I recently learned how to create a welcome packet and my only regret is not having one earlier on.
I accidentally became a virtual assistant so I was just winging it for a long time. One time I proofread an e-book of over 10,000 words, designed a 3D cover that had 10 revisions and design an e-book for a client who decided she didn’t really want to become an author and so never paid.
Bad experiences left a sour taste in my mouth and I honestly almost threw in the towel. Then I got some advice. My blogger friend advised me to have clear terms and conditions, always take a deposit before commencing any job and receive full payment before delivering the finished product.
And I did….
I wrote some terms down and had it saved on WhatsApp. I was excited at first and shared these terms whenever I remembered, which wasn’t very often. After a while, I knew it just wasn’t working.
I am constantly trying to improve myself so I was reading up on how I could be a better virtual assistant. Then I found out about creating a welcome packet. I read up and realized that it was just what I needed. I have been using it since and it has saved me a lot of headache. My clients are happy and I am happier.
So if you are a virtual assistant or create content at any level that requires you to work with people, I recommend you create a welcome packet to protect yourself and your business.
What is a Welcome Packet?
A welcome packet is basically a road-map that leads your client through your services, your policies, and your work processes.
Your Welcome Packet will transform your clients into amazing ones who know exactly what to expect and what they need to do in order to get the results they want.
Use your welcome packet to communicate important and necessary details. Too much information can make the welcome packet tedious to read. Strive for a maximum of ten pages. Your client is hiring you in order to save time and you don’t want them spending all their free time reading your textbook sized welcome packet
How To Get Information For Your Welcome Packet
Getting the information you need to create a winning welcome packet is very easy and I do it in any of the ways listed below.
- Google forms: Use a Google form to ask a couple of questions. You can share the link with prospects
- Embedded form on website: If you have a website, you can create an embedded form to collect information from prospects
- Clarity call: you may decide to do a clarity call for 15-45 minutes to get clear on what your prospect needs and how you can be of service. One reason why video call/meeting isn’t my first choice is because of network issues. Network can ruin the entire experience
- Chat: You can chat with your prospects via email or WhatsApp (wherever is more comfortable for them)
I go for a simple Google form with a follow up WhatsApp chat. The Google form gives me all the information I need about the prospect and help me prepare a pitch that will convert.
Including a quick survey that assesses your client’s communication preferences, favorite programs and apps, and customer service expectations will help you learn crucial information without having to sit on the phone for an hour. It’s also incredibly helpful to add a section on usernames and passwords for any accounts that you’ll need to access.
6 Things to Include In Your Welcome Packet
Welcome Letter To Your Client
A warm welcome and the simple act of saying thank you can go a long way when starting your new client relationship. Reassure them that they’ve made the right decision and provide a brief summary of the services you’ll provide.
Your welcome letter should also have your branding on it in a visible place. Having a distinctive and established brand will not only look memorable, it will also help you look more professional to clients and will solidify their trust in you as an expert.
This should be brief, but intentional.
The services you’d be providing
Restate the client’s goals and how you’re going to help them achieve them.
Have you ever worked for a client and they think you were supposed to do something else too? A welcome packet clears all that. It is a document you can always refer your client to on what you agreed to. Some clients will milk you dry.
If you are a social media manager how many times are you going to post in a week? Are you going to run promotions? If yes, who’s going to cover the cost? Getting all these details in your welcome packet prevents troublesome clients from overworking you for peanuts
Activities, Timelines, Deadlines.
It’s great if you can say a few words about how each one of these connects back to your client’s goals. You may call this an activity log o workflow. In my welcome packet, I list out each task and schedule a date for completion so that the client already knows when everything is supposed to go out and is kept in the know about how I am assisting them.
For example, when I write blog posts for clients that also require search engine optimization and publishing, I send a scheduled date for completion of the task in my welcome packet. This helps me finish in advance and schedule the post to go out on the set date whether I remember or not.
It’s also important to specify whether you’re working singly, working for an agency, or subcontracting certain parts of the work that you don’t specialize in.
Means of Communication
You must include your contact details, preferred method of communication, when you can be reached, how frequently they can expect to hear from you, how you’re going to meet (online, phone, in-person), any necessary details (software, phone numbers, directions), and how you are going to share project updates.
Listing out your work hours clearly will prevent a client from throwing a tantrum because you didn’t reply the email they sent you at 2:00am on Sunday. If you are virtual assistant to the core like me, we only meet online. You should state it clearly that your meetings will only be online and if you are open to meeting in person you should also state how frequently this will be and who will cover the cost of commuting back and forth.
I remember a client that wanted to meet me in person for a social media management gig. I was open to calls, emails, chats but somehow the person could not get over why I was too busy to meet him in person. I immediately knew I couldn’t work with him.
Explain what your client needs to do if he/she needs to cancel an appointment and if there’s any preparation that he/she needs to complete prior to your sessions (and how to submit it).
You might also want to share basic tools you’ll be using and quick tutorials on how to use them with your clients. This doesn’t mean you’d have to create tutorials from scratch. You can link to a good one you find on the internet. I’m sure the creator will be happy about the traffic you are sending their way.
Tutorials to basic apps like Zoom if you’d be using video calls, Google sheets if you’d be sharing work progress online etc. will be helpful.
Clarify how (and how often) clients are going to be billed, identify installment amounts, and explain how/when you’re going to get approval if expenses pop up that weren’t calculated into the original package.
When it comes to project based jobs, it is best to take a certain percentage before you start a job. You can take the balance after the job is completed. Before you hand over the final product.
On the other hand, you may collect at least 50% of the total cost and collect the balance two weeks later. This is to avoid completing a job before client decides they no longer need it. You can easily create an invoice with paystack, wave. I recently discovered an app on Playstore called Invoice Manager. I use it to draft out all my invoices and send them out to clients. This way, I can see how much I’m expecting, when it is due etc. It free and a complete timesaver.
This is where you should reassure your client that you take their security seriously. Let them know if you are willing to sign a non-disclosure. As a virtual assistant, clients are required to share sensitive information like passwords with you. You have to do everything in your power to not only keep them safe, but ensure than you put their minds at rest.
Tell your client what the next steps will be. Will you need any document/information from the client? Will you like to set up a Zoom/WhatsApp meeting to solidify project details before you start? Will you be sending an invoice for a down payment?
You must make sure your client knows what is going to happen next and what he/she needs to do right away.
The first ever welcome packet I created wasn’t effective just because I missed this step. You know what happened? The client claimed that he didn’t read it. You can imagine working for the entire month only to find out you weren’t on the same page.
Now, I ask them to acknowledge that they have properly read the welcome packet and either agree to the terms, have questions etc. They must have a reaction. I include that going on to work with me means that they fully agreed and are bond by the welcome packet.
This is where you reaffirm how much you’re looking forward to working with them, how their goals get you excited and you are ready to help them. They will see no need for buyer’s remorse when they see your eagerness to please. Remember that Welcome packets can also provide you with referral business.
How to Design Your Welcome Packet
The goal of a welcome packet is to aid in clear communication and leave your client with all of the information they need to confidently go forth in this new relationship and to save you both loads of time in the process.
Designing a welcome packet for new clients takes a little time and effort but it is well worth it. You may use any of the following apps to design one for yourself;
- Microsoft Word
Don’t have time to create from scratch? Check out my handy welcome packet template for free.
Do you have a welcome packet for your business? Have you learned anything you’ll like to add to your Welcome Packet?