Girl, you’ve got yourself a client inquiry? That’s GREAT! Now what?
First – don’t freak out (unless it’s a happy dance). Client inquiries mean someone found you on their own time, took interest in your service(s), and want to know more. It means they see you and with any luck, they’re ready for you and your kick-butt business, too!
For a lot of first-time creative business owners, the initial on-boarding process for new clients might feel clunky. Establishing the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of working together is key to ensuring you and your client have a successful relationship. The truth is: how you handle/respond to client inquiries is the first step to making a good impression *and* streamlining that process. Fortunately, I know a few ways to make it smooth as silk and easy as pie.
Here’s how to tackle client inquiries and ultimately come across as super profesh with your (potential) new clients.
Step #1: Create a client inquiry form for your “Work With Me” page
Listen to me very carefully because I cannot stress this enough: Make a client inquiry form. Seriously. Do it. Put it as a call-to-action on your “Work With Me” page and make sure it’s available on any packages and offers, too. Ask for their name and email address along with these three questions:
- “What do you need help with?”
If you have multiple offers, this might be a drop-down menu. Or, you can leave it as a ‘fill-in the blank.’ This allows the client to vocalize what they want out of working with you so A.) They’re clear on their expectations B.) You’re clear on their expectations and C.) You can assess right away how — and/or if! — you’re able to solve their problem.
- “How did you find out about me?”
This is helpful for so many reasons! First, if they were referred to you by someone, you’ll want to know who so you can thank that person and tap them again as a resource. Secondly, it might point you to your strongest marketing strategies (like social media campaigns or Google), so you can capitalize on and amplify them!
- “What is your location?” (if necessary!)
If your services require you to be in the same geographical location or timezone as your clients, this is key and maybe not immediately obvious to ask about!
And here are two more Q’s that could be worthwhile, too:
- “What are your biggest roadblocks?” (as they pertain to your industry/line of work)
Again, this will further help you drill down on how you can help them and then respond with the best suggestion. It’ll also be a good way to see whether they need a different type of solution than what you offer. Sense a theme here? Each of these questions is not only designed for you to give this prospective client your best, most helpful response – but not ensure you’re working with your right people. Win-win!
- “Why do you think I might be the right person to help you with this?”
This will tell you if they even read your website and forces them (in a nice way!) to sell themselves to you, too. You’ll know right away if you and this person are a right fit based on how they respond to this question, and whether they’ve read your services page!
***If you have yet to get this form up on your site (here’s an example for ya!) and are responding to a more general email that says, “Hi I think we could work together, can you tell me more?” (which almost every inquiry will say if you’re just sending them to a general name/email/message form) you can simply start by asking them to respond to these questions so you can learn more about them!
Step #2: Answer the inquiry with your best solution (i.e. offer)
Now that you have the details on what their pain points are and what they’re hoping to get out of working together, you have the luxury of combing over their particulars and deciding if you want to help at all. If so, respond with exactly what you think you can do for them for them – whether it’s the offer they filled out the form for or something you need/want to customize for them – and what the expected results would be. (It’s all about the value, baby!)
If it’s clear to you after reading their responses that you are not the right fit, you can simply respond with a kind message letting them know your gut says there’s a better match made in business heaven somewhere else for them. Then, if you have ‘em, send along any referrals or references that could help them!!! (<— Great opportunity to promote someone else in your network and sweeten that industry connection.)
Step #3: Be sure to include next steps AND a deadline to act
This is key. Once you’ve established you’re a match, don’t leave them hanging! Make it easy for them to sign up to work with you by directing them to exactly what you need in order to make things final (payment details, contracts, etc.).
Additionally, give them a due date. Adding a sentence like, “I will save your spot for 48 hours” promotes action on their part and will ultimately help finalize the sale and start the process so they (and you!) can start working towards the pay off!
Final tip: If you have someone on the fence who feels they need a little bit more clarification/face-time/lip-service before they can pull the trigger, get comfortable offering a 15-minute consultation phone call. All they might need is to hear your friendly helpful voice and have some of their bigger questions answered in real time. You can also get creative with how you respond to larger questions via email by including voice memos or Loom videos – they’ve been a gamechanger for me and add a high-end, personal touch to all your responses.
Here’s the SWEET BONUS: Client inquiries also serve as an opportunity for continued evolution on your elevator pitch, practice on how you communicate about yourself and your business, and to fine-tune your business operations, processes, and systems.
Nothing is as confidence-boosting as understanding what your clients need and knowing you can help them, you amazeballs boss, you.