Do You Vet Your Clients?
In the early years of my business journey, I just wanted to begin to make money. I did not care about where, when, how, or what type of client I was helping. I was just thrilled to gain clients. The revenue is needed and, if you are like me, I was so hungry for the income that I did not think about how to vet clients.
I Did Not Consider
- The type of client
- Where did they come from to find you or how they found me
- The industry they were in at the time
There was much more I didn’t consider, but these are some of the larger points. Often cash & revenue are so badly needed to continue the business that we are simply thrilled when someone wants us to provide services or products. Not to mention, that they are willing to pay for those services and/or products. Honestly, back all those years ago, I did not realize that I could let alone should ‘vet a client’!
Those early practices of not vetting clients taught me many lessons. Sometimes it still led to great connections and long-term clients. On a rare occasion, it led to difficulties and hard decisions. These were lessons I truly did not want to learn, especially in this way. These lessons, however, we ones I needed to learn for the sustainability and health of our company. It is also taught me to put Processes & Systems into place for the running of the Company to help me and those who may follow after me.
Learning to Discern
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. If, however, they really are not the best fit for us, and I am not using any process of determining this, then I am really wasting their time and mine.
When speaking with a prospective client and it is apparent, as we go through the processes, that we both feel it is a great fit, then it is worth every moment I spend with them. These processes also help me set the client up for a successful onboarding experience with us.
Why is this Important?
- Saves Time
- Increases the client’s confidence in the company
- It enables us to help them more quickly with their needs
I would not trade those early learning years but I do wish I had understood many things, such as vetting a client, prior to starting the business. It was a number of years before I understood this concept. I continue to be a lifelong learner, especially in my business journey.
Ways We Learn
We learn in many ways. Some of the ways we learn as an entrepreneur include…
- Our experiences & mistakes
- Reading articles, blogs & papers related to our industry & being an entrepreneur
- Taking courses, classes, and webinars
- Discussions with clients and colleagues
I found a very helpful and powerful quote from a recent article I read. I loved the author’s discussion about vetting a client and his mindset going in as we speak with a prospective client. I hope it will help you as well.
“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.”
This is truly a necessary Mindset Shift for many as we build our businesses.
Why Processes & Systems
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. 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
Importance of Processes & Systems
- 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
Processes & Systems for Vetting Your Clients
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.
Processes When Speaking with Prospective Clients
Sample Process for Prospective Client
Prospect Reaches Out
A prospective client reaches out to discuss their needs.
Exchange of emails with a Calendar Link so that prospective client can set up an appointment time to meet.
Meet (via Zoom, phone, etc.) and discuss prospective client’s needs in detail.
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.
Discerning questions – create a list of questions for EACH SERVICE or Package You Offer. These are questions that you will ask a prospective client.
– When do you want to begin?
– What Services do you currently need?
Then go to the Questions for the Services they need.
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 content are you currently posting?
- How do you feel you are growing?
- Do you need us to provide content or will you?
- Will you provide photos…
- How often do want posts to appear on your business page(s)?
- 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 still interested in our providing services I move on to the details of the Package and the options we offer.
- What is your budget?
- Introduce our package and all that it includes
- Then discuss if within their budget
- Ask how they feel about this offer
- How about if I send out a Proposal/Contract so you look over all of the details?
After the appointment, I 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 Half – Systems
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.
A Final Surprise About Vetting Clients
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!”
WOW! Can you imagine turning down 75% of the prospects that call, email, reach out. and want to begin working with you?
Don’t Forget to Count
Lastly, in Jeff John’s article also discusses 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. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading. I hope you will stop back again soon.
If we can help you in any way please reach out to me.