Episode 118 – My 5-step process to streamline client onboarding

November 6, 2019

Eliminate stress and build confidence with my 5-step process to streamline client onboarding. Tune into episode 118 of the Brand Strategy Podcast for all the juicy details. | b is for bonnie design #brandstrategy #clientonboarding #podcast

Let’s talk about all things client onboarding. How many times have you landed a new client only to find yourself overwhelmed with the whole onboarding process? Maybe this client just booked you at your highest price point and you want to impress from the start. Or maybe they’re simply a total ideal client you can’t wait to get started working with. 

Whatever the case might be, what happens next after you land the sale?

As an entrepreneur, I know there can be confusion when it comes to onboarding a new client. I hear this time and time again inside my 6-month group coaching program—the Heartfelt Brand Society.

But imagine this, what could it look or feel like to actually go into a new project feeling totally stress free while you guide your client through the process like an expert?

I promise you can walk every client through a very seamless and intentional process without putting in a ton of time and effort in order to make that happen. And today, I’m going to share my 5-step process to make that happen.

MY 5-STEP PROCESS TO STREAMLINE CLIENT ONBOARDING

Now I get it. You spend so much time and energy working diligently making sure you’re positioning yourself like a total pro so of course when a new client signs on you want to walk them through a stress-free journey and provide value that makes them believe they hired you because you bring value.

To do this, we need to map out a plan so the second we book a new client we know exactly what our next steps are and so do they which will eliminate stress and build confidence. For both of you!

This streamlined workflow can be utilized time and time again as you guide each new client from newly-booked client to fully-onboarded and five-star review client.

#1 – SET EXPECTATIONS UPFRONT

Always make your expectations clear of what it would look and feel like to work with you. 

When you answer your clients questions upfront you are eliminating frustrations and setting yourself up as the expert.

For example, when I’m working with a brand new branding client, we identify the deliverables they can expect to receive at the end of our time together. I make it very clear the strategy pieces they are going to receive so they have a better understanding of what to expect when it’s all said and done. On top of that, we take time to set goals about what we want to achieve while working together and a lot of times that type of goal setting realigns their expectations and they know what’s to come.

Inside this episode, I share more detail about the different ways you can outline those expectations for new clients (5:20).

#2 – OVER COMMUNICATE WHENEVER POSSIBLE

This goes hand-in-hand with setting expectations up front, but I always stress the importance of over communicating.

Your clients will appreciate you being vocal about the details that go into the work that you do because most often, your clients have never done what they’ve hired you to do!

Think about it this way, if you’re a wedding planner or photographer, this is most likely your bride and groom’s first wedding, right? And they need you to help walk them through this process stress free and with confidence.

If your a designer, your client doesn’t know what goes into your workflow. So it’s your responsibility to educate them in order to make it a seamless and enjoyable process.

When you proactively educate, you’re putting in the work ahead of time to get yourself those 5-star glowing reviews.

Inside this episode I dive into a few easy ways to go above and beyond over communicating expectations and needs with your clients (7:45).

You may worry that overcommunciating can be annoying, but I would so much rather you be a bit too generous with your communication then leave your client wondering what comes next.

#3 – STREAMLINE YOUR CLIENT ONBOARDING PROCESS

This is a step you must not skip! We want to make this as easy as possible for your clients to walk through this process using only the essential tools. Make it easy for you and your client!

Don’t ask your clients to be in 8 different apps to complete a project with you.

Don’t have them pay in HoneyBook and then manage your project in Asana for and then head over to Slack to communicate.

This is overwhelming and will frustrate and confuse your client—which in turn can cause a breakdown in communication and the project itself.

Personally I’m a big fan of HoneyBook as the #1 tool in my business because it helps me handle all of the nitty-gritty tasks of invoicing, client agreements, or payment plans. All client communication is done inside HoneyBook itself. Every single client gets their own project where they can login and see all the files, their timeline, and all homework they’ve completed (or need to), along with all the messages we’ve sent back and forth.

It allows me to better manage my time and energy with every process.

If you streamline your processes you create a system that benefits both you and your client to stay on task and complete your project on time.

PS. If you want to give HoneyBook a try here is a free 14-days trial! You can also use this link for 50% off your first year! If you have questions about how I use HoneyBook, shoot me an email at hello@bisforbonniedesign.com or DM me on Instagram @bonniejoymarie.

#4 – POSITION YOURSELF AS AN EXPERT

When you walk your client through a streamlined process it’s important to do so with confidence. Remember, you are the guide navigating your client through this exciting and sometimes scary new journey. 

You might feel you have to hustle for your worth or you have to put on a certain persona to be perceived as an expert when starting work with a new client.

First of all, if you’re working with clients who make you feel that way we need to have a serious conversation.

But secondly, if you’re working with a client and feel you need to step into a certain role to come across as a professional, then we need to take a look at where that insecurity is coming from.

I believe if you need to put on some alternate identity in order to be perceived as an expert, then you are missing the mark as to what your ideal client really wants from you. 

When you think about knowledge in the creative community—and the world in general—think of it as a textbook. The experts we look up to are simply one, two or maybe three chapters ahead of us, but we are all still pulling from the same textbook.

I hope this empowers you to know that if you’re getting clients, you’re already an expert. They are coming to you because they need your expertise and your guidance. Have confidence in yourself and position yourself as the expert that you are.

#5 – BELIEVE IN WHAT YOU DO

The last and most important step to streamlining your client onboarding is to believe in what you do. 

In order for your client to trust your process and look at you as an expert, you first must believe in your own work.

Trust yourself.

Trust your intuition.

Lean on your gifts to guide your client through your processes.

Remember, your clients are coming to you with a mix of emotions. If you can go into you project together with confidence you can inspire a deeper sense of peace with your client and affirmation in hiring you.

Friend, these are five simple steps in streamlining your client onboarding. You can implement them into your already existing client onboarding workflow or create one using these five simple steps. But above anything, know that you’re worth the time upfront to create a streamlined process that takes the confusion and overwhelm out of booking your ideal clients. You can do this!

Try my #1 client onboarding business tool free for 14-days or and get 50% off your first year here!

RESOURCES MENTIONED:

Heartfelt Brand Society

HoneyBook – My #1 Business Tool

Email me for any questions about how I use HoneyBook

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Eliminate stress and build confidence with my 5-step process to streamline client onboarding. Tune into episode 118 of the Brand Strategy Podcast for all the juicy details. | b is for bonnie design #brandstrategy #clientonboarding #podcast

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I'm Bonnie -- a designer, brand designer + strategist, writer, wife, and pet parent to the most rambunctious golden retriever this side of the Mason-Dixon! I'm passionate about building authentic brands, encouraging small business owners to chase their dreams, and spreading joy through design. It's a delight to have you here, lovely! Grab a cup of coffee, pull up a comfy chair and stay a while, won't you?

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