Interviewing Potential Clients: Why You Need A System

Interviewing Potential Clients: Why You Need A System

Interviewing Potential Clients: Why You Need A System

What’s your system for interviewing potential clients and then closing the deal?

Do you have one?

It’s SO important to have your systems in place BEFORE you start working with clients.  A system that includes interviewing potential clients and closing the sale.

You see, it’s not enough to interview clients to find out if they’re a good fit, you need to know what kind of information you should ask plus how to overcome common sales objections to close the deal.

So… What kind of system do you need?

One that gets results, is simple and is rinse + repeat.

I call my system of interviewing potential clients “Discovery Sessions”.

I’m discovering what the client is all about and how I can help them. I’m also discovering if it’s a good fit for both of us. Because I’m not just selling a service, I’m starting a relationship with this person and it needs to be right for all involved.

Have you ever taken on a client that you know you shouldn’t have?

Maybe you saw the signs that they were not a good fit for you but chose to ignore it.

Yes, I have! I’m raising my hand here!

I did it a few times before I learned to trust myself and say NO to potential clients that weren’t a good fit.

Being the right fit for you and them is the most important thing no matter how long the relationship.

There are a few so-called “red-flags” that you should watch out for.

When it comes to red flags everyone is different (you’re likely to have your own list, I do). But there are a few common ones I recommend you watch out for.

  1. Too many Virtual Assistants in a short period of time. For instance, they’ve been through several Virtual Assistants in the last few months. This is usually an indication that the person may not be easiest to work with.
  2. They’re negotiators… They want to negotiate everything. You’re rate, the deadline, your boundaries, how you run your own business, etc. These can be the type of people that question everything and can be a drain on your energy.

Like me, you probably have your own list of Red Flags.

If you don’t, I suggest you create one that you can refer to when you’re interviewing clients. You’re looking for traits that you know you don’t work well with.

My main red flags are:

  • micro-managers
  • fire fighters (everything is always an emergency and on fire)
  • negotiators

If during the interview you find out they have something on your Red Flag list, then you know it’s a “no”. Trust yourself – you know what’s best for you.

Ok, now let’s discuss the “standard” questions you should ask during the interview.

For me it’s simple, I just ask a couple of simple questions to get the conversation started and then let it flow.

These are the questions I always ask:

  1. Have you worked with a VA before?
  2. How can I help you?

That’s it.

The questions I ask after these depend on the conversation.

It’s what works best for me.

Everyone is different and has specific needs, so I just let the conversation go where it needs to go. I don’t follow a specific script or questionnaire.

Why these specific questions?

Well, for one I want to know if they’ve worked with a Virtual Assistant for two reasons.

One, if they have, I want to know how it went. Have they been burned by a VA before. If they have, I know there is a potential for trust issues right up front and I know how to deal with it.

Two, I want to know what problems they have that I can solve for them. That is why they reached out to me.

I’m all about simplicity and it works for me.

Remember, my motto is Your Business – Your Choice. Do what works for you.

If you like more structure or want a list of questions to help you get started, feel free to download my sample questionnaire to give you some ideas of what to ask.

Your Discovery Session system can be simple and tailored to fit your exact needs.

It doesn’t need to be difficult or complex.

It just needs to work!

Ok… one last thing. That one thing most people dread about interviewing potential clients.

It’s that part of the conversation where you have to start the “close“.

You know, where you have to start talking about your rates and how you work with clients.

The sales conversation!

For so many people they dread having to talk about their rates… it can make them nervous or sick to their stomach (that was me).

But… in order to close the deal you have to talk about your rates.

You have to understand that you are the sales + marketing department.

It’s up to you to get more comfortable with talking about what you charge because you’re worth it.

Remember, they came to you for help and they know you’re a business owner and you don’t work for FREE!

Go into each sales conversation confident that you can help them and you are worth whatever you are charging.

Here’s a little mindset tip to help you if you’re nervous about quoting your rates.

Double your current rate and then recite it to yourself in the mirror for 7 days.

It really works!

For example, let’s say your current hourly rate is $25 an hour. So double it and then stand in front of the mirror and say “My hourly rate is $50 an hour”.

If you sell packages then do the same thing – double it and recite it to yourself in the mirror.

You many think I’m nuts but it works.

Next time you’re having that sales conversation and it’s time to talk rates, it will be easier!

Are you ready to create your own Discovery Session System?

Feel free to post below and let me know what action your taking today to create your own system for interviewing clients.

I’d love to here from you.

All comments + questions are welcome.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. Setting Your Rates
  2. Virtual Assistant Systems

Oh… and each week I host an Open Mic Session in my VA Tips & Tricks Facebook Group where I deep dive specific topics & answer your questions, be sure to join us for the next one – it’s FREE! Go to http://bit.ly/vatipstricks.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

Virtual Assistant Training + Coaching What You Need To Watch Out For

Virtual Assistant Training + Coaching What You Need To Watch Out For

 

What You Need To Watch Out For When It Comes to Virtual Assistant Training + Coaching

Don’t be afraid to ask questions – it’s your time + money that you’re investing.

This isn’t my standard blog post, it’s more of a rant.

Thought I’d warn you now <grin>.

Seems that everyone is now either a Virtual Assistant Coach or Trainer. I think it’s great that the industry is growing BUT, do these new Coaches + Trainers have the experience to really teach others how to be successful?

There are so many newbies jumping on the Virtual Assistant Coaching + Training bandwagon when many of them haven’t been in business long enough to be considered successful. I’m sorry but you’re not qualified to be a coach or trainer if you’ve not run a successful VA business for at least 3 years (the bare minimum in my opinion).

According to the Small Business Association (SBA) and many others, 80% of all small businesses fail in the first year alone. After the first year the number falls but only about 50% of businesses make it to five years.

Those are some pretty sobering statistics huh?

Here’s the thing, how can someone who has been in business less than a year really understand what it takes to run a successful business?

They’ve not been in business long enough to know!

Not only that, they’re teaching people stuff that is just plain wrong.

Like a contract is not necessary – WRONG. They are very necessary; in fact don’t work without a signed contract. It’s protection for both you and your clients.

I’ve seen things like:

  1. You don’t really need any experience… except know how to use the Internet. You’ll have a hard time finding clients if you don’t have the skills they want.
  2. People guaranteeing that you’ll make 5k or 10k a month if you buy their coaching or training. Sorry folks, no one can guarantee how much anyone else will make. It’s just a marketing ploy.
  3. If you read or hear something saying that it’s easy to be a Virtual Assistant, that you can make thousands of dollars only working 4 hours a day… it’s hog wash.

You have to put in the time and effort especially when you’re just starting out.

On a side note – it’s definitely possible to make 10k a month but there is a whole lot more to it than just being a Virtual Assistant.

I’m passionate about this industry and I’m seeing more and more people who are new to the industry get taken advantage of by slick marketing.

Some of these newbies are teaching crappy methods, and it brings down the entire VA industry.

I know when I first started I didn’t know what to ask or to look for when thinking about investing in training and/or coaching.

And… I ended up buying a LOT of crap.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

Please I ask you to do your homework when it comes to hiring a coach or buying a course.

Find out:

  • If the person really is/was successful.
  • If they’ve been in business more than a couple of years.
  • If they have a refund policy.

Ask for testimonials, ask for proof of success – it’s important since you’re trusting this person with your potential livelihood + business + your hard earned $$.

The VA Industry is NOT standardized which means there is no certification for trainers or coaches like in other industries.

Here are a few more tips that you might find helpful:

  1. You can use a program like WhoIs.Net to see how long they’ve owned their domain name. It can give you an idea of how long they’ve been in business. For example, if you go to this website and type in thetechiementor.com you’ll see when I first registered this domain back in 2011. (I would still ask this question directly to the coach or trainer – they could have re-branded and changed their business name).
  2. Award Winning Virtual Assistant or Best VA Trainer, what does that even mean? Who voted for them? How many people voted? Is it even a real award?
  3. If you’re in the UK, check to see if they’re VAT registered (you have to be VAT registered if you earn £85k+) . Anyone who isn’t is definitely not earning 6 figures, whatever their marketing says.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions – it’s your time + money that you’re investing.

Oh and one more thing.

Yes I know… I’m what you would call a VA Coach or Trainer. But I’m starting my 10th year in this industry and ran a successful VA business for 5 years before I started The Techie Mentor. I’m not asking you to buy my stuff or hire me unless we’re a good fit.

Ok… rant over.

What do you think?

I’d love to hear from you.

All comments + questions are welcome.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. Virtual Assistant Certifications + Why You Don’t Need One
  2. The Fake It Until You Make It Strategy
  3. What Is A Virtual Assistant
  4. Tips On Sub-Contracting

Oh… and each week I host an Open Mic Session in my VA Tips & Tricks Facebook Group where I deep dive specific topics & answer your questions, be sure to join us for the next one – it’s FREE! Go to http://bit.ly/vatipstricks .

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

Sales Funnels – The What & Why

Sales Funnels – The What & Why

Have you heard all the buzz around sales funnels lately?

They’re all the rage.

Why?

Because they work.

What is a sales funnel?

Well… it’s a system that automates both marketing and sales.

Automation = Freedom.

A sales funnel combines strategy + technology to get in front of your audience, share your expertise and get clients on autopilot.

There are people looking for exactly what you offer every minute of every day.

Whether it’s through a Google search or perusing Facebook or LinkedIn Groups.

Your clients are looking for you.

And, you need to make it easy for them to find you 24x7.

What are you doing today to make it easy for your potential clients to:

  1. Find you
  2. Learn more about who you are and what you offer
  3. Share your expertise with them

This is what a sales funnel can do for you on autopilot.

But first, you need to create some great content to share with them.

Remember, all of your content should be focused on how you solve your client’s problems using your expertise.

Share your expertise by:

  • Writing a blog
  • Creating videos and sharing them on YouTube.
  • Doing Facebook Live sessions from your Facebook Page.
  • Running paid ads

Getting their attention is the first step or stage in your sales funnel.

The next step is to get them on the phone with you for a free “Discovery Session”.

It’s a free 15 minute call to find out more about them and if they’re your ideal client.

If they are, great.

Now you need to close the deal.

If they’re not, then you can move on to the next person.

The most important part of your funnel is to make your audience aware of you and your services.

Then it’s getting them on the phone and closing the sale.

So… what can you do today to create great content that will get your potential client’s attention?

Feel free to post below and let me know what action you’re taking today to automate your marketing + getting clients.

I’d love to here from you.

All comments + questions are welcome.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. Virtual Assistant Systems – The Key Systems You Need
  2. The Day to Day Systems In Your VA Business
  3. Is Your Target Aware Of You + Your Services
  4. Tips To Grow Your Online Following AKA Your List

Oh… and each week I host an Open Mic Session in my VA Tips & Tricks Facebook Group where I deep dive specific topics & answer your questions, be sure to join us for the next one – it’s FREE! Go to http://bit.ly/vatipstricks.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

Virtual Assistant Business Operations

Virtual Assistant Business Operations

Virtual Assistant Business Operations: The Day To Day Stuff

What does Virtual Assistant Business Operations mean and why is it important?

Well, this blog post is going to deep dive the key systems that run the day to day operations of a successful VA business.

Welcome to the fourth blog post in the Setting up a Virtual Assistant Business series.

If you haven’t read the first blog post in this series, I invite you to do so before jumping into this one.

You can read it HERE.

So, let’s talk about Virtual Assistant Business Operations.

The things you must do to keep your business running – the day to day stuff.

Things like:

  • Doing client work (tasks)
  • Talking with clients
  • Interviewing prospective clients
  • Answering emails
  • Answering phone calls
  • Tracking time
  • Marketing your business
  • Troubleshooting issues
  • Problem solving
  • Invoicing
  • Running reports

Why do you need to have to systems for all this stuff?

Remember, I mentioned in an earlier blog post that a business is a system.

No system = no business.

It’s all about having repeatable processes.

Being efficient and effective.

Looking professional to your clients and prospects.

Automation = Freedom.

Automating what you do every day, week or month to keep your business running, will free up your precious time.

Not to mention, brain space.

Because you’ve created systems and automated them, you can focus on other things besides running your business.

So, let’s get started.

To make it simple, I’m organizing similar type tasks into systems.

Please note: there maybe overlap between the systems since tasks are related.

Here are the day to day systems for running your business.
  1. Client Management
  2. Task Management
  3. Email Management
  4. Business Management
  5. Prospect Management

Let’s take a look at the tasks in each of these systems, starting with Client Management.

Feel free to download the Day to Day Business Systems Infograph below. It summarizes the key business systems I’m covering in this blog post.

The Client Management System

This system is all about managing the relationship with your client and the work you do for them. Ask yourself, how do you manage the following for your clients? If you don’t know, now is the time to make some decisions and start drafting your client management system.

  • Tasks or To-do’s
    • How do clients assign tasks to you?
    • What types of information do they need to include? Things like due date, files, etc.
  • Status Updates or Calls
    • How do you let your clients know the status of the tasks you’re working on?
    • How often do you talk to them?
  • Delivering Completed Work – Tasks
    • How do you deliver completed work?
    • Do they sign off on it?
    • What do they do if there are changes?
  • Issues
    • What do clients do if they have an issue?
    • How is it addressed?
  • Communication
    • What’s your overall communication process?
    • How do you prefer to communicate with them?
    • How often?
  • Quality work
    • Do you test your work before you deliver it?
    • If so, what is that process?
  • Tools
    • What tools do you use to work with clients? Tools such as DropBox for storage, Skype for communicating, Teamwork for task management, etc.
  • Onboarding new clients
    • What’s your process for onboarding new clients?

The Task Management System

This system is all about managing your day-to-day tasks, deadlines and workload.  Ask yourself, how do you manage your daily to-do’s (tasks)? If you don’t know, now is the time to make some decisions and start drafting your task management system.

  • The Tool
    • What tool are you using?
    • Does your client have access to their project?
  • Workload
    • What’s your current workload?
    • How do you know if you can take on more tasks or meet a new deadline?
    • How are you tracking billable hours?
  • Tracking Time & Tasks
    • How do you track time on tasks?
    • Do you round up to the quarter hour or bill to the minute?
    • How do you track retainer hours?
  • Deadlines
    • How are deadlines assigned?
    • How do you know if you can meet them?
  • Reports
    • Do you provide weekly status reports for clients?
  • Task Assignments
    • How do you get new tasks?
    • How do you get notified of changes to tasks?
  • Client Management
    • How do clients use your Task Management tool?
  • Your Business
    • How do you manage your business tasks?
    • Things like follow ups
    • Business tasks

The Email Management System

This system is all about managing your email and inbox. Ask yourself, how do you manage your email and organize your inbox? If you don’t know, now is the time to make some decisions and start drafting your email management system.

  • Checking
    • How often do you check your email?
    • Do you leave your Inbox open all day?
  • Responding
    • How quickly do you respond to emails?
    • Is there an average time?
  • Tools
    • What email program do you use?
    • Do you use tools for scheduling emails?
  • Signature
    • What do you include in your signature?
  • Auto Responders
    • Do you use auto-responders when you’re out of the office?
  • Organization
    • How do you organize your Inbox? By client folders?

The Business Management System

This system is all about managing your business operations. Ask yourself, how do you manage your business? If you don’t know, now is the time to make some decisions and start drafting your business management system.

  • Invoices
    • How often do you send out invoices?
    • Do you charge a late fee?
  • Office Hours
    • What hours are you available during the week?
    • Do you only work certain days of the week?
  • Holiday Schedule
    • What holidays do you take off?
  • Vacations
    • What’s your vacation policy?
    • What kind of notice do you give your clients?
  • Payments
    • How do you accept payments?
    • What tools do you use?
    • Are payments refundable?
  • Tools
    • What tools do you use to run your business?
  • Referrals
    • Do you offer a referral program?
    • If so, what is it?
  • Trusted Partners
    • Do you have a Trusted Partner that your clients can turn to when you’re unavailable?
    • For more information on Trusted Partners, click here.
  • Moving On
    • What is your process for firing a client?

The Prospect Management System

This system is all about managing prospective clients. Ask yourself, how do you interview prospective clients? If you don’t know, now is the time to make some decisions and start drafting your prospect management system.

  • Discovery session process
    • Do you have a discovery session process?
  • Follow up
    • How and when do you follow up?
  • Templates
    • Do you have a questionnaire you use?
  • Sales Conversations
    • Do you have a sales script?
  • Objections
    • How do you handle common objections?

Check out my Discovery Session System workshop – it walks you through setting up your own system for interviewing potential clients and then closing the sale. It’s the exact system I use to this day – and it works.

Find out more about the Discovery Session System here.

Don’t forget to download the Day to Day Business Systems Infograph below. It’s a handy reference for setting up your Business Management Systems.

What day to day systems do you have
implemented in your business?

Feel free to post below and let me know what action your taking today to implement your day to day systems.

I’d love to here from you.

All comments + questions are welcome.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. Do You Have a Trusted Partner + Why You Need To
  2. How Many Clients Do You Really Need
  3. Are Your Business Policies Documented
  4. Working With Clients

Oh… and each week I host an Open Mic Session in my VA Tips & Tricks Facebook Group where I deep dive specific topics & answer your questions, be sure to join us for the next one – it’s FREE! Go to http://bit.ly/vatipstricks.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

Virtual Assistant Systems

Virtual Assistant Systems

Virtual Assistant Systems:
The Key Systems You Need.

Do you know the key Virtual Assistant Systems you need for your business?

Welcome to the third blog post in the Setting up a Virtual Assistant Business series.

This blog post is all about Virtual Assistant Systems.

If you haven’t read the first blog post in this series, I invite you to do so before jumping into this one.

You can read it HERE.

As I’ve said before a business is a system.

A poorly designed system leads to poor and inconsistent results.

That’s why it’s important to take the time to design, implement and document the right systems in your business.

Here are the 4 key business systems you need.

  1. Operations – running the business
  2. Marketing – making your audience aware
  3. Sales – getting clients
  4. Delivery – delivering your services

Each one of these systems are necessary to having a thriving business.

In fact, these are the same systems your clients should have in their own business.

If not, you can help them design and implement them as a service. (That’s for another blog post…)

Back to the 4 key systems…

Why do you need them?

Systems are how you run your business and you should have a system for everything you do.

A documented checklist or even a full blown Operations manual that lists the systems you use.

Remember… No systems = No business.

You don’t want to re-create the wheel every time you sign on a new client or take on a new task.

You need to have a system for everything you do in your business.

Too many people don’t take the time to design, implement and document their systems.

Instead they use hope as a tactic.

They hope they remember the steps the next time they sign a new client…

Hope is not a reliable tactic.

You must spend the time and energy when you’re setting up your Virtual Assistant business to create and implement your systems.

Oh, and document them too!

Systems work together which means they overlap.

All of your key business systems work together to run your business.

Feel free to download a copy of the Key Systems Infograph below, it’s a great reference to keep handy.

The next blog post in this series is all about the day-to-day systems you need to run a successful VA business. You can read it here.

What Virtual Assistant Systems do you have implemented in your business?

Feel free to post below and let me know what action your taking today to implement key systems in your business.

I’d love to here from you.

All comments + questions are welcome.

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share. You can use the share buttons below the post.

HERE ARE A FEW RELATED BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

  1. Are You Lacking The Structure You’re Used To
  2. Scheduling A Kick Off Call With New Clients
  3. Sales Funnels 101 + Why You Need One
  4. Day To Day Operations In Your VA Biz

Oh… and each week I host an Open Mic Session in my VA Tips & Tricks Facebook Group where I deep dive specific topics & answer your questions, be sure to join us for the next one – it’s FREE! Go to http://bit.ly/vatipstricks.

Thanks for reading – Susan

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

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