the mix. OR, maybe you need to ask for feedback. Whatever it is, don’t put this off because there’s really nothing worse than having warm leads – those ready to give you their money and get the job done – and losing them because your process is confusing.
I know from personal experience that I am more likely to accomplish what I set out to do if I am accountable to someone. So DM me on Instagram and let me know which of these steps you plan to take this week so that I can cheer you on throughout the process. Because, mama, I am cheering you on. And, I look forward to chatting with you next week!