Client trust is one of the most important issues faced by today’s digital agencies, especially in the B2B field. If the client doesn’t trust your agency, nothing else matters. You will be unable to move forward and deliver wins for them, and they will stop listening to you. Being properly prepared for a meeting — more specifically an on-boarding call — is a very important part of building trust with clients. You want to convey professionalism, be confident in your capabilities, and have a clear understanding of what you’re going to accomplish. Unfortunately, many digital agencies don’t seem to be able to properly engage clients through these calls, fail to build strong relationships, and end up losing them because of it. Therefore, in this blog, we'll tell you how we, at Workshore, use smart workflows to build client trust during the initial meeting, that is, the agency onboarding process itself.
Smart workflows are what will make you stand out from other remote candidates. A smart workflow process encourages communication throughout business owner-client relationships using clear action items and goals for each section of the workflow. Most generally, these are processes that help you automate routine tasks, while also increasing collaboration and communication with your team and clients. Having such systems in place during initial conversations help you build a therapeutic relationship with the client, maximize your time and exceed expectations.
When you build trust with your clients by setting up efficient workflows in the very first meeting, you end up saving yourself and the client valuable time, and an experience of anxiety and frustration. These consist of identifying, communicating and building rapport with your potential client - in other words: a successful client interview involves making sure everything is moving in the right direction before you even try to involve consultants clients in any discussions or requests for information. Moreover, this smart client onboarding process is the cornerstone for creating a customer experience where clients feel valued and know that they can approach you with any issue or problem they might have. This requires surety that you understand the client values, their challenging business goals, and will go the extra mile for clients projects.
Thus, it is the process of systematically guiding each client through the predefined steps of the onboarding process, ensuring they move through it in the best order, fully understanding each step and how they can participate further with your product or service. This is why client managers must ensure that the onboarding should be done using workflows (team work), rather than by one-off interactions between the onboarding agency and consultants clients.
Moreover, client managers must possess extensive experience to prevent client anxiety and build positive experiences with clients, only then can the initial meeting be considered a successful client interview. This can be achieved through conversation with clients that include open-ended questions regarding challenging business goals and their business operation. However, building rapport takes time and many client managers experience challenges in understanding client values and managing client anxiety as they lack the extensive experience required to build such a therapeutic relationship with clients.
Ultimately, it is imperative to understand that for a successful client interview, the goal isn’t to get the client to drop everything and sign right away -- that goal is unrealistic for most services. Instead, the goal is to establish the client as a favorable decision maker who is likely to engage in productive conversations in the future. If a potential client is appropriately skeptical when you first meet, they will be more willing to engage you as an advisor when you engage in a counseling session and provide follow-up information over time. That trust will be built even further through conversation with clients and availability. As your interaction becomes ongoing and more frequent, you will see increased returns on your time. Moreover, learning how to schedule enough preliminary meetings can significantly improve your relationships with clients and increase your conversion rates.
At Workshore, we maintain a decentralized organizational structure, our unique design process to approach initial interactions with clients comes from its rich customer experience gained through working on over 100 successful enterprise-scale projects. This method is honed by efforts through workforce of industry experts, and emphasizes on the preliminary, educational steps required to establish the client’s trust. It also speeds up the initial engagement, allows us to validate ideas, and build harmonious relationships with clients in no time!
Workshore's intelligent client onboarding workflow is based on 4Cs : Communication, Commitment, Collaboration, and Clarity, and consists of 9 processes:
1. Receiving soft approval for the project: The workflow begins with Workshore receiving the initial, soft approval for the project from the agency, that opens the room for the initial meeting.
2. Establishing a communication channel: We then establish a communication channel between the team leaders and the client agency for conversations consisting of open-ended questions and client favorite questions. This is the first step towards building long-term therapeutic relationships with clients.
3. Scheduling the next few client meetings: Even as the communication begins to flow, we schedule the next few meetings in advance. This not only shows our commitment towards the client and the project, but also prevents a potential experience of anxiety for the client.
4. Distributing responsibilities and taking ownership: This process is where the team leaders distribute the project responsibilities and pledge commitment to the project by taking ownership of their respective roles and responsibilities.
5. Adding agency stakeholders to the team: We believe in working together with the client to deliver the best-quality results and thus, in this process, we open our communication channel to agency stakeholders and welcome them to our project team for fruitful collaboration.
6. Defining the (initial) project problem by the agency: During this process, we give the floor to the agency, and it gives us a rough, initial idea of the project problem.
7. Research and discovery by Workshore: After the initial problem definition, we begin our discovery process on the project through research and several direct, as well as, open-ended questions to the agency to better understand their business operation and challenging business goals, as we commit to identifying their needs and expectations from the project.
8. Defining project scope and objectives: At this stage, the complete scope and end objectives of the entire project are defined in detail with collaboration with the agency for absolute clarity. Only then are the project agreements signed between Workshore and the client agency.
9. Project goes live: In this final stage of the on-boarding process, we, together with the agency, begin working on the project as per agreed specifications and established timelines.
So there you have it, the secret to building client trust in the very first meeting! And trust me, it’ll work for you as it worked for us. Don’t believe it? Let me tell you a short story:
Some time back we on-boarded a Montgomery-based digital media agency, Hatfield Taylor, as a new client using the above onboarding workflow process. At Workshore, we bill our clients based on milestones and usually the first payment is due at the beginning of the project, the second on achieving the first milestone, and so on. However, Hatfield Taylor mistakenly made us a double payment at the beginning of the project itself. But they were so impressed with our onboarding workflow that instead of requesting a reversal, they were happy for us to retain the double payment. This is the power of smart workflows in building trust in a company-client relationship in the very first meeting!
We hope this blog has helped you understand how to build a trusting relationship with your clients through smart workflow processes. With this knowledge, we know that, just like us, you too can make the most of your client meeting. Thank you for reading, and we wish you all the best in your next meeting!
Takeaway: A new, unique approach to your first client meeting!