Module 6: Supporting Your Clients
As you are getting ready to close your first sale, don’t forget to have them sign a contract stating exactly the terms of your services and conditions. This will protect both of you and will help to set expectations so there are no disagreements later on. Write up a simple contract with the pricing structure, length of the contract, what services or products will be provided, and any refund policy. Make it very clear exactly what you can do and always strive to be as transparent as possible so that there is no confusion that could lead to a poor experience for your client.
After the client signs and agrees to your contract, the next step is to take either payment or deposit to make sure you don’t end up doing a whole lot of work for nothing. This can be a sensitive topic to some, but make it clear in the contract what the terms of payment are so there is no confusion.
If you are working face-to-face with a local client, you can certainly ask for payment via check or cash. Otherwise, pick a standard payment processor and have them send you the money electronically. PayPal is an excellent platform and many people will already have an account, making it easy to set up. Even if the client does not have a PayPal account, they can pay via credit or debit through the PayPal interface without needing to sign up.
There are several methods of initiating the payment, including asking them to send it to your PayPal email, sending an invoice to their email, or by creating a button on your website to allow them to pay. Adding a button to your site is simple and easy, and can be adjusted based on what your client is paying for, so that is what we recommend.
One option that PayPal buttons give is to set up recurring or subscription payments and trials. This is great because you don’t have to keep bothering the client to pay every month since it is automatically deducted from their account until they cancel the subscription. To get them hooked, you can also set up a trial for the first month or week at a lower cost and then it will automatically adjust to the higher normal rate after that.
After you have received payment or feel comfortable starting to work on their business, it’s time to get started! Since you should be charging a high price for your services, the key is to blow them away with what you offer right away and then continue to perform exceptionally on a monthly basis. As you take on new clients, be sure you have the time and resources to properly support your client so they feel like you are doing everything possible for them. This will pay you back in spades later on.
Hopefully, you have developed a plan for delivering the products and services you promised to your client. Contact your outsourcers or get started running down the checklists you created previously. You will be much more efficient if you follow a set plan and record your progress so that it is easy to see exactly where you stand and what work has to be completed. As you grow and take on multiple clients at once, a good idea would be to use some sort of project management software that make it easy to track every deliverable for each client.
To look as professional as possible, it is also a good idea to give regular status updates to your client to show that you are working on their project and that you haven’t forgotten them. Determine the best frequency, which may be daily, weekly, or monthly, for reports to be sent to the client. If you are building a new website, maybe you could send them a few screenshots as work progresses to keep them happy and make sure they like how it is turning out. If you are tracking visitor interaction on their website, give them a dashboard with access to see the stats themselves. Keeping them involved is a great way of building your relationship and making sure you are providing the highest level of service to them.
Depending on what the client is looking for, you could also hold monthly meetings or phone calls to go over the account and answer any questions. This is a great time to give a report on your status, brag about your results, and get feedback on what is working for your client and what needs to be tweaked. After you have established a relationship with them, this could also be a good time to introduce other, complimentary services that would not only help their business but increase your bottom line.
As you get rolling with providing your services, your success will come from continuing to provide high quality products, fast and courteous support, and by providing exactly what the business is looking for.
You are now a successful local consultant with you first client! Congratulations! There is still a bit more work to be done, which we will discuss in the next module.