Onboarding can help your business in more ways than you might think! You'll learn about onboarding, setting expectations with clients, and streamlining your onboarding process.
"In the grand scheme of things with efficiency and saving time and money, it's a lot easier to have a software that automates some of these steps for you."
I'm Kristina Stubblefield, and today we're talking about onboarding. Over the years, I've been very fortunate to to work with many wedding professionals, all different types of vendor categories. And one of my favorites is with systems and processes. As busy wedding professionals, really putting in place systems and processes can help you save time and money, but it can also help you define your client experience and build better relationships with clients. This in turn can help you with referrals down the road. So, onboarding is a critical part for any wedding professional. Regardless if you're just getting started as a wedding professional or you've been in the wedding game for many, many years, you should have an onboarding process that is duplicatable.
In this episode, you will learn the following:
1. Onboarding: what is it and why is it important?
2. Great time to set expectations with clients
3. Streamlining your process: how to simplify
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[00:00:01] - Today on WedPro Business Solutions, Kristina Stubblefield is going to talk about onboarding. Kristina has worked with a lot of wedding professionals over the years and she believes that putting in place systems and processes can help you save time and money as well as define your client experience.
[00:00:55] - Onboarding is a critical part of any wedding professional's onboarding process. It's not going to be the same for everyone. Depending on what industry you're in, he shares some tips on how to do it for your own business. For more information on Onboarding, visit her website, www.kristinastubblefield.com.
[00:02:09] - Engaged couples want convenience. The easier and more efficient the process, the better for both the client and the business owner. It will save you time, energy, effort and money.
[00:04:31] - Share with your client the steps of the booking process. Make a welcome email and a confirmation email. Set the boundaries and let them know how best to communicate with you. Let them know your hours. It's about building a relationship with your client and keeping the lines of communication open.
[00:11:44] - Kristina shares her advice on how to set up an effective onboarding process for your business. She encourages people to evolve their business and their processes.
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Thank you for tuning in to WedPro Business Solutions. I'm your host, Kristina Stubblefield. Today we are going to be talking about onboarding. Over the years, I've been very fortunate to to work with many wedding professionals, all different types of vendor categories, and I've worked with people in regards to their business and marketing. One of my favorites is with systems and processes.
As busy wedding professionals, really putting in place systems and processes can not only help you save time and money, but it can also help you define your client experience and really help to build better relationships with clients, which in turn can help you with referrals down the road. So, onboarding, this is a critical part for any wedding professional. Regardless if you're just getting started as a wedding professional or you've been in the wedding game for many, many years, you should have an onboarding process that is duplicatable for each client. As I mentioned, this is really all involving the client experience. And you're starting when someone wants to book your services, you're starting that relationship immediately.
You're already building on what has been set as you've nurtured them as a lead before they've been ready to actually move forward. So we're going to talk about quite a few different things that you can utilize as part of your onboarding process. Now, this will depend on what your industry is. So my goal is to share this information with you so you can take it, digest it, and then put it to use how best it is in your business. It's not going to be the same for everyone.
So let's start by talking about the contract. I work with people still today that deal with paper contracts and here's my take on that. Engaged couples, they want convenience. They do things on their tablets, on their smartphones. Not a lot of them do things necessarily by mail or having to print something out, sign it, take a picture of it, or scan it in and send it back to you.
So an onboarding process involves the contract. How easy do you make it for someone to book your services? That's ultimately what it comes down to. And the easier and more efficient you make the process, it not only helps your client, but it helps you as the business owner. It will save you time, energy, effort, and that all translates into dollars.
So contract, we just talked about that. So a lot of times that's the initiation of doing business is you send a contract out for signatures and you probably send out an invoice, at least for a deposit. I hope you are, you should be. So that signed contract comes back in and you get the payment for the deposit. Now at that point in time, I hope that you're sending out a confirmation or you should send out a confirmation that you've received everything.
Some people call this a welcome email. And it can be that I always share with people, including video in your email messages. There's just something about seeing a person in an email that can also be great. So you want to confirm that you got the signed contract, you got their deposit payment. Also, I encourage you to include what's next, how is the process, how does that work?
Set the expectations right then and there. Share with your client. Here's the steps a lot of times people haven't been through this process before. Just like you, they only know what they know. So give them an insight to here's a breakdown of the timeline, how this works.
Because they could be booking your services twelve or 18 months in advance from their wedding date. How does it play out? How do you want it to play out? I should say and share with them that you send out emails every couple months. Your meeting won't be until six months before their actual wedding date.
Whatever it is for your business, share with them that process. And you can make a process that you copy and paste honestly. You should make a templated welcome email. If you want to call that or confirmation email, make that in a template. If you use Google Workspace or Gmail, you can make a template that is already there for you and you only change out certain parts of it.
If you use a software, a CRM or a business software. There is a lot of times that you can have automations in place for when a signed contract and a payment comes in that it initiates out this automated welcome or confirmation email. So it depends on where you're at with your business and what software or technology you use to help you day to day. So once you send out that email to share with them, what's next? A layout of the process and setting the expectations.
I encourage you to set the boundaries. Let them know how best to communicate with you. Let them know your hours. For example, a lot of wedding professionals that I know and that I work with, they do not check their email Friday through Sunday because they are focused on the events they have during that time and that's their priority. I encourage you to share that with your clients, set the boundaries, anything in regards to your event, please put it in email so I have it in writing.
Also, these are the days that I'm unavailable. If you email me on Friday, I don't respond until Monday or Tuesday, or there's a 24 hours response time on emails. Some people prefer to communicate with text messaging or with phone calls. However you prefer to communicate in regards to their event, I encourage you to set those boundaries and share that with your clients at the beginning. It will help you along the way, I promise.
Now, once your client is part of your family, that's what I call it. So once you've received that information, you've sent out the confirmation, you've set the expectations, you've shared with them, the process and boundaries. There are probably times that you're going to want to communicate with that client. For example, maybe you need more information from them, or you just want more information so you can get to know them. I encourage you to use Questionnaires.
Again, we're back to depending on the software you use for your business. If you do this manually, or if it's something included in your software, I encourage you to use Questionnaires. You can also use templated emails to get a response back from your clients. This is a great way to set up your business, to have a constant communication. And let me explain that a little bit.
Someone books you and their wedding is 18 months out. But the type of business or the type of industry you're in, you don't do anything until four or six months prior to their event. So they could potentially be going, let's just say you don't do anything for six months from their wedding date and they book you 18 months out. That's twelve months. Twelve months could pass by before your first step happens, after they book you.
That's a long time. A lot of clients I work with, we try to set up I shouldn't say try we do set up some type of automation to happen at least every two months, in most cases once a month, just so they're seeing your name. It could be tips, it could be recommendations, it could be resources that has to do with your line of work. For example, if you're a DJ, you might not meet with them until three or four months before their event. However, you could get to know them by using Questionnaires.
You can actually even share with them. What songs do you like, what genre do you like, just keeping the communication lines open. Now, again, I'm back to you. If you use a software, or there are different softwares out there you can use where all this stuff is set up to happen automatically based off a person's event date. So you can actually set things up happen four months, six months, eight months before their event date, and it will automatically do what you tell it to.
You can actually even schedule emails. Now that's something a lot of times you have to do manually through Gmail or Google workspace. But I'm not trying to say you have to use some type of software to do these steps. There are workarounds you can do with email. You could also put notes in your calendar, whether it be a paper calendar or Google Calendar or ical with Apple, that you have reminders come up for you to do something.
Now, in the grand scheme of things with efficiency and saving time and money, it's a lot easier to have a software that automates some of these steps for you. But just keeping those lines of communication open. It goes right back into what I said in the beginning. It's about building a relationship with your client. And this whole thing is the client experience.
So when you start to take in and you've heard what I've shared with you about this onboarding process and again, these are ideas that I've just shared with you because each individual business is going to vary some for the most part. Here's what you can do. You could sit down and you could think to yourself, what would I want the onboarding process to look like for my clients if I started from scratch or if I forgot about what I've done in the past ten or twelve years and I just wanted, what would I want that process to be for them? Times change. Technology changes.
You don't have to do something the same way you've done it for the past 1015 plus years. You can evolve yourself and in your business, as well as your systems and processes along the way. So you could really sit down with a blank piece of paper and jot down, what would I want this process to be for my clients if nothing stood in my way? Not technology, not software. What would I want that process to be?
A lot of times when I meet with clients, when I'm working with them, whether it's coaching or consulting, I ask a lot of questions and I say to people, don't think about how things have been. Don't think about what software you have right now. Don't think about the way you send your emails now. Try to start with a blank slate. And in the perfect world, what would you want that client journey or client experience to be?
The answers lie, I should say the way to map out your client experience. The answers lie in what you write on that piece of paper.
I'm not here to tell you how you should run your business or how you should set up your onboarding process. What I want to share with you is that onboarding process should be customized to you and how you want to run your business and what you want that to be like. And when I share that with people, whether I do it with them or they write it down and bring it to me, a lot of times people think in their mind, that's going to be difficult, that's going to take too long. I don't know that I can do that. But when I start to explain to them the technologies that are out there and the affordable software and solutions that can make this onboarding process that they've just jotted down, not knowing that it could come to fruition, most of them say to me, I wish I had done this years ago.
And that's what I want you to know. No matter where you're at in your business, whether you do a few events a year or you do hundreds of events a year. That client experience is really important. A lot of wedding professionals that I talk to, they get referrals. And when you really sit back and think about what your onboarding process is like, people will say to me, gosh, wow.
I didn't realize how difficult it is or how much simpler it could be for someone to book us for their event or for someone to do business with us. And that's what I want you to remember. It's tough to take off that business owner hat and set it down for a minute and think about if you were just an engaged couple that was coming to you for their event, what picture would you paint? What client journey would you map out for them that is the easiest, most efficient, but yet effective for you to provide the services that you are supposed to for their special day? I hope that you find this information helpful and you may have questions along the way.
The thing is to not be hard on yourself. Allow yourself space to evolve with your business, to evolve with the changing times, technologies and softwares that are out there. Because most of the time, people are just scared of the unknown. They're not familiar with software, technology, systems or processes. That's why I really enjoy and it's one of my favorite things to do, because it's so rewarding for people to say to me, oh, my gosh, I never thought this was possible.
I never thought I could go from 15 steps in my onboarding process to five. It's possible. I'm here to share with you. It's possible. So if you're not already in my Facebook group, please join.
I share strategies, tips, software, resources, tools, all kinds of information. And at any time you want more about working with me, you can always go to kristinastublefield.com. Until next time. See you all.