In an ideal world, you’d be able to onboard all of your clients within one to two weeks of first contact. In reality, the onboarding process, or evening convincing a client that your business can be of benefit to them, takes time.
To secure your stream of revenue and maintain a clientele base, you have to make yourself present for clients without rushing them through the onboarding process.
If you’re having trouble meeting clients at their own pace, consider the following ways you can manage your time and project an aura of patience and respect.
When you’re first negotiating a relationship with a potential client, it’s important that you remain present in their inbox. You don’t want to overwhelm them, of course. However, retaining a place in a potential client’s inbox means that you’ll never be entirely out of mind. Whenever they intend to answer business emails, they’ll see your name and think about your business.
In order to ensure a non-intrusive constancy of this sort, you may want to set an email schedule for yourself.
After you initially reach out to a potential client, give them between two and three days to respond. If they don’t, send a follow-up email checking in, re-extending your content information, and offering additional content value – a point to be touched on in a moment.
If your client does respond, do what you can to match their pace. This may mean sending a new email their way twice a week or once a month. It may be frustrating to move at a slower pace, but easing a client into your professional relationship shows that you have a respect for the way they work and flexibility in your own methods.
You shouldn’t just be sending fluff emails to your potential clients, though. Each of the messages you send should have valuable information that your client can chew on before getting in touch with you.
What makes an email valuable? The content it includes. Don’t hesitate, when reaching out to clients, to share excerpts from your business’s portfolio showing the ways which you’ve assisted businesses similar to theirs in the past. Alternatively, include links to news stories about developments in your client’s field for them mull over with you in an email chain.
While an email consisting of just a few lines and a, “Get in touch with me when you can!” is convenient, it doesn’t give your client much to distinguish you from anyone else who may be seeking their business. Offer originality and valuable content in your scheduled emails, and you’ll find that you’re more likely to get a response.
Don’t Grind Your Wheels
Perhaps most importantly, don’t spend too much time fretting over why your potential client hasn’t responded to your emails. Your business will likely have other ongoing projects that need your attention, so grinding your wheels and staring at your inbox will be counterproductive.
In moments where you feel as though you absolutely need to stay by your inbox in order to respond to a client, consider taking advantage of a time tracking tool. These sorts of tools help you maintain a better sense of how much time you’re allocating to each of your clients.
When you’re able to readily access this data, you’ll be able to set a schedule for yourself that allows for a little bit of fretting but primarily ensures your productivity.
Know When to Back Off
Every business owner knows that there are occasions wherein an opportunity falls through. Backing off of an onboarding process can be as important for the health of your relationship with a potential client as it is for you and your business.
So if your schedule requires you to move on from a client, or if the client is waffling so much that it’s disrupting your productivity, then it may be best for you to ease off of the emailing and instead suggest that the partnership be revisited at a later date.
If the client is truly interested in working with you, they’ll be able to approach you again in the future. You, too, can reach out in a month or two to see how they’re doing and whether or not they’re in need of your services.
The phrase “I appreciate your patience while we work through this” is essential throughout this process. It issues an aura of respect to your client while also driving your work forward, be that to a successful business partnership or a partnership that needs to wait a few months to take root.
In short: onboarding a client requires you to work at that client’s pace. Make yourself available, provide value to the partnership, and contact them with an air of respect.
Even if you have to leave the partnership unfulfilled, you’ll still be generating a reputation of patience and authority for your business throughout your network of peers.