When you’re selling services, the biggest source of time-suckage in your day-to-day operations comes from client management.
Which sucks mucho grande because you love your clients… you just don’t like, you know, the whole soul-sucking bit that goes into dealing with them.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do likety-split to help alleviate a huge chunk of the workload causing you the most anxiety because we’ve all had enough of the WTF moments for one day. And likety-split? That’s the speed at which we’re taking this tutorial because while the steps are brief, I’ve abbreviated them even further with a TL;DR section at the bottom of each.
Ready? Ohhhh-kay! *spirit clap*
STEP 1 :: PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER
📑 List all the documents that go into onboarding your clients. For instance, do you have a Welcome or Intro Package? Cool beans – write that down.
And I KNOW you have a CONTRACT ready-set-go for clients… riiiiiight? (If I’m not right, you really need to make me right about this because you’re better than that, boss. Seriously. #makecontractsgreatagain)
Maybe you send a BOOKING CALENDAR to your clients, maybe your invoices have a PAYMENT SCHEDULE that is sent out, maybe you have a client QUESTIONNAIRE.
☝️ Whatever it is you need to have covered when onboarding your clients? Add it to the list!
TL;DR :: Write down every form or document you send your clients before you start work on a project.
#PROTIP ABOUT CREATING FORMS AND QUESTIONNAIRES:: Did you know that Airtable allows you to have forms built right into your project management system? Yups! And what’s best is that as soon as someone submits a form demonstrating interest in your services, the system automatically creates a new record in your project management for you. No extra data entry, no copy-and-paste across platforms. Check it out ::
STEP 2 :: SAY IT LIKE IT’S THE LAST TIME
📩 Just like a plane doesn’t just POOF! show up at 30,000 feet – it needs the help of air control to get up there! – your forms and payment don’t POOF! complete themselves without a little guidance from your part. That’s why each form/payment you have your clients complete will need to have an accompanying email that does two things :: 1) explains WHAT THE CLIENT HAS TO DO; and 2) provides the “then what” factor that explains WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.
📧 Because your clients are super-cool (YAY!) but fallible (booooo!), you’ll also need to write another email for each form to REMIND YOUR CLIENT WHEN SOMETHING IS DUE. You shouldn’t have to re-write this every single time, especially with how often you hear from a client that they “totally forgot” or got “busy” with something else. It happens – a LOT! – but that doesn’t mean you have to be re-writing a lot of the same emails so make sure you WRITE THE BEST VERSION OF THE EMAIL that says what you have to say, like it’s the last time you say it (because it kinda is!).
TL;DR :: Write an email to accompany each form/payment you need completed that explains 1) what they have to do and 2) what happens after they’ve done this. Then write the accompanying reminder email that you will send out if/when your client forgets to submit the appropriate documents/payment.
STEP 3 :: GET A CLUE, MAP IT OUT
🤓 You know what is a really bad idea? Relying on your memory.
You may as well just swallow a cup of wasps every morning for the next month because that’s pretty close to the feeling you will constantly have in your chest every day, worrying about WHAT YOU FORGOT, thinking about whether you DID THAT THING THAT WAS DUE, wondering about FOLLOWING UP ON THAT MISSED PAYMENT.
📤 Map out the entire sequence of events that go into seeing your client experience through – this is what professional cool kids call a “workflow” – and it will save you a small fortune in Xanax prescriptions after you put one of these bad boys in place.
STEP 4 :: AUTOMATE DAT SHIIIZ
💻 We have the technology! Whether you choose a traditional CRM (which stands for either Customer Relationship Manager or Client Response Manager or some combination of two, depending on who you’re speaking with) or you roll out with my McGyver style of using Airtable to manage clients and projects at the same time, you need to figure out what will work best for the way you work… so that you don’t have to work quite as hard as you would without the technology, gnome-saying?
TL;DR :: Choose a CRM that will automate all your automations automatically, then set it up to keep automating your process.
SIMPLE ENOUGH?… MEH!
This “simple” 4 step process requires a whole lot of time and energy invested up-front but like anything that is invested, it will pay dividends by saving you a ton of time (and sanity! and energy!) in the long-run.