Client Care: Vetting Your Clients

Written by Tammy Durden

In the early years of my business journey, I didn’t know I should consider my ideal audience (or buyer persona). I only knew that I wanted to make money so I was eager to start – start with anyone! I was thrilled to get a client even though they were the wrong type of client. Part of client care is vetting your clients.

You may be like me and just need the income but you will find learning how to vet your clients is one thing you will not want to leave out of your processes.

Yes, it’s definition time again. Let’s review what ‘client care’ means.

To make sure you don’t think I’m making these terms up I thought I would add another definition of client care:

“Client Care is effectively the manner in which you, the client, is treated. It is the process by which we ensure that the service provided to you is of the quality you expect, ensuring the highest standard of advice with good manners and basic common sense.”

CELTIC LEGAL

Once you understand what client care is then everything you do based around clients is to serve them better. This includes learning how to vet your clients. It is a learning process as you speak with potential clients you learn which types you are best suited to work with and which are not a good fit for you or your team.

I found a very helpful and powerful quote from a recent article I read. The author’s discussion about vetting a client and his mindset going in as we speak with a prospective client is helpful.

“Rather than seeing every potential sale as a “must-have,” we instead treat the meeting as if we are looking to hire a new person. They have to check the boxes for us in being a good, honest company that is genuinely interested in succeeding the right way. They have to recognize the value in our work and be willing to let us bring our creativity to bear in helping them.”

-Jeff Jahn

This should be a necessary Mindset Shift for us all as we vet clients moving forward.

There were several items I should have considered when meeting with a potential client. Here are a few of them.

  • The type of client they were
  • Where did they come from to find you
  • The industry they were in at the time
  • The services they needed (or wanted)

And there may be more but I’m trying to give you an overall view.

Quite often, especially early in your business, you need cash flow & let’s be completely honest, you need income, and money coming in. I’ve been there and sometimes I can be there again. Because you need the income so desperately you are thrilled when someone wants to purchase your online services or products. Not to mention, that they are willing to pay for those services and/or products.

When I started, all those years ago, I did not realize that I should vet my clients. Not practicing this taught me many hard lessons along the way.

On a rare occasion, it led to difficulties and hard decisions. These were lessons I truly did not want to learn (who wants to learn hard lessons), especially this way. These lessons, however, are the ones I needed to help me sustain my business.

One lesson I learned early on was that I needed to put Processes & Systems in place to keep things moving smoothly, especially as my business grew. When I began adding a team it was evident that processes should be in place. Were it not for a wonderful team member (you know who you are and how much I appreciated you) who enjoyed processes and systems and helping me with them I’m not sure I would have had them in place for the entire business.

You may wonder why Processes are important. They are for several reasons and I’ve listed a few below.

  • Saves Time
  • Increases the client’s confidence in the company
  • Let’s a prospective client see you are prepared
  • It enables us to help them more quickly with their needs
  • Allows both parties to find out if they are a good fit

Processes and systems are needed for the smooth running of your business. Processes are every step in one task it takes to do that task. Systems are any software, platform, etc., used to complete those processes.

Let’s also remember my story about how I would have lost my business when I coded in the hospital a few years ago! I won’t bore you with it again but if you haven’t read it I recount part of it in “5 Reasons You Need Processes and Systems”

I know I prefer (and am sure you do as well) a good experience for each prospective client when they come in contact with anyone from our team. That is why it is best to have a system for vetting your prospective clients mixed into your client care routine. If they are not the best fit for you and you are not using any process of determining this, then you are wasting their time and yours. Not to mention you could bring on a new client that is not the right fit at all. This can end up disastrous. Leaving you with a bad taste and an unhappy client that you hope will not do a review of your services.

When speaking with a prospective client and it is apparent, as we go through your processes of discerning questions to ask, that we both feel it is a great fit then it is worth every moment I spend with them. These processes help me set the client up for a successful onboarding experience as well.

Do you have processes, including a list of questions, to help discern if your prospect would make a good client?

I would not trade those early learning years although I wish I had understood so much more. Especially things like the client care of vetting a client in the early stage of starting the business. It was several years before I understood and grasped this concept.

Being a lifelong learner is something I do, especially in my business journey. I would much rather, however, learn through studying, taking courses, reading, and attending workshops. I do not like experiential learning where I must suffer difficulties to learn the subject <wink>.

We all learn in many ways. Some of the ways I have learned as an entrepreneur include…

  • My experiences with clients (good and bad)
  • Mistakes I (or my team) made in helping clients or providing services
  • Reading articles, blogs & papers related to our industry & being an entrepreneur
  • Taking courses, classes, and webinars
  • Discussions online and in meetings with clients and colleagues

As I have already mentioned Processes & Systems are a necessity for every business. Just as it became very apparent to me, as we grew, that Not EVERY Client is a good fit for us. I learned that I had to be a little more discerning.

By using Processes & Systems it put in place the boundaries needed that allowed me to discern prospective clients better.

fearless business boss

The truth is that without systems & processes in place for every area of business, it will be as if you are ruling a country without laws. Whoever has the assigned task can decide HOW to do that task if processes are not already in place for this.

“Processes and Systems are so important to a business. They are the backbone on which the company runs daily. As they are an integral part of the growing breathing thing we call our business. “

-Tammy S. Durden
  • Provide actions that help lead to decisions that need to be made (Ex: Questions for interviewing a new team member)
  • Give directions & steps on how to accomplish a client task
  • Increase productivity
  • To enable someone to see the progress on client tasks
  • Help the Team & Client to understand the workflow
  • Provides order instead of chaos
  • Allows everyone to know the expected outcome
  • Provide goals for the Team and Company
  • A way to offer balances & checks
  • Provides boundaries for administration and management of the Company & Team

Now that you understand the need for processes and systems, let’s discuss specifics regarding vetting a client. All processes start with Step #1. It is important to be detailed as well.

This is an example of a vetting client process. It is a simple process for dealing with prospective clients.

Prospect Reaches Out

A prospective client reaches out to discuss their needs.

Email Communication

Exchange of emails with a Calendar Link so that prospective clients can set up an appointment time to meet.

Confirmation Email

A confirmation is sent, usually through your automated system.

Appointment


Meet (via Zoom, phone, etc.) and discuss prospective client’s needs in detail. You should have a list of questions related to your industry that you want to ask your prospective client.

Possible Questions


Discerning questions – create a list of questions for EACH SERVICE or Package You Offer. These are questions that you will ask a prospective client.
Initial Question:
– When do you want to begin?
– What Services do you currently need?
Then go to the Questions for the Services they need (that you should have prepared in your processes).

Notes


Take Notes during this time so you come back to and as a reminder of all needs (especially if they purchase one package that could grow into added work in the future.) I utilize OneNote to do this.

Example: Social Media Management Services Questions
  • What Platforms are you using at this time?
  • How many social platforms do you want us to schedule?
  • What type of content are you currently posting?
  • How many times per week do you want posts?
  • How do you feel you are growing?
  • Do you need us to provide content or will you?
  • Will you provide photos…
  • Professional or Business Page?
  • Personal Profile?
  • Do you also want curated content?
  • (and more but this gives you an idea of the type of questions used)
Details of Package


If they are interested in our providing services then move on to providing the details of the Package and the options you offer.

  • What is your budget?
  • Introduce our package and all that it includes
  • Then discuss it if within their budget (no sense in moving further if their budget is too far off)
  • Ask if they are ready for you to start
  • [You can add in that you will send out a Proposal although I do not recommend it. Instead, I recommend sending them a Contract to sign.]
Follow Up


After the appointment, follow up via email with an attached proposal or contract.

This is a sample ‘Process’ for a discussion with a prospective client. It is only a starting point. We have to begin to develop processes somewhere. As you can see there will be multiple processes involved in running a business.

The other part is the ‘System‘. What software or programs do you use with the processes? Where will you keep everything (questions, notes, answers, processes, proposals, etc.) as you develop the processes? You should have a system in place – ready to go as you begin to outline the processes you need.

Setting up a document, checklist and/or keeping detailed documentation inside of a project management system could be helpful. Choosing a system to manage your processes is important. And the system will need to be tested and tried out.

I was truly surprised by something else in the article mentioned earlier. He shares an unbelievable statistic about their company and their vetting process.

Jeff Jahn also shares that their company now “turn down 75% of their Prospective Clients!”

JEFF JAHN

WOW! Can you imagine turning down 75% of the prospects who call, email, and reach out and want to begin working with you?

Lastly, Jeff Jahn’s article also discussed counting the costs of working with an ill-fitting client and the emotional trauma as well. These are hard costs to count but can affect your bottom line just the same. He further goes on to say that by eliminating the ill-fitting prospective clients, it has allowed them to grow an award-winning company. That should say it all!

How about you? Do you have processes in place to vet your clients or customers?

I love that you are here and truly appreciate it when I hear from you. Please leave a comment or two and feel free to ask questions as well.

If I can help you please reach out.

Until Next Time and To Your Continued Success!

with love from Tammy Durden of Fearless Business Boss

Tammy S. Durden is a thought leader, speaker, and business coach for online service providers, new online coaches, freelancers, virtual assistants, OBMs, and other small businesses. She has been named an Award Winning Business Coach and Digital Marketing. Tammy has established herself as an authority figure over the last 16 years in the online services world, and has been called the “Godmother to Virtual Assistants (Freelancers)”.

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