What happens when you’ve written your website, you’ve written your work with me or a services page and somebody reaches out and you get a bite on the line to work with you? Ah, what next? Well, if that is you and you’ve ever wondered that before, voila. Today, I’m taking you behind the scenes of my client onboarding process. Starting with, what happens when somebody hits submit on the application that we have on my website to work with my business. Some of my students inside Copywriting for Creative¢s™ were asking about our client onboarding process, so, I just thought I’d do a post on it. 😉
Essentially, I’m sharing what I’ve learned from booking more than $523,000 in services for my business—on the agency side of my business. I have learned so much—which is a nice way to say I’ve messed up and screwed up a ton along the way. 😉 If you think you’ve messed up your client onboarding or processes before, I’ve done it too, I promise you. Butttt now I have this *great* video and these learnings to show for it…right?!
If you’re ready to get into this and clean up your own system, let’s jump in!
Phase No. 1 | Marketing Productized Service
I’m breaking my client onboarding process into three phases, part one, actually marketing your productized service or whatever it is you do. Okay, so I’m a toddler mom and my toddler is currently very into car washes. So let’s land there for a sec as an analogy because when you’re buying a car wash or going through, you’re pretty clear on what you’re getting, right? You see the menu, they’ve made it easy for you, you can pick which kind you want, basic, bells and whistles, add on the a la cartes. That is a productized service.
They’ve taken a service, washing cars, and broken it down into very clear delineated deliverables that you can understand.
You’re doing the same as a service provider in your business, and you’re breaking down exactly what you can do, what goes inside of it, and it is a productized service. *Meaning* it is boxed up, you understand how long each part takes you, you understand exactly what you’re doing at each point of the process.
Sooo tough love moment potentially for your clients but you’re the expert—you probably know what they need better than they know themselves. That’s just the nature of being a service provider. You do this all day every day. You have to be able to message and sell that to them well—everybody thinks they’re a special snowflake. I mean, I totally think I’m a special snowflake when I’m buying different services that are out there.
BUT if somebody is smart and they can explain to me why they have their process set up the way they do, why I’m going to need certain pieces that can’t be left off even if I don’t feel like I should be paying for them, if they can explain that to me and why it works, I’m in.
I’ve got a video coming out soon where I’m gonna talk through what I have learned from crafting services pages for clients, teaching students how to do it, and then also writing our own website and relaunching that. So hit subscribe so you don’t miss out on that but let’s back up.
In this step of my client onboarding process, I want to talk about actually presenting that carwash menu to your clients because that’s the first thing they will see on the website—that basic menu. From there, they’re gonna fill out an application and given they have the budget for one-on-one work, I’m gonna send them the pricing magazine—I’m covering that here in step 2— & also a link to book a discovery call.
>>> Two things here <<<
- #1 If you’ve never studied how to sell on a discovery call before, run, don’t walk. It has been crazy helpful for me to learn how to get confident on these. You can watch this training I have where I talk about our sales call workflow and how I learned it and had to study it, because it did NOT come naturally. I used to ~*freak out*~ before them.
- #2 Some people find the best thing is to immediately go to a paid consult. I think that’s a great strategy for some people, it’s not for me, but I did wanna throw that out there as an option for you to kinda get in the weeds and see what you could do for somebody.
Ok, back to that discovery call—one of the big changes that I made this year, it has been amazingly helpful, I’ve started having pieces of my workflow and the process that we do with our clients pulled up in tabs. So when I had this video call and I’m talking to people about what I could do for them, I’m able to reference them along the way. It it seems SO simple but it has been immensely helpful.
Takeaway tip—have a visual aid ready to show your potential clients as you get in that discovery call or coffee date session or whatever you wanna call your sales process. I also highly recommend being able to hop on this call and have your workflow broken down week by week. So you’re actually able to tell them the date that they could get started with you, and then by week four, you’ll have this, this and this, we’ll wrap up by this week, and you’ll have this, this, and this in hand. That way you can kind of future pace them and say, “So if you book today, we’ll be wrapped up by this date and you’ll have everything in hand.”
Another tip I’ve learned along the way—hold the date. I like to tell the potential client, “I’m not gonna try to sell this date out from underneath you. You can consider it yours. I’ll pencil you in for X number of days. Think about it and then I’ll check in with you.”
Phase No. 2| Pricing Magazine
I want to jump in and zoom a little bit in on the pricing magazine portion—AKA at the car wash menu. Y’all know I love HoneyBook. I’ve been using it as our CRM for probably since month three in business. I tried other ones and this is the one that stuck and I’m never gonna recommend something that I don’t actually use.
Another big change this year is that we flipped to using what HoneyBook calls Flows. HoneyBook has a few tools that you could use for your pricing magazine, like a brochure, a flow. Basically what I was looking to do is come up with kind of a website interface-ish. Let me explain.
So we used to have a PDF actual magazine of this for clients. You reached out, you got a PDF, but the issue that I ran into is anytime we needed to edit something in there, I had to open up in design, make the edit, download it as a PDF, upload it as a PDF, then go in and relink every single hyperlink that pointed to that during the client onboarding process—that’s for the birds. So I switched and being able to go in and actually edit at flow or a brochure in HoneyBook was just much more of a nimble approach.
Here’s some tips here for your pricing magazine. I tell my students this all the time but do not be afraid to repurpose copy that you’ve used on your website about your service or your offering. Use that again in this guide, use your bio copy again. People need to interact with messages a few times for them to actually see it and for it to stick.
I find it helpful to have a page or two that talks about me, my team, how we work. I’ve also found it really helpful to have a page before I even bring up the menu, the carwash menu, where I’m talking about my philosophy and why I’ve structured things the way that I have. Then I go into page by page a breakdown of the tiers of offers that we have. The CTA, the call to action, of this whole flow or pricing magazine of sorts is to book a discovery call or a sales call. Again, there’s that video you can watch on the details there.
+Let me flip the camera around and show you how that part works in HoneyBook because they can book directly from here to a link to go to my calendar. +
Phase No. 3| After they get signed, spell out their tasks dummy proof.
So to recap:
✅They saw your website and they reached out
✅They understood the carwash and the offerings and coupled that with some sort of sales call where you’re really jumping into what you could do for them
✅You’ve gotten them to sign your proposal, and you’ve sent that over, you’ve got your payment in and everything.
➡️➡️Now for our clients, this is when they get their welcome magazine and their onboarding kit.
One of my biggest takeaways in something I’ve messed up on in the past here—do not delay. Try to get this to fire immediately.
Have you ever made a big purchase before and didn’t know if it went through or didn’t receive any confirmation? I actually ordered a piece of furniture for my office a few months back and I did not get an immediate email confirmation. Days went past and I reordered it and then I got two at once and it was just so confusing, I had to send one back.
Make sure the confirmation or this welcome kit fires immediately. This is probably when your client is most excited about working with you. And they’re probably also having a little bit of the sticker shock. They just paid so much money. Get them excited. Keep riding that momentum wave.
(Again, I have a FREE Welcome Magazine Copy Swipe file that you can use and start working in your business—you can grab yours here. )
We deliver our client welcome magazine, again, like a flow in HoneyBook, that’s what the term is. It’s gonna break down how we best communicate when we’re online, how this process is gonna work for them, etc. This is linked in the big email copy they get where I’m also breaking down step-by-step what I need from them to get started.
I usually have this rule in client emails that every client communication piece needs to only have one call to action at the end in the question mark form—butttt I break my rule in the first email they get—I’m gonna outline instead for them all the pieces that I need to get going on this.
One more tip—I’ve found emojis are very helpful here to show them exactly which pieces I’m going to need, like the checkmark (✅) boxes.
Then I’m gonna sum it all up with a final CTA that says, “I’m gonna need all of this in place by this date so we can get started.” I know this was a lot in this video and kind of all over the place, but I am so passionate about the client experience process and always looking for how I can improve that. I wanna be a good service provider and step in kind of hopefully with the servant leadership heart, but I also wanna scale my business at the same time.
If that’s also you, I hope this video was helpful, and make sure you grab that welcome magazine Swipe as well. I think welcome magazines are such a good way to get on the same page with your clients when they’re starting to work with you.
So now you know how to onboard your clients well, but what about offering them some sort of a VIP day or a day rate option? Should you do them, should you not? Well, I’ve got a video here where I’m jumping into what I’ve learned from offering day rates over the years.
Go out there and serve your clients from a place of more rest, less hustle.