The Blog

02/15/16

How To Educate Your Client & Why You Should

Something that I never thought about when I first began my business was educating my client. I didn’t consider the fact not everyone would know exactly how my process worked, or that not everyone would implicitly know what information I needed and why. What I quickly learned is that it is essential to educate your client on every aspect of the process – so that they are clear on what will happen and what they should be doing, and so that your work process is as simple as possible!

How To Educate Your Client & Why You Should

Beforehand I would get lots of questions from clients on different things – from what specific work I did, to how the whole process would work, to how they should sign contracts and send files. When I kept getting these questions I realized the information my clients were asking for was information I should be preemptively providing for them. So that’s what I did. And this is how you can educate your clients as well.

01 Make A Plan

Break Out The Pens And Paper

Honestly, my favorite part of how-to articles is when they tell you to get a notepad and a pen and plan something out!

And that’s what you want to do. Figure out what questions you keep getting from your clients. Do they keep asking you what the next step is? Maybe you should be telling them what comes next a little sooner than you have been. Do they keep asking you for instructions on how to manage their site? Maybe you should put together a simple pdf on how to make website changes. Do they keep asking you if there’s more information you need? Maybe you’re not asking enough initial questions and should add some more!

Figure out what your clients are asking about and you’ll be on a good track to beginning to educate them.

02 Educate Them On Your Process

Explain the experience

Your process could also be called your client’s experience. One way or the other they’ll be going through an experience with you – and you want it to be phenomenal! This is the first, and most important way you can educate a client. Make sure they know just how amazing your process is and how they’re going to love it. This might look like creating a pdf summary of what you’ll do during the process and what they can be doing in the meantime. Or it might look like writing a thorough email template (that you can send to all your clients) that outlines the major parts of the process.

You want to make sure the client knows what are you’re doing and working on, what they can be doing on their own time to help, and what’s coming next. This will help them feel prepared, and show them how competent you are in your job that you can anticipate their needs and questions.

03 Ask For The Information You Need

I think this is something that you will always be working on! As your business and services change and evolve you’ll constantly be re-evaluating what information you need.

I realized at one point that I kept having to go back and clarify with clients what their business name was and if they had a tag line. That’s some basic and foundational information, right? Normally they would volunteer it, but in some cases they wouldn’t and I would need to ask. So instead of having to email a client here and there and say “Hey! I was just wondering what your official business name is that we’ll be working with?”, I asked for that information on the questionnaire I send out to every client. Now I get it every time for every client at the beginning of every project. Not only do I have the information I need, but I don’t have to keep write emails asking for the bits of info I’ve missed!

What I had to realize is that I’m the only one in my client process that knows exactly what info is needed. Does my client always know that it’s important for me to know the story of how they started their business, or what parts of social media posting they’ve enjoyed in the past? Not necessarily. So it’s my job to preemptively ask for that information, and educate them on what I will need.

How do you know what information you should be asking for at the outset of a project? Well, if you find yourself having to ask your clients for info in the middle of a project, those questions you keep asking might be ones you should be asking initially.

04 Make Them Feel Safe

No one can perfectly anticipate what information will be needed for a project, or what specific ways their client will need to be educated. What is most important, beyond having a perfect plan for educating your client, is making sure that they feel safe and secure in their experience with you. They’ve put their trust in you – whether it’s to rebrand their business, develop a website for their personal use, or create a piece of art for their home. They’ve taken only their own needs or desires and have put it completely in your hands. This is an act of trust on their part – and to whether they say it or not, they want to know that you won’t betray that trust. They want to know that they and their needs are safe with you, that you’ll take good care of them and give them something better than they ever could have made on their own.

I think the best way you could ever make a client feel safe is by truly caring about them, their needs, and the story behind both. We all know that when someone cares about us and our story they gain our trust. And it’s exactly the same way with clients.

So even if you don’t necessarily need every tiny bit of information about them, put a high value on the questions you ask them, and know that caring about those details go far to make them feel safe and comfortable with you.

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