New Client Onboarding For Consulting Agencies

For most agencies, profit is lost in the new client onboarding experience.

Mainly because it’s inefficient.

Too many calls.

Clients aren’t ready when they show up.

Well, guess what?

That’s your fault.

Your onboarding experience should be choreographed like you were trying out for American Idol and this is your one shot at making it to the next stage.

I put together this free training for you breaking down how you should onboard clients in a way that gets them into momentum while also saving you time – cuz, you’re not as involved.

And, if you want to follow a step by step process to install this in your agency, let’s chat. You can book a time to chat with my team at

​Transcript / MP3

What’s good, everybody. In this episode I want to break down how you can update and enhance your new client onboarding experience so that you actually get your clients into momentum, save time on your side, save an eliminate headache on your side as well. So if that sounds good, let’s just jump right in. I’m going to be drawing here on my iPad. So if you are listening friends on the, the uh, the old iTunes, we are going to be drawing. So bear with me on that. So how I like to look at this is really this notion of like the onboarding matrix. And really what we have here is four quadrants. And in these four quadrants we’re going to, we’re kind of going to look at the axes as we onboard clients in a way where we create amazing experiences. And on the opposite side we’ll say men experiences, which really is just okay experiences.And on the, uh, on the far right side of the horizontal axis, we want something that’s more, uh, you know, as an agency owner we want something that is more hands off versus obviously the opposite, which would be hands on, right? And so just by looking at this matrix, clearly you would want to have amazing experiences onboarding your clients in a way that is more hands off for you. That’s the top right corner. So that would be the win. Now let’s look at what really happens when you kind of dissect how a lot of, I think agencies consultancies are doing this where they’re creating more headache, uh, losing profit margin and really just kind of setting their client off onto a bad start. So first I’m going to look at kind of this bottom right quadrant and this bottom right quadrant, we are looking at a situation where, um, if it’s hands off and it’s ma or okay, it’s probably in a situation where it is a bit too transactional, which would be low touchand low value. And so what does that look like? I mean, how I’ve seen is you, you get started in a program, you send an email to someone, maybe then you send them to some sort of um, you know, form to collect information from them and possibly then just send them the next email after that. Okay. And usually when people do it this way, they’re not really sure what the next experience is going to be and they’re trying to automate the entire thing. And like I said, doing so making it pretty transactional, which as a service provider and agency owner consultant, a lot of times people are buying, buying you and your expertise. So you’re removing the very thing that they just bought. Another interesting thing about this is if you sold over the phone and then in onboarding there’s no human interaction, it’s going to feel a little awkward for that prospect.So let’s move over to the bottom left side of the matrix. And this is where they make a payment. And very quickly you hop on the phone. This is my, my phone here. Hop on the phone and then you have maybe a a questionnaire like we talked about a then maybe you give them like a checklist of things to do, then maybe you end up having a second call. I see a lot of service providers and agencies doing this. It’s, it’s kinda sporadic where, um, you know, they have a call and they are trying to collect some information. They’re trying to have some sort of hands off nature to it, but it’s really any efficient because there’s no choreography to it. And so they kind of end in this weird cycle of having multiple conversations just in order to get the client into momentum. And what we end up seeing here is a lot of back and forth and we have a time suck and also a margin killer.And why I say margin killer? Because in this instance you have someone come in and you have a call, they do a little bit of work possibly and then it’s kind of unclear as to where to go next. So usually they bring someone else in on the call. Now that’s the time for one or more people on your team. If you’re having multiple people on these calls, which I’ve seen time and time again. And really those meetings start to become really expensive. And if you’re like a lot of agency owners that instead of selling you know, a and collecting a lot of money up front as a part of, you know, uh, a setup process or something like that, you’ve spread out your revenue in some sort of, you know, retainer thinking about long term and you’re actually losing money because of the inefficiencies in your onboarding process that you won’t kind of re kind of re up on or, or kind of actually collect on and profit from until months, three, four, five, six sometimes because of how many times you go through this vicious cycle of, Hey, let’s just, let’s just hop on a call so we’re all on the same page and keep moving forward.So I don’t know if that’s you, but we’ll call that the, uh, the back and forth. We’ll call the bottom right, which will section one is transactional bottom left, section two. We’ll call the back and forth. Then we’re up into the top left where the onboarding experience is amazing. It’s still really hands on and this is very similar to the back and forth. However you kind of design multiple calls up front without enough prep. So what that might look like is you get a welcome email. If you even do that. Then you go into a call and you say, Hey, on this call we’re doing a, B, C, then we go to the next call and we’re going to do you know, X, Y, Z. And it’s almost like these string of calls where everything is happening on the call and usually what happens here is a lack of efficiency. So, um, you, you are in, you are kind of covering up the lack of choreography, the lack of you knowing exactly what needs to happen by just scheduling more and more calls, which overtime is not really efficient. There’s time lost because of the time you and your clients are spending on the phone. And while they, I think agency owners think that the value is, uh, on the client side, you know, value. We’ll say hi for a client,butif you’re constantly demanding your clients time and attention just to get the work started, they’re probably not going to look at that as valuable. Like they hired you to like make their life better and more efficient and now you’re just asking them to be in a lot more places and spend a lot more time with you. So, uh, while it might be higher touch, which might create a little bit more of the amazing feeling also becomes way more hands on. And that’s not always the best for clients either. And really for you as we’ve started to allude, so what then would be more amazing and hands off, I don’t know about you guys, but if you’ve ever been in a situation where you have a client come in and you, you kind of feel like you say the same things over and over again, um, those first couple of calls, you’re teaching them your process, what to expect, you’re doing some expectations.Then may be either on the same call or the next call. You’re kind of maybe starting to do some work together. Maybe you’re collecting some assets and things like that. Well, if you’re doing these things over and over for every single client, I’d argue that you can create a system and a process and harness even automation to make it a whole lot better. And what that looks like for us in, in this onboarding matrix is something that’s again, amazing for them, but also hands off. Okay. And so what we first want to do is we want to send them some training, and this can be in the form of video. So imagine a little, they get a little training as step one. And really this training is, um, all about letting them know how you work, what to expect, here’s where you go to get help.Um, here’s what not to do. Uh, here’s what to do if you want to have the most success with this. So we start training our clients to be a good client. Then we show them, uh, we kind of get them into momentum. So call it a warmup, right? And you know, we wanna we want to start moving them towards a goal as to why they’re here. So we have a to B and we want to start getting them in momentum. And that might come from, you know, a homework assignment. Maybe you give them a checklist of things to do, but we want to get their brain flowing and in the realm of like, Hey, we’re, we’re all in this, we’re in the same book and we’re even on the same page as to what needs to happen here for, for you to get the results that you want.And so if we train them, then they start doing some work, warming up their brain to some of the things that we’re going to be doing together and then get them on the phone, back to my sexy phone drawing. They’re going to show up to this call ready. And you know, with our clients, we have them go through a training process where they create what we call the ready client experience so that every time a client shows up for the call, that first initial call, they are already in momentum. Like they’ve clients have already done some of the work for you. So that this call becomes really efficient. And so the hands off piece is actually this green section that I’m going to draw right here is where you’re kind of getting them in momentum before the hands on experience. And that hands on experience that call can be a lot more effective, a lot more efficient and moving people into the next stage.So we call this already client experience. And when you do it this way, you actually have, uh, a situation where, let’s do a dark green here. What we’ve found is that it’s a little bit more scalable because you have ready clients showing up. You’re not losing time and money. And really it’s because you are controlling the experience and it’s choreographed keyword. They’re choreographed. It’s not just, Hey, let’s figure it out on all of these calls. Sort of like we’ve been doing in these bottom sections. And you know, down here I’d say, you know, if you’re in services, you don’t want to be transactional. Nobody really wants that. Um, and then I, I’d kinda argue that these are, you know, steps in the right direction, the, you know, back and forth and the time lost. There’s benefits to those better than doing it all transactional. But really it’s still sort of like a subpar experience.So we really want to aim for this top right quadrant where it’s amazing and hands off and every time we’ve worked with an agency client, even in our coaching and consulting side of the business, when a client shows up and they’ve already done some work that call that kickoff experience is way more efficient because we’re not only are they already in momentum, we’re able to point them into the next appropriate step as to how we’re going to help them in our own process. So hopefully you found this, this helpful. Um, I think a big fear that a lot of service providers, agency owners have when bringing a client into the fulfillment side of the business and harnessing technology is that they’re going to over automate it and over automate it in a way where it does become transactional. And that’s obviously the last thing we want.That’s that bottom right quadrant. You don’t want to fully automate everything. You want to harness automation to get your client in momentum and also limit the amount of back and forth headache energy that is consumed from you and your team on the fulfillment side before the work starts, right? Because there’s that gap between they pay you and work starting over here. And most of the profitability that I see happen or see lost in service providers and agencies is right in that gap because of the, the lack of choreography, the lack of you training them and warming them up to the work that’s about to be getting started. So I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. How are you onboarding clients? How amazing and hands off is it versus you know, tedious, laborious and hands-on. Comment below. I’d love your thoughts and if you are looking to streamline how you onboard clients so that you can two to three X your capacity.I’m going to put a link in the section below here so you can schedule a call with myself and or a member of the team. And really we’re just going to diagnose where you guys are at, uh, with your services and how you currently onboard people, how you currently fulfill on your services to streamline some of these things for you. And if we can help, we can show you our step by step process at least point you in the right direction. So if you want a two to three extra capacity simply by creating a more hands off and amazing client onboarding experience that is choreographed, look forward to chatting with you soon. And we’ll see in the next episode.

Read more

Greg Hickman

Greg Hickman

CEO & Lead Mentor

Related Articles


Learn The Exact System That Allows You To Do Work You Care About In A Way That Doesn’t Consume You.


Related posts

Start your growth journey

Schedule a free call to discuss what’s holding you back and how we can help.

Easily the best investment I made in my business.

Chris Baylis