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Dudes, we’re almost there → last bit of this obsesh with the Welcome Packet. We’ve addressed the WHEN of working with you – as in, when can people access you – and we’ve addressed the HOW of working with you – as in essential tools, software, apps -- and now, friends, we’re on to the WHAT, as in What In Heck Is Going To Happen.

I realize this may not be applicable for all situations, but I bet if you’re a coach or a service provider, there’s a standard way that what you deliver to your clients goes down. You know it because you’ve been through it a million times (#aintyourfirstrodeo), but your client, this is likely to be her first time. Anything you can anticipate and explain in advance, builds trust between the client and you, provides transparency about the sequence of things, and helps her feel like what she’s experiencing is normal/standard.

Oh my goodness, that matters so much!

It’s like you’re unrolling the red carpet or the yellow brick road in front of their feet, all while narrating the scenery that’s coming. 

Because listen: the only surprises I really enjoy involve chocolate and flowers and presents. Eliminating surprises in the workflow is such a kindness to your client. [and may prompt spontaneous outpourings of bouquets, when all is said and done, so there’s that, too]

So once you’ve signed a contract with a new person, make sure that Welcome Packet you send them provides a useful scenic map of the path you’re about to undertake together. Enter your details below for downloadable fill-in version of the following Qs.

Questions toward defining Process and/or Timeline

The beginning

1. Are there standard activities/processes at the beginning of an engagement?  
If you’re a designer for example, are there standard forms you’ll need your new client to complete, a brand questionnaire for example? Are there videos or resources you need them to review, apps or software they need to install, other information they need to send you?

2. Is there a start-up period in the work you deal with clients? The first month for new clients with me is really getting-set-up, getting-acquainted month.  I’ll have a lot of questions and it may feel email-intensive. And it may feel like nothing’s happening, but believe me, it IS.

3. What are the expectations of the client in this period? Again, ixnay on the surprises that are not chocolate, right? 

4. Is there a kick-off meeting or call? If so, what’s discussed in this call, and what may be some of the outcomes? Are you building an action plan together or creating milestones?

5. Are there any feelings you’ve observed clients to experience during this stage, that it would be helpful to prep them for? This could just be the work I do, but I like to let people know they may feel anxious, embarrassed, stressed, but that that’s about to change, get lighter, easier, with repetition.

The middle

6. If this is a longer term or ongoing engagement, what’s it like once we’re full-steam-ahead? If there are particular milestones in the process, letting people know those up-front, clearly, is great. Me, since my work is more repetitive in nature, I think it’s important for clients to understand how each month’s work will unfold.

7. What are the expectations on both sides of the work at this stage? Maybe this is just the place to reiterate that you need their timely responsiveness so that the work can proceed. Or email is always on in case they have questions.

8. Um, any feelings here you can anticipate? Maybe it’s just in the work I do, but there’s definitely a point, maybe 2-3 months in, when some resistance can creep up & clients might feel an inclination to avoid. Is there anything you’ve observed your clients go through that you might want to signal to them ahead of time, so they feel prepared, supported as they go through?

9. What about payment? I think this is a good place to reiterate, especially for clients with multiple payment points, to talk about what the process is with progress/monthly payments. This is reiterating what should be in your contract, but the mechanics of the process bear repeating. No surprises, please, when it comes to $$. 

The end

10. How do we know it’s over? If there’s a scheduled end-date, is there a final work product to be delivered, for example?

11. How do we wind down? Is there a shut-down/hand-over process? Do you send your clients all their design files, transition accounts back to them, what-have-you? 

12. Do you have a formal evaluation process? What about testimonials? I looooove asking for feedback. While it’s always welcome through the work, some more standard assessment tool at the end of the work is great, as is a request for testimonial. 

I am so excited to fold this last piece into my own Welcome Packet, and finally get this off to be designed and made pretty. If you’ve been building alongside me, I’d love to see your final product. If you have feedback for me about how you’ve used the questions or added your own, also delighted to hear about it.