Knowing how to properly onboard clients as a virtual assistant is a very important aspect of structuring your business. Sadly, many virtual assistants in Nigeria make this mistake and there’s no organized flow of things.
What is a “client onboarding process”?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
It is simply everything you do immediately after a prospective client inquires about working with you.
You don’t have to wait till this happens before get organized.
Steps You Need To Take To Onboard Clients As A Virtual Assistant
By taking the steps I’ll discuss in this post, you’ll start displaying your professionalism from the start. This is makes a good impression of you to your client. And ensures you take necessary steps to protect your business while working for others.
Step 1: Set Up A Discovery Call
A discovery call is important to get clear on what your potential client needs. It provides an avenue for you to get to know your client’s core frustrations. And how to match your services to give them the solutions they desire.
However, it is important to have an idea about what the client needs before scheduling a call. For my business, I have a quick and easy to fill form that collects basic information about the client; what they need help with; and their budget. This helps me prepare for the call beforehand.
Using an automated booking system is important because it allows you to set your availability ahead of time.
This ensures your potential client views, and confirms a time that works for them without the need for the back and forth emails about picking a time that works for the two of you.
As soon as you get the booking out of the way, be sure to schedule a reminder for your prospect. The location of your meeting may be Zoom, WhatsApp, Skype etc. Whatever you choose, your booking system will display this on your booking page and your client will get the info in an automated email immediately their book the call.
Step 2: Prepare And Show Up For The Call
Once your client picks a time, you’ll get an email from your preferred appointment booking system (in my case, tidycal). When you get this confirmation email, it is important that you set aside time to do your homework.
Remember the form they filled in step one above? Use the details they provided to do background work like, check out their website, social media etc. And be sure to jot down important notes because these will be your talking points during the call.
Carrying out this simple task will take 20-30 minutes of your time but it is worth it. Why? Because when you are finally on the call with your potential client, you’d know exactly what to say; what questions to ask and how to advise them.
Before you end the call let them know you’ll be sending them a proposal based on your call. This is when some clients would want to put you on a spot and ask for a quote. It is best to take your time and craft your proposal. This is because that’s when you’ll truly know the workload and price correctly. You can however give a price range.
Never leave them guessing what the next step is.
My client discovery call workbook does a good job of walking you through what to do before, during and after your discovery calls including templates I use in my business. The discovery call workbook is part of my client onboarding kit which is a must have for every serious virtual assistant.
Step 3: Send In Your Proposal
Take out time to craft your proposal. For this I have a proposal template I use. It will get pretty tiring to craft a new proposal from scratch every time you have a new client. So, have one template so that you can easily edit based on the client’s needs.
What will your proposal contain?
I’m glad you asked.
Two must haves for every proposal include; the tasks included in your service (based on what you discussed in the discovery call), and pricing.
Need a copy of the proposal template I use to win clients? It’s one of the resources available in the client onboarding kit.
Step 4: Follow Up (Just In Case)
After sending your proposal, be sure to follow up if you don’t receive a reply after 2-3 business days. I made this mistake early in my career. I sent in a proposal to a client and didn’t follow up because I felt like I’d come off as desperate.
That couldn’t be more wrong!
Following up actually tells your client you are ready to work and are proactive about working with them. You are aiming to impress. Right?
Not to mention, your proposal email might have gone directly to spam or gotten lost in your potential clients’ inbox. So it is your duty to stay top of mind. Most times the client may not contact you again and feel like you’re not interested in working with them.
Step 5: Send In Your Contract, Invoice And Welcome Packet
- Contract: Your virtual assistant contract is an essential part of your onboarding process. This is what protects you and your business. A good virtual assistant contract must contain a confidentiality agreement (also known as a non-disclosure agreement); an independent contractor agreement, payment terms, etc. This must be duely signed by the client before any other steps are taken. I use small PDF or Signwell to sign my contracts.
- Invoice: Use free platforms like Paystack or zoho invoice to send your client an invoice. Of course this will be based on the amount agreed on in your proposal.
- Welcome Packet: In my business, I send a welcome email that contains the welcome packet in PDF format. A welcome packet typically contains basic information about your work processes. How you will be contacted, business days, how you will receive payments and what you require to start work. Requirements usually include things like Client Logos, fonts, login details, photos etc. Requirement may also be collected with the help of a form.
PRO TIP: Never send an invoice to a prospective client before your contract/agreement is signed.
Related: How to Create a Welcome Packet for your business.
Be sure to follow up with your client to ensure your client sends in the details you need to start work.
Over time I’ve found that some clients delay this step because they either have no idea what basic things their brand colors, fonts are or they are too busy to gather all the information you need. Be patient, reasonable and help them make your work easier.
Side note: Get a copy of my client onboarding checklist, onboarding toolkit etc. inside the client onboarding kit.
Step 6: Schedule A Kick Off Call
You’re almost done now. This call is necessary to confirm all the final details, timelines etc that weren’t clear. You can ask each other questions to get on the same page and even make a plan of action.
Taking these 6 simple steps to onboard clients as a virtual assistant is all you need to look professional, be organized, confident and get only the right kind of clients.
I hope this information will help you structure your virtual assistant business better.
Do you already take these steps to onboard clients? Reply in the comments and let me know.