You and your team just let out a big sigh of relief – after working hard, you landed the toughest client. But the work is not over when the contracts are signed! Here are a few simple (but important) things a company can do to cement this tenuous new relationship… and a few things to avoid at all costs.
Do Listen to Your Client
An important part of the client onboarding process is showing them how to be a good client, providing them with all the information they need about your process. But it’s even more important to listen and learn – how can you be the best service provider for them? Make sure to gather all the information you will need to deliver the best service possible.
Don’t Sell a Fantasy
Give yourself some leeway; don’t give your new client unrealistic expectations. If you promise them a fantasy, you will not be able to deliver. Be as realistic as you can about your services and your current ability to provide them. You may always hope for the best and strive for greatness. But when onboarding a client, it is best to under-promise and then over-deliver!
Do Be Attentive
At this early stage in the relationship, make sure you are available to reassure your clients when they have questions, suggestions, or frustrations. Give them a good first impression. Be attentive, and respond quickly and often. The onboarding process will go more smoothly and everyone will be on the same page.
Don’t Undervalue What You Do
They hired you (or your company); they want your skills, your tools and your dedication! Make sure that you know the value of your work and compromise as rarely as possible. If you’re too generous on this front, your business will be unsustainable.
Do Account for Risk
What’s the worst thing that could happen? Prepare for that! Good contracts account for a number of contingencies. It’s better to call out a worst-case scenario now, so that you can make provisions for that and neither you nor the client need to freak out when it happens!
Don’t Be Vague
Make sure that questions are answered on both ends of this new, burgeoning relationship. Try not to be vague about your goals, and encourage your client to discuss theirs as thoroughly and frankly as possible. Have ‘the talk’ (whatever it is) early and openly.
Without a clear plan in place, client onboarding can go terribly wrong, and poison the future of the relationship. Follow these simple rules and you may be able to avoid such consequences.