In this episode I talk about the importance having a defined process of alignment and onboarding. Too many professionals react to quickly when a prospective customer expresses interest in their services. They are keen to get started with the work so they can start billing. But this leads to the situation where firms have problem clients, poor paying clients, etc. It is necessary to have defined process to align the firm with prospective customers and onboard the customer.
There are Five steps that need to be considered when creating an onboarding process.
Step 0 – Narrow the Focus of what you do.
An important aspect of Alignment and Onboarding is that your firm has a clear positioning in the market.
Step 1 – Belief Document
When a prospective customer expresses interest in your services a useful approach is to send a document that clearly states your beliefs. This document will help to establish in the prospective customers mind exactly how you operate. This can then avoid people who don’t agree with that method of operating from taking up more of your time.
Step 2 – Value Conversation
In this phase you take the time to truly understand the customers situation. This is not a session where you talk about your business. The only focus in this session is to understand the customer and what they would find valuable. Deep penetrating questions are the focus of this phase.
Step 3 can be broken into two parts depending on your business model.
Step 3 (a) Demonstration Phase
In this phase it is partly and extension of the value conversation but also where you potentially demonstrate how you can help. This is particularly relevant for firms where they are assisting businesses with technology.
Step 3(b) Proposal Phase
This is where you present your proposal. (Remember don’t just email a proposal and wait for a response). A topic for another day is how to draft a proposal.
Step 4 Followup Proposal
When you presented the proposal sometimes people will accept one of the options however often they will want time to consider. At the conclusion of Step 3(b) you will organise a time to discuss the followup. Remember take control.
Step 5 First 30 Days
Once the customer has accepted an option the first 30 days are critical in the relationship. It is key period of the relationship. The customer wants to be reassured that they have made the right decision.
This process outlined above does slow down the process however the key consequence of this process is that :-
- You will eliminate the problem clients
- You slow down the process but ensure alignment
- Clearly set the expectations.
The Power of an Onboarding Process is huge.