Last week I revealed three secrets to closing the sale to help you land your next client. After the contract is signed and the ink is dry, congratulations you now have a client!
And of course, we love our clients.
Or at least we like to think that we love our clients, but sometimes they can be demanding.
Here’s something I’ve heard many freelancers, consultants, and agency owners say in some variation or another:
“This business would be a lot more fun if it weren’t for our clients. I love everything about my business except for having to deal with customers.”
Hopefully, you’ve never said this during a client call – only to find out that your client never muted the phone – because that’s a surefire way to get fired. Nonetheless, it’s probably something you think about as you manage your clients in your business.
It’s easy to blame your clients when things are not going well for you, or according to plan. The first person you’re going to blame is your client, because it couldn’t be your fault, right? It couldn’t possibly be you that’s to blame.
But that’s not always the case. Most of the time, it’s not the client’s fault. It’s the service provider’s fault for not setting expectations or not meeting expectations.
This is probably going to sound controversial, and you’re probably going to say, “Oh Jeff, you’re an idiot.” But it’s true… most client problems are our own faults.
Don’t worry, I have good news for you!
Over time, you’re going to learn how to anticipate your client’s needs and deliver the results that they’re looking for. Things WILL get easier, and I want to help you get there as soon as possible.
In today’s video and post, I’ll share with you seven tips on how to manage your clients the right way.
Expanded Video Transcription
Let’s talk about how to manage your clients the right way.
Here are seven steps that you need to follow if you want to have better client relationships and manage your clients effectively.
1) Set expectations before doing any selling
Before you try to sell somebody on some big contract, set expectations with your prospective clients as to what results you think you can deliver. Make sure that those results are reasonable to deliver.
If you’re skeptical as to whether or not you’re going to achieve success, then it will take a considerable amount of effort to break even on your client’s project. You might end up sinking a lot of hours into something, and you’re probably not going to have much to show for it when all is said and done.
2) Develop a new client onboarding process
Once the contract is signed, start talking to your client about what the expectations are for your project.
Here are a few points to consider when onboarding a new client:
- Communicate to your client who they will be working with, and the key stakeholders for the project.
- Discuss the project timeline and dependencies.
- Request client materials needed to deliver the service.
- Clearly outline how delays in obtaining client materials will delay the delivery of the service.
If you can’t set expectations and you don’t have some kind of on-boarding process, you’re going to be waiting a long time to get paid.
Worst part? The time you wait is not time you can bill your client – because you haven’t done anything yet.
Make sure you establish an onboarding process to get the materials you need and to set expectations appropriately.
3) Schedule a kick-off call with new customers
Get everybody on your team and your client’s critical stakeholders together for a meeting that aligns everyone’s role and communicate who does what, and when.
Talk about what the plans are, and the project timeline.
Make sure everyone is in agreement. That way you can proceed forward unencumbered and deliver the work. If your client says something different during the kickoff call from what you’ve told them during the sales process, then that’s an excellent opportunity to clarify and get everyone on the same page. The goal is to discuss the project scope and agree on the timelines, and deliverables.
4) Establish points of contact and accountability
Determine who is doing what and when. It doesn’t just have to be your team who has tasks assigned. Don’t be afraid to assign tasks to clients, especially when it comes to internal communications with their company.
Establish accountability, project roles, and main points of contact.
5) Define your communication strategy and frequency
If you think that you should have daily meetings with your client, but they’re only available once a month? That’s a disconnect.
Let your client know:
- Your communication plan and frequency.
- What information you need from your clients and how often.
- How often you need your clients to participate in the project.
That way you can set expectations as to what their involvement is going to be, and you have a verbal understanding as to how things are going to play out in the future.
6) Communicate clearly
This one should go without saying, but be very clear about what you’re going to do and what the expectations are. The more clear you are upfront, the less chance you have of any kind of craziness happening down the line as things start to go as you begin to deliver on the project.
Communication, especially in the beginning, goes a long way in the end.
7) Remember that the only way you win is if they win
If your client wins, then you win. Create a win-win situation. Because if it’s a win situation for you and not a win for them, then you’re not going be winning very long.
One of three things will happen:
- You won’t get paid for your services
- You won’t have any chance of signing another contract in the future
- Your reputation might get dragged through the mud
Make sure you create win-win situations for you and your clients. When your clients win, you win. It’s that simple.
Those are 7 of my best tips for managing your clients the right way.
- Set expectations with your prospective client before doing any sellling
- Develop a new client onboarding process
- Schedule a kick-off call with new customers
- Establish points of contact and accountability
- Define your communication strategy and frequency
- Communicate clearly (and often).
- Remember that the only way you win, is if your client wins
You want to win in business, right?
Then make your clients look like winners, and you will win too.
Do you struggle with how to manage your clients? Comment on our blog and share. I read every post.
This post and video was episode 41 in our 90 Day Challenge digital marketing series.
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