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Sales, Onboarding, and Service Processes for Service-Based Businesses

Updated: Mar 17


The life of a business owner is a demanding one. Who has time to think about the client’s experience when you are focused on getting work done? But, the client experience is as important as the service.


We’ve all been there. The client doesn’t grumble, so we think everything is going well. In the meantime, the person couldn’t be more irritated, annoyed, or just plain unhappy.


This is why you have to delight your clients with excellent customer service mindfully. If we don’t wow them, how can we ever ask for a referral or testimonial?


Here are a few ways that you can start delighting your clients today.


Create an Amazing Sales Process


With a potential client on the heels of doing business with you, do you have a sales process? Few people follow a sales process when they know they should.


Even I am at fault for this sometimes. And, unless you are a born salesperson, the sales process is not easy unless you practice it. But, first, you must know what it means to have one.


What is the sales process?


A sales process consists of repeatable steps you would take to move a prospect (new lead) to a paying client.


Steps in the sales process include:


  • Prospecting

  • Preparation

  • Approach

  • Presentation

  • Handling objections

  • Closing

  • And, follow-up


This is a process you should standardize for your event business to close more clients.

With one in place, you’ll be able to see what is working and not working, in your sales process and make improvements.


You want your sales process to align with the way your clients buy, not how you want to sell.


But, I’m hard-pressed to find anyone willing to speak about their sales process online.


So, here is the sales process of an event planner that nailed it for me.


1. The business responded quickly to my inquiry.


She was only one of three event planners who responded with 1-2 business days, which was great.


No one wants to wait days to hear back from anyone. Especially not from a business.


It’s just as bad as holding for 15 minutes to speak to an operator with terrible music playing in the background.


2. The business was prepared for the first call.


Before the call, the business owner was ready. She had a base-level cost for the services that I was looking for. In this case, the event planner also knew a few average prices for vendors often hired for an event like the one I wanted.


3. The business owner took the time to learn about my wants.


The business owner asked questions to learn more about the type of services I wanted. And, before discussing the budget, she gave me a rundown of her service processes.


This included what I could expect from her that she felt made her an ideal hire. Then, she asked me about my budget and made sure I was realistic about what could be accomplished for my budget.


She also reassured me that I was in good hands.


4. The business owner was transparent about her fees.


She set up a video call to discuss a realistic budget based on our last call.


On the call, she told me her minimum fee and reviewed package options with me. This was enough information for me to determine if I could afford her.


From experience, business owners who provide a service should stick to their fees and decline service to those unable to pay.


5. The business owner quickly followed-up after our video call.


After our video call, the owner emailed me her packages. But the packages came with a time limit on how long the package pricing would be valid.


The longer I waited, the more expensive her packages and fees would become. This motivated me to buy a package sooner than later.


Creating an Amazing Client Onboarding Process


The client onboarding process is the process of welcoming a new client to your business. Closing a client is not the finish line.


During this process, you address your new client’s questions, concerns, and set expectations for what is in store for them.


Here is how this event planner shined during her onboarding process:


1. She set expectations immediately.


The owner set up a kick-off call. Along with the call, she provided me with a drafted timeline for my event using a critical path with key dates I should be aware of. A critical path for how long a service will take to complete can be done for any service-based business.


2. The business owner shared all service details with me.


The owner discussed the budget with me in more detail after I signed the proposal. She then set up a shared Google Excel document with tabs correlating to each part of the planning and service process from budget and décor to timetables and catering.


For event planners, the budget is a roadmap, so an event planner should create a budget estimate before planning or hiring vendors.


3. She set up a weekly check-in meeting.


With me worrying about next steps, she reassured me that she was about her business with weekly calls.


The calls allowed us to discuss what was new and what I should be aware of. This call also gave her time to ask me any questions she needed answers to. Her accessibility made the experience a really nice one.


She also stuck to her meeting times with me instead of canceling, showing me that she knew how to manage her time.


4. The business owner held a check-in call every 30 days.


She scheduled a Zoom call update every 30 days to recap all activities done over the past 30 days.


She did this to make sure I understood the value of her work and to address any questions or concerns I had.


Creating an Amazing Service Process


The service process is how you provide your services to a client. This means creating tasks, schedules, activities, and routines for how your service will be delivered.


Part of this process includes the service itself. It also includes levels of client participation and contact.


For this event planner, she not only pulled off a fantastic event but added a few touches to her service process that were memorable.


Memorable Service Delivery Elements


  1. When she was not available, she had an email autoresponder that thanked me for reaching out. The autoresponder provided her office hours and when I could expect to hear back from her as well.

  2. Sometimes clients forget boundaries. Being reminded of them in a friendly way has to be respected.

  3. She put me on a mailing list that provided me with weekly tips and trends that her clients should know.

  4. Given that this was an event, the planner made me feel like a guest at my event instead of an event planner, too.


Question


How have you improved your sales, onboarding, or service processes that you now see delights your clients? Leave your answer in the comments.