Most clients are naturally nervous at the beginning of a project so nurturing the relationship from the outset can go a long way.
Good inductions have been shown to increase employee retention, job satisfaction and performance. Good inductions for prospective customers can increase your rates of ‘conversion’ (the number of clients signing on) by helping move them from interested to signed on as smoothly as possible. It can also strengthen their connection and commitment to your business and the project, and it gives you an opportunity to showcase your expertise and professionalism to help them feel they’re making the right decision in hiring you.
A good induction also saves time. How often do you find yourself answering the same questions and explaining the same things again and again?
What might an induction process look like for a design practice? It should include information that prospective clients will need so they can see whether you’re the right practice for them. This could be FAQs, answering common questions you get asked such as ‘How long will it take?’. It could also include a design brief template, a questionnaire, copies of media you feature in, relevant project case studies, and so on.
It could also include information so that you can see if the client will be the right fit for you – the sooner you can get yourself into a position where you can knock back less-then-ideal projects the better. This information could be gathered through a short survey to find out their expectations, budget, timelines, and so on.
I’ve put together a sample induction process by editing a template on Process Street. It is available by CLICKING HERE. Feel free to repurpose this for your design business – you’ll need to add your own FAQs, for example, if you decide this is something you’d find useful.
Thanks to BDAV member Simone Schenkel from Gruen Eco Design (http://gruenecodesign.com.au) for her input. She used a brief and questionnaire in a past practice and found it very useful.
Are you using onboarding tools for your practice? How are they working out for you?
Verity helps building designers get their business communications right to reach more customers. She writes, consults and trains. www.veritycampbell.com.au.