You need to schedule, confirm and remind clients about meetings
You’ve placed an ad for your bookkeeping services, received an enquiry from a prospective client and booked a meeting.
Well done! Before you break out the champagne however, there are a few things you need to do to ensure that you don’t lose this client before you’ve even completed their first assignment.
1. Be Responsive with Good Customer Service
Email using your computer AND mobile
It’s good practice to check your messages and emails regularly throughout the day. It’s even more critical when you’ve just posted a fresh ad for your bookkeeping services.
When you receive a lead from a prospective client, you need to respond immediately. By the time they have sent you their enquiry, your prospect has already gone through the process of analysing and identifying their business problem, recognising their need for a bookkeeper, and then made the decision to take action today.
You need to speak with them while the issues are still clear in their mind and they feel a sense of urgency. It’s also likely that they have contacted other bookkeepers to get quotes too.
If you have the client’s phone number, make a call.
An email might feel safer if you are anxious about communicating verbally, however a phone call is more direct and professional. Your objective is to get ahead of the competition, seek to understand the client’s problem and secure a meeting.
2. Clarify the Issues
Take the time to ask your prospect some qualifying questions, particularly about the main issues they are facing. Clarifying their issues upfront will help you to:
- Demonstrate that you understand the problem
- Identify whether or not you are the right person for the job
- Offer a solution
- Gain agreement
- Plan a course of action
Start with a few open-ended questions to get them talking and then ask more targeted questions. It’s better to know this information now rather than later, and save you both time and inconvenience if it turns out that you need to refer them to somebody else.
If they brush off your questions because of their frustration or don’t know how to explain their issues, ask the question again or mention specific issues that you believe they face. Explain that you want to be clear about the facts so that you can recommend the most appropriate solution.
Great Customer Service can make a massive difference in how much you earn and how successful your business becomes.
3. Schedule and Confirm the Meeting—Then Confirm It Again
Secure the meeting
Ideally, you should ask for a meeting or gain agreement to move forward at the end of the first call. You should be confident and assertive, and there should be no doubt about what happens next. For example:
“Based on what you’ve told me today, I’m confident that I can help you meet your ATO deadline. I would suggest that we schedule a meeting at your office within the next few days so that I can review your payroll records.”
“If I was able to get that information for you by tomorrow, would that give you enough time to make a decision?”
Follow up until you secure a meeting
If you’re not able to get a commitment after the first phone call, you should always follow up with the prospects you’ve qualified within an agreed time-frame. Try to firm up a start date to do the work, or schedule a time if you are going to offer some free help via Zoom etc. For example:
“How about I give you a call on Friday to confirm the next steps?”
“I have an opening on Wednesday afternoon. Does 2pm work for you?”
Use Microsoft Outlook or Google Workspace
Always schedule any meeting in Outlook or Google Workspace for the duration of the work. Your client will be impressed, it will block out their calendar and they’ll receive an invite via email.
Always make sure you enter the client’s address in the calendar invite (if you are visiting them). They can then correct you if it’s wrong, but you can also just tap a link in your phone on the day and have the address in your Google Maps to help you navigate to the site. This is PARTICULARLY important if you are scheduling appointments for a client as their virtual assistant!
Confirm your appointment
Always confirm via SMS or a phone call that you have created the calendar invite. This will prompt the client to look for it and make them aware that you’ve done it, allowing them to come back to you if they can’t make it.
Always remind them a day before that you will be coming out the next day at the scheduled time. People are busy and some may assume that you may NOT arrive if they don’t hear from you.
Always schedule your meeting at least a few business days from your call. This gives them time to get themselves organised and also shows them that you are BUSY on the other days. DON’T schedule a training session with a new client first thing on a Monday morning. If they need to cancel, they’ll have to text or call you over the weekend.
Demonstrate excellent Virtual Assistant Skills
It’s your job to ensure that the client is kept informed at every stage and when you perform the tasks of a great Virtual Assistant you’ll demonstrate to the client that you can manage your own affairs very efficiently.
4. Take Care of Money Matters First
- Try to invoice your client with payment due prior to the visit. This is only required the first time, and also ensures that they have your rate.
- Make sure that if they didn’t pay your invoice before your first visit that they do it while you are still at their premises after the work has been completed.
- This also gives you an opportunity to let them know about your terms of trade.
- It confirms that you expect to be paid for this meeting
5. Review and Follow Up
Taking time to assess the success or failure of your lead management process will help you to understand what worked well and how you could improve next time.
- Make sure you send them your Facebook, Google My Business or TrustPilot link for a review and testimonials after each visit.
- Renew your ads on Google or Facebook Marketplace if they expire.
- Change your online ads if you didn’t get any responses in the most recent campaign.
It pays to make sure that you handle your sales enquiries promptly, professionally and confidently. You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and if it’s not you, it will be somebody else.
Scheduling hiccups will occur from time to time, but if you stick to a proven and trusted process you will have a much better chance of retaining your clients for future work opportunities.
Xero Bookkeeping—How to Respond to Ad Enquiries
Asking a few targeted questions up front will help you to qualify your prospect and ensure that they are the right fit for your services. It will also serve as an opportunity to build rapport and find out where they are in their decision making process.
Xero Bookkeeping Business—Ads Without Follow Up is Throwing Money Away (Sales Pipeline)
When you’re receiving enquiries about your bookkeeping services from a variety of different sources it can be difficult to keep track of them all. Having a system in place to manage your sales pipeline ensures that you don’t miss any opportunities, and that you are able to maximise the potential of every sales enquiry.