Being new to the private coaching I offer, she wasn’t sure how things worked, or what she was supposed to do.
I’d sent her information, of course. I send all of my clients a complete packet of everything they need to know as we embark on a whole year of intensive work, side by side in their business.
But her question revealed a gap that I didn’t know existed. So right away, I set about creating a document explaining exactly how to get the most from their coaching calls.
Your clients and customers need to know what to expect when they work with you, too.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in a service industry (coaching, law, healthcare, landscaping) or selling a product (retail, art, jewelry, custom made furniture, tiny houses).
Your ability to clearly communicate what your clients can expect, and how they can get the most out of your relationship, is crucial.
Because clarity is the foundation of good communication, and good communication is the foundation of a healthy relationship.
And your relationship with your clients and customers is the lifeblood of your business.
I recommend creating a Welcome Kit, or a welcome packet, to get things started. This is usually a document, or series of documents, that fills them in on how things work and what to expect.
But it should be more than just a set of policies.
For example, if you’re a coach or a consultant, you could use this to urge them into a certain mindset. You could talk about what leads to success, and what you hope to see in them.
If you’re a wedding planner, you could lay out how they could come prepared for your planning meetings (and make your job easier.)
If you’re in retail, you may have get creative about what a Welcome Kit could be. But if you think of customers as people you’re inviting into a profitable, long term relationship, I’ll bet you can come up with something pretty cool, too.
What goes in this can vary widely. It can be as simple as a collection of PDF documents (like an e-book) or a solid as a printed notebook. You could even add tangible items like a small gift, coupons, or other surprises.
But outlining your expectations – in writing – is what I want you to focus on most.
I’ll offer suggestions here for what to include, but your challenge is to craft a document that says what you need it to say and does what you need it to do.
1. Opening Statement
Welcome them into the relationship. Set the stage with some enthusiasm for what you are about to do together. Offer hope.
Here you might lay out any fees that are due, what they are agreeing to pay, and what they get in return. You could include details such as when payments are due and how they can be submitted.
If you have a policy about situations like late cancels or missed appointments, you would add that here. You may also want to address product returns, cancellations, bonuses and/or guarantees.
3. Your Promise
This is a good place to reiterate your commitment to your clients, how much you care about them, and what they can expect from you. How will you show up for them?
4. How Things Work
Here you could cover the details on what they can expect. This is where, for example, I would describe coaching calls, in-person meetings, extra Q&A calls, strategy trainings, and other benefits they’ll have during our work.
(And this is where I will now add something about how to make the most of each call!)
5. Scheduling and Boundaries
Here you could add office hours, how to set up an appointment, how to cancel if needed and what your policies are around that.
You could lay out specific dates for different events or milestones (like VIP Days, special sales or retreats).
This is also where you could discuss the limits to your availability. What are your policies about texting, calls, social media or emails?
6. Decisions and Results
Especially for those of you providing a service, this is where you could speak clearly about what you can and can’t do, and the role your clients play in their own results.
In some cases, you might share what your clients will love about working with you – and what they won’t! :)
A therapist, for example, could talk about how sometimes things get harder before they get better. A coach could talk about holding clients accountable and how that might be uncomfortable at times. A financial planner could discuss the limits to what anyone can promise in terms of investments.
7. Non-disclosure / Confidentiality
This is another place you could explain the boundaries of your relationship, and your commitment to confidentiality. This is also where you could talk about copyright issues or the sanctity of your materials.
8. Feedback and Comments
Here you could lay the groundwork for a future testimonial. Or you could explain how they can give you feedback. You could encourage them to be an active participant by sharing their thoughts throughout your relationship.
9. Signature Page
In some businesses, you may want a signature page indicating that they’ve read, understand and agree to the policies you’ve laid out here.
There are plenty of other things you could include, as well.
But be careful, and don’t make the mistake many entrepreneurs make.
They create this important document once, then never look at it again.
Plan to review this at least once a year. Because just as I did after hearing from my client, you’ll want to adjust things from time to time.
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