More often than not first impressions go a long way. It’s what we base our gut instincts on. The prospective client doesn’t need to meet with you in a suit or heels for you to want to work with them. You will want to work with them because of the vibe you get when you talk with them. But there is something more, sometimes clients that give a great 1st impression can end up being the client that turns your world upside down. Yes, even I’ve had clients that I have had to say goodbye too. These are the ones that have trouble delegating, or their expectations of you are way off left field.
When I take on a new client, I either send them my ‘What I need to know’ checklist. Or I gather my information from a meeting whether physical or Skype / Google Hangouts.
This is a great exercise in delegation for your client, especially if it does not come easy to them. They have contracted you to do a job, now they need to provide you the information so you can do that job.
Simple huh … not really. Your client has given you a business card it has his/her business postal address on it, but one of the tasks you will be required to do is to pick work up from their home or drop work off. Specifically if they travel a lot or spend most of their day in meetings. I have a client who once or twice a week, I need to take things from his office (as he is not there) and drop them off at his home for him or pick up if he is travelling. So you need to have their physical address. Even if you are not going to be doing this type of service, simply having your clients full contact details is important.
Preferred method of contact
How does your client like you to contact them SMS, phone, email? What is going to get their attention the quickest? I have clients who simply email me; I’ve never met them face to face. We all have Skype yet I very rarely use it for my clients because it can be intrusive. So I always ask new clients, what is the best way for me to contact them.
Each of my clients have different methods, one client prefers me to SMS before I call; he will then respond saying yes or no. Another prefers me to ring and if they are available they will answer.
You need to know as much as you can about your client’s business strategy. This is an area where a great VA will consult up as an SME. How can you advise your client in a specific area if you don’t know where it will be of benefit to them to hear it. Just imagine, one of your clients is going to change the way they do their online business, they are looking for incredible CRM platforms. If you don’t know what their plans are, you could be wasting your time and theirs looking in the wrong place for information. You don’t need to know everything, but a client who will share their strategy with you is a keeper.
This can be one of those scary things; you cross your fingers under the table when you have to ask, “What computer systems do you use?” If you’re a Mac only person, hearing PC can make you cringe and vice versa. I have clients on all platforms, including Office 365. Not a favourite I will admit. But you don’t let this question define whether or not you take on the new client. I used PC for years and now I’m a Mac convert, but it’s like riding a bike a computer is a computer, they just look different.
If your clients are anything like mine, they travel constantly and sometimes with the whole family. If you are booking everything for everyone then you need a whole heap of information, especially if they travel overseas.
Their favourite airline, where they like to sit, what car they like to hire, hotels, the type of pillow they prefer (yes, I have a lovely client who is specific about their hotel requests). You need to be prepared for any eventuality.
Do they have anyone they prefer to partner with or do joint ventures with. You need to know who is important to your client and why.
If you are going to be paying bills, booking travel and purchasing things you will need your client to disclose their financial details. I’ve had clients in the past organise a card just for me with an operating budget that was topped up just like petty cash.
Pretty much anything you want to do today is online, every site pretty much has their own membership / login / password. If you are going to be maintaining, purchasing from or updating these sites, you need to know the details also. Some sites allow access to be delegated / team members to be added, etc. This information needs to be secured if you are using it. Last Pass is a great program for managing passwords. Client’s can then assign permission based access to their programs without you needing to login as them.
There are so many rewards programs out there, and specifically I use them for client travel; there are the flights, the accommodation, the hire cars, etc. To have all this information at your fingertips makes life so much easier for you. The client doesn’t have to worry about anything. Simply ask you to book a flight from A to B, leaving X and returning X they need X nights accommodation and car hire, airport to airport. It took one sentence in an email to convey the requirement from the client. You then go about completing the task without having to go back and ask them for more information. Perfect, this is what your client expects from you, but you can only do it if you have all the information you need.
Your client may be a one man band or he / she may have a team of people that they outsource to. You need to know who they are, how to contact them and what they do for your client. I do a lot of project management for clients, and this involves working with VA’s and other team members around the globe. You can’t manage what you don’t know. You need to know the team.
To help you keep this information and more, I’m giving away my Client Details template. A 10 page document valued at $22 for FREE to help you keep everything under one roof for your client. All you need to do is click here. The link will only be available from 23rd January 9am ADST to 26th January 5pm ADST so don’t miss out.
What other information would you want to have when you begin to work with a client? Please leave a comment below.