Simple Process For Clients

Simple Process For Clients

A Simple Process for Consultations & Onboarding New Clients

 

 

As you work on creating your virtual assistant business, you will get to a point where you’re ready to start taking on clients.

 

And then you freeze. You can be sure of it.

 

Then you realize that you’re not sure of all the pieces involved in that process.

 

You think things like:

 

How do I let potential clients know I’m available to talk about their needs?

What should my client onboarding process look like?

Do I have a client welcome packet?

 

If any of those thoughts are spinning around in your head, I’m here to help. This post is going to break down each step for you.

 

Here is my successful process for consultations for new clients:

 

  1. Contact Page

Having a contact page on your site is important. This is often the first contact point between you and potential clients, and step one in the process.

 

To make it easier for potential clients, I suggest having a contact form that they can fill out, as well as a link to schedule a call with you.

 

  1. Initial Consultation Call

Once the potential client schedules with you, you’ll want to have an idea of what to say on the call. You want to ask the right questions so that you understand what they’re looking for, and make sure you’re both a good fit for each other.

 

 

  1. Estimate

I don’t usually recommend giving someone a final price over the phone. Rather, explain that you’ll use the info from your call together to create a solution that’s best for them, and you’ll get back to them with an estimate. You can create a simple estimate document or send one with online options like Freshbooks.

 

 

  1. Contract

Once a client agrees to get started, both of you need to sign a contract before work begins. You can keep the contract simple and cover things like scope of work, time frame, how you’ll communicate with each other, confidentiality, and how you’ll handle things if either of you chooses not to work together and terminate the contract.

 

  1. Invoice

I highly recommend sending an initial invoice after the contract is signed so that you receive payment upfront. You can do so with online programs such as PayPal or Freshbooks.

 

  1. Welcome Email

Now it’s time to email your new client, welcoming them and letting them know how you will start the process of working together. Send them a copy of your signed contract, and talk about the next steps. Make sure that you’re clear on how and when you will communicate with each other.

 

  1. Client Form

This is a place for you to keep all the important information about your client and their accounts. You can create a Word or Google Drive doc, an Excel spreadsheet, or keep the info in Evernote—whatever works best for you. You’ll want to note things like their name, business name, website, email, phone, social media profile links, and the services you’re providing for them.

 

  1. Thank You

Add a special touch by sending your new client a small thank you gift or card. This is a completely optional step, but something that will set you apart from others.

 

 

Check out Your First Call with a Potential Client Guide for all the steps to take.

 

In it, I give you a very detailed step-by-step process that I’ve used to onboard clients. I didn’t leave anything out!

 

Grab yours today.

 

Pitfalls You Should Avoid

Pitfalls You Should Avoid

3 Client Pitfalls Virtual Assistants Should Avoid 

Not every virtual assistant job is easy or simple. Some projects start well but as you work, you encounter problems that feel overwhelming. The good news is that while it may seem like a big deal now, many of these problems can be solved quickly and efficiently once you know what to do. Today’s topic is all about the 3 Client Pitfalls Virtual Assistants Should Avoid. Goodness, you mean there are things we should avoid? Absolutely!

Pitfall #1: Scope Creep

A big pain point for VAs is scope creep. This is when the client asks you to do more work than the original amount you agreed upon. For example, you’re designing a book cover for a client. She wants you to design bookmarks with the cover on them, too. 

You may be tempted to accept this extra work without saying a word. But what you should do is renegotiate with your client.  Scope Creep

Keep in mind that most clients aren’t trying to get extra work out of you when they make a request.

They just don’t understand how much additional time and effort these extra tasks will cause you.  

One of the best ways to handle scope creep is to talk with your client.

Tell your client that once the cover is completed, you’ll be happy to begin a new project for the bookmarks. 

Pitfall #2: Not Getting Materials

A common pitfall that VAs encounter is not getting needed materials from a client. It might be that they haven’t sent you their logo, copy, or login information. The way to handle this issue is to send a short message to your client and let them know that you’ll have to charge an extra fee because you don’t have the resources you need.  

Give them a clear deadline in your email. Say something like, “If I don’t receive XYZ from you within the next week, then you’ll be charged an additional $25” 

Most clients will quickly find the files you need when they get this message. 

 

Pitfall #3: Extensive Revision RequestsSet Limits to Revisions

Your client might love your work on Tuesday but ask for several large revisions on Wednesday. This is a common problem when you’re working on a project that requires approval from several people. 

For example, the marketing manager may love your graphics. But the sales team leader wants to change the colors or suggest different fonts. 

You can handle revision requests by communicating clearly. Tell the client that the first round of revisions is covered but after that, you’ll be charging $XX for each hour of work.

When clients understand that they could be charged extra, they tend to limit revisions.  

 

New to all this stuff, we get it!

If you’re a new VA, you might think you should offer free, unlimited revisions. But you don’t want to make this mistake. Otherwise, you risk working on the same project for months or even years to come. Meanwhile, you keep waiting for the end of the project so you can get paid. 

If a client feels strongly about a revision, then they’ll pay your additional rate without complaint. A good client understands that your time is valuable and never wants to take advantage of you or your skills. 

Most virtual assistant problems can be easily solved with a simple conversation, whether by email or phone. You can stand up for yourself calmly and professionally now that you know what to do. 

Now that’s what we call WINNING !!

 

What is a Welcome Packet?

What is a Welcome Packet?

What to Include in a Welcome Packet

 

So, you’ve decided you wanted to work from home as a virtual assistant. That’s awesome!  So what the heck is a Welcome Packet? Continue reading below and I’ll explain it all to you.

Since that big decision, you’ve been networking like a fool for your first client. Hanging out in Facebook groups, going to networking events, telling your friends and family to the point you’re starting to feel like you’re bugging people with your pitch.

But a virtual assistant without clients is – well, not really a business.

You need clients!

And then one day, you get an email – someone wants to chat about how you can help their business.

Whoo-hoo!

So you have that discovery call and you’re feeling like you knocked it out the park. You said all the right things and shoot, you even sent a thank you email afterward.

Now, you wait.

And wait.

You refresh your email countless times, waiting for a response.

And then it happens — you get an email. You’ve got a client!

Holy Moley!

But don’t celebrate too much because you’re not done.

There’s something you need to put together for your new client – and that’s a welcome packet.

What is a welcome packet?

The welcome packet is a PDF that contains important information about your business that may or may not already be in your contract.

Is a welcome packet required?

Well, no not really. I’ve just found that having all of the necessary information in a separate PDF file is handy not only for you but for the client as well. And we’re aiming for simplicity here, folks!

What’s in a welcome packet?

Glad you asked!

Here’s what your Welcome Packet can include:

 

  • A personal note from you, welcoming them on board. Start on the right foot but including a note from you: how excited you are to work with them and how you plan to make a difference in their business, something along those lines. Keep in mind that some clients may be working with a virtual assistant for the first time so you may have to a bit of hand-holding to ease them into the water. It’s okay – a kick-butt virtual assistant doesn’t just do the work: they also educate their clients.

 

  • Work expectations. Spell out when you will return phone calls and emails. Do you have a 24-hour turnaround during business hours? Will you make recommendations and offer solutions? Tell your client what they can expect from working with you.

 

  • Your office hours. If you don’t spell out your office hours, I can bet my bottom dollar that at some point you’re going to have to talk to a client about working outside of your hours. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. This is where educating a client GENTLY about what a virtual assistant is (a business owner in partnership with the client) and what a virtual assistant isn’t (an administrative worker solely who is on-call and dedicated to their needs only). Make it clear what your hours are and stick to them. For example, my business hours are Monday – Friday, 6 pm-9 pm, Saturdays from 10 am-5 pm. I’m closed on Sundays and the last Saturday of each month. Period. Which brings us to the next matter:

 

Important Facts to Add

 

  • How will you handle “rush” jobs? OK, life happens sometimes and things pop up that need immediate attention. No problem. But if it’s happening over and over, then it’s time to put some processes in place to keep that from happening. Planning will save you lots of time and headaches. Discuss and note how you will handle rush jobs. Let’s say the client gives you less than 24-hour notice to complete a project. It’s okay to charge a 25% surcharge. Again, make sure it’s indicated in your welcome packet, as well as your contract, to avoid problems later.

 

  • How you will handle referrals and if you provide a referral incentive. In the virtual world, referrals are golden. Do a great job, your client will tell someone else and BOOM! You’ve got a new client. But you want to thank them, right? Maybe a gift card or a couple of complimentary hours.

All the important facts

 

  • Your business processes: how you will protect passwords and confidential information, etc. The online world can be a scary place with all this hacking foolishness. And your client is trusting you with the back-end of their business. That’s huge! You want to reassure them you’ve got systems in place to protect their confidential information – may be shredding confidential data, keeping passwords private, that kind of thing. Give your client some peace of mind.

 

  • Your subcontracting process, if applicable. You may get to the point where you become so busy with work that you’ll need to bring on a subcontractor. Or, maybe you don’t have the skill set to complete a project. Let your client know how you will handle this type of situation (the subcontractor will do the work but you will check it over thoroughly to ensure it meets your approval). Remember, this is YOUR business on the line.

 

  • Invoicing process. This little nugget of information is probably in the contract you sent to the client but it doesn’t hurt to share it in the welcome packet. Reiterate your hourly rate/retainer amount, when you will send an invoice and when payment is due.

 

  • Your contact information and how you prefer to be contacted. I’m cool with getting texts from my client so they have my cell phone number as well as my email. Maybe that won’t work for you so tell your client your preference.

 

Whew…that’s a ton!

 

Add in a get-to-know-you sheet: the client’s address (so you can surprise them a gift from time to time), birthday, spouse/children info, if applicable.

Isn’t some of this information already in my contract?

It’s highly possible. But let’s think about this for a second: most people don’t thoroughly read contracts. We should but we don’t. We read the most important part – how much we’re making/paying and kind of skim over the rest. The welcome packet outlines IN A SEPARATE DOCUMENT a lot of what’s in your contract. The difference is that your client will probably read your welcome packet.

You don’t want any excuses (“I didn’t know that was in there because it’s so buried in the contract!”) Nope, we don’t want that!

What else do you need to bring on a new client? Well, you can get all that outlined in a Trello board. If you’ve been around these parts for a while, I compare Trello to Post-its on steroids! Seriously, I can’t get enough of Trello because it keeps me super organized.

A Trello board dedicated to onboarding every new client is a must. You can set it up step-by-step, include what you need to do to ensure a smooth start to your working relationship with every client.

 

GET YOUR CLIENT TRELLO BOARD HERE

 

So, I hope this information helps you. Let me know if you need anything else.

Here’s to your success!

 

 

 

Getting Clients from Online Groups

Getting Clients from Online Groups

The Big Secret About Getting Clients from Online Groups

 

As a virtual assistant, one of your marketing strategies to get new clients might be searching for them in online groups. The Big Secret About Getting Clients from Online Groups is NOT really that big of a secret.

 

So, places like Facebook and LinkedIn make it so easy for us to find groups to socialize in.

And this marketing strategy can be very effective—IF you know how to work it.

 

Here’s a secret:

 

Join groups that include YOUR specific target market! And then make real connections and relationships with those in the group.

 

I’ll explain below:

 

First, joining virtual assistant groups is a great idea. But not necessarily a place to find clients.

 

Remember—everyone else in there is looking for clients and building their business as well. Other virtual assistants are NOT your potential clients. (Unless that’s exactly who you’re targeting—that’s a different story—and a completely different conversation!)

 

So, should you bother to join virtual assistant groups?

 

Absolutely yes!

 

VA groups can be a great resource for you. You can get answersto questions so that you don’t stay stuck. Here are a couple of examples: needing a quick tech answer or wondering if other VAs has used a certain kind of software, and if they like it. Groups are great for that type of information.

 

And don’t forget about the search feature in groups. You can often find a quick answer by typing your keyword(s) in to the search box and find threads that answer your question.

 

They’re also useful in making sure that you don’t feel so lonely in this industry. Many virtual assistants feel isolated when they no longer have co-workers or any face-to-face contact with others. You might have family and friends who don’t really “get” what it is that you do and aren’t very supportive. This is where you can come in to a VA group and find other like-minded people to support you.

 

If you visit a VA group enough, participate and help others out, it’s also a great place to network and make connections with other virtual assistants. You just might end up with a referral partner or two. Connect with VAs who offer different services and you can outsource work to them, start building a team or refer clients to them.

So, being active in VA groups is also a way to get some free mentoring. The groups are often run by VAs or VA mentors who have been in the industry for quite some time. There are also active veteran VA group members who will jump in, answer questions and offer advice. Think of it as a way to shorten your learning curve and move forward just a little faster in your business.

 

If you’re thinking of working with a VA mentor to advance your business, getting involved in their group is a great way to get a sense of their style and see if you’d be a good fit to work together.

 

What doesn’t really work in these VA groups?

 

  • Only stopping in when you need more clients and asking the group if they have anyone to refer to you.
  • Creating posts in the groups and/or linking to articles on your blog that explain the importance of hiring a VA. (This is a group that’s already filled with VAs, remember?)
  • Posting about your MLM or direct sales opportunity that you do on the side of your VA business.

 

Now, let’s talk about joining groups that include your target market

 

If you’re looking for new potential clients online, joining groups where THEY hang out is a smart marketing strategy.

 

I do understand that this can be a little out of your comfort zone. But you CAN do this!

 

First, you want to check the group rules/profile and make sure that they also accept people in the group that support their industry. (That would be you.)

 

Make sure to read all group rules and follow them. You want to be respectful of the group owner.

 

Start going through the posts in the group and getting a feel for the conversations and style. You don’t necessarily have to jump in and post something right away.

 

If the group owner asks new members to make a new post and talk about yourself, take advantage of that. Make sure you let them get to know you as a business owner—but also you on a personal level. People do business with those that they know, like and trust.

 

Do you see any questions being asked in the group that you can help with? Then go ahead and post your answer.

Be helpful!

Do NOT constantly spam the group with posts all about what you do and links to your site. That’s a quick way to get kicked out.

Think about what value you can add to the group. Maybe you can create a post that solves an issue you see mentioned in the group repeatedly. Perhaps there is a tool or software you use that saves you tons of time and money that you could share with the group.

 

All in all, remember that these are real people and your goal is to develop real relationships. Be genuine, not spammy. Realize that it takes time and consistency to build these relationships.

You don’t meet someone on the street and immediately ask them to marry you, right? It’s the same thing here. You need to give this marketing strategy time and establish relationships. If done right, it can be very effective for connecting with new clients.

 

Next steps:

 

  1. If you want to learn more about relationship marketing and how it works, click here.
  2. I also invite you to join my own FB group, filled with really awesome VAs that help and support one another, the VA to the ResQ Facebook group.

 

Simple Process For Clients

A Simple Process to Onboard New Clients

A Simple Process to Onboard New Clients in your VA Business

 

Having a Simple Process to Onboard New Clients what we are exploring today. Below are some steps you can take to become a successful business.

 

As you work on creating your virtual assistant business, you will get to a point where you’re ready to start taking on clients. 

 

And then you freeze. Like really?

You realize that you’re not sure of all the pieces involved in that process.

 

You think things like:

How do I let potential clients know I’m available to talk about their needs?

What should my client onboarding process look like?

What should I put in my client welcome packet?

 

If any of those thoughts are spinning around in your head, I’m here to help. This is going to break down each step for you.

A Simple Process to Onboard New Clients

 

Here are all the deets:

 

  1. Contact Page

Having a contact page on your site is important. This is often the first contact point between you and potential clients, and step one in the process.

 

To make it easier for potential clients, I suggest having a contact form that they can fill out, as well as a link to schedule a call with you. You can set this up easily by using a CRM like Dubsado. Clicking this link will get you a discount, just sayin’.

 

  1. Initial Consultation Call

Once the potential client schedules with you, you’ll want to have an idea of what to say on the call. You want to ask the right questions so that you really understand what they’re looking for, and make sure you’re both a good fit for each other.

  1. Estimate

We don’t recommend giving someone a final price over the phone. Rather, explain that you’ll use the info from your call together to create a solution that’s best for them, and you’ll get back to them with an estimate. You can create a simple estimate document or send one with online options like Freshbooks or you can also do this in Dubsado. Make it part of your process.

 

Follow the Plan

 

  1. Contract

Once a client agrees to get started, both of you need to sign a contract before work begins. You can keep the contract simple and cover things like scope of work, time frame, how you’ll communicate with each other.  Add in things like confidentiality, and how you’ll handle things if either of you chooses not to work together and terminate the contract.

 

  1. Invoice

It is highly recommended that you send an initial invoice after the contract is signed so that you receive payment from the start of the project. You can do so with online programs such as PayPal or there are great options for doing this in Dubsado.

 

  1. Welcome Email

Now it’s time to email your new client, welcoming them and letting them know how you will start the process of working together. Send them a copy of your signed contract, and talk about next steps. Make sure that you’re clear on how and when you will communicate with each other.

A few more steps

 

  1. Client Form

This is a place for you to keep all important information pertaining to your client and their accounts. You can create a Word or Google doc, an Excel spreadsheet or keep the info in Evernote—whatever works best for you. You’ll want to note things like their name, business name, website, email, phone, social media profile links and the services you’re providing for them. If you use Dubsado, these things you can have set up automatically.

 

  1. Thank You

Add a special touch by sending your new client a small thank you gift or card. This is a completely optional step, but something that will set you apart from others.

 

Follow the plan step-by-step. One thing I know well is that with everything, taking each step will build your confidence level higher and higher.

Remember to reach out if you need help.