3 Steps For Onboarding New Clients

onboarding new clients
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Onboarding new clients are important to do even as a freelancer as it builds a great client freelancer relationship right from the start. Onboarding new clients create that strong foundation for success that we need. Plus, onboarding new clients will establish specific ways in which you will be working together without any ill-feeling.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links’. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

onboarding new client

Though before you even start onboarding new clients, you should have in place a stellar CRM system. CRM systems will make sure that you can nurture the relationship with a client before you start working with them.

Read here as to how you can use CRM for the onboarding process.

Step 1 Sign Contract

As your new client has accepted your pitch and would now like to work with you. Your first step is to sign a contract. 

onboarding new client

You’re probably wondering why having a client contract is important for your freelance business. Simply because it protects you and your client from any issues that can come further down the line.

Issues that usually arise further down the line typically involve the client not paying the invoice. Plus clients can usually put together an argument that you did not carry out the work that was promised or required. Or they claim it was subpar and should not have to pay the invoice. 

Therefore, having a legal contract outlines what specific work will be undertaken and for the specific price. With the agreement in writing and signed by both parties goes a long way to say that the work done should be paid as that was what was agreed.

Likewise, if you do not deliver the agreed work to the client, then they have the right to refuse paying the invoice.

If the client is somewhat slow at signing the contract or does not really seem keen about doing so then

  • Talk to them about why
  • Explain how having a contract protects the client from any issues that may arise in the future (really explain to them about how it benefits them, they aren’t interested in the benefits to you)

Still not convinced having a contract is right for you? Click here to read more reasons why contracts are so important.

Step 2 Welcoming Stage

You have just started the relationship with the client on a positive note. Let’s now reinforce this and grow it by making the client feel special. Welcoming packs creates the feeling of being special and reduces the chances of future problems. So what goes inside a welcome package? Here are 5 things that you will want to include

#1 Intentional But Brief Welcome Letter

Welcome letter that could be something as simple as 

Dear [Client],

 Just a quick note to say how excited we are to have you as our new client.

We understand how many other companies are out there so we offer our sincere thanks for choosing [Company] as your [your type of service] provider.

#2 Information Sheet

Information such as contact details to get in quick contact with yo, what times you are available and a frequently asked questions sheet. Frequently asked questions that the client may have in how you operate and will complete any work.

#3 Branded Pen

Yes, that staple gift of a branded pen is still used today. What it does is keep reinforcing that brand message even after they stop using your services. Or someone the client knows and sees the pen will also seethe brand message. Working in a word of mouth marketing kind of way.

Though gifts cannot stop at branded pen, companies and freelancers are now going even further with branded

  • Notebooks
  • Mouse Pads
  • Letterheads
  • Mugs
  • Calendars

If you like the idea of having your own branded mugs and stationery, here is a UK supplier who can help you out. Click here to check them out and the brands they work with.

Step 3 Communicating with Project Management App Trello

Trello has its origins in agile project management and comprises three core components

  1. Boards
  2. Columns 
  3. Cards 

For each new project, I create a new board on Trello. Columns and cards then capture what needs to be done and when it needs to be done, by whom. While a “conventional” agile scrum board would have columns for “To Do”, “In Progress” and “Done”. 

For my freelance business, I find that columns for months or weeks work better for me and my clients. That’s probably because most of the projects I have supported can run for up to several months (especially if I have taken on a larger digital marketing project). Compared with a typical 1 or 2 week writing project.

To learn more about how Trello works, check out this quick and handy guide.

6 thoughts on “3 Steps For Onboarding New Clients

  1. This is fantastic, practical information about onboarding clients so they feel welcomed and start the relationship on the right foot. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you for reading. Some people I’ve seen have just forgotten the basic principle of relationship marketing and how it is valid in a freelancer client relationship.

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