Accepting new clients is always a big challenge. We never know how much trouble and risk a potential collaboration can bring.
Creating an internal procedure for accepting new clients is crucial. Above all, it should contain a checklist a client needs to pass to qualify as a customer you can work with. Additionally, you should determine the approval process. In other words, you need to select the team members who can approve new clients.
Each mistake in a new client assessment can be very costly.
The following are the key phases in accepting a new client. We have compiled them to help you avoid all potential risks.
Phase 1 in Accepting the Client
Qualified (Potential) Clients
Ese are the characteristics qualified clients should have
- An awareness of their problem. Hence, you should see whether they have tried to solve the problem. If they have, research their methods.
- A firm intention to solve the problem. This is also known as the „no pain no sales“ principle.
- A need for the services we provide to solve the issue
- An awareness of the importance of a good consultant
- The awareness that they need to pay for such consultant’s help
Indicators that the clients don’t have the qualifying characteristics:
- Sending the inquiry from a personal versus a business email. This can be an indicator that the client isn’t professional enough. Moreover, it can mean that they don’t have a company, which makes their budget questionable.
- Sending an inquiry as a request for information without asking about your service prices. This can indicate they don’t intend to pay for the service.
- Asking for a service without showing clear intent to purchase.
- The service isn’t urgent for them
- They are using inadequate wording in the communication
- Inquirer’s position. It is very different to get an inquiry from a CFO versus a production worker.
- The inquiry isn’t personalized. This can mean receiving an email not addressed to you. In other words, this is a generic email sent to many companies. Clearly, this means the chance of getting the job is reduced.
Based on these indicators, it is clear you can assess client qualifications quickly. This requires very little effort. Hence, there is no need to waste time on unqualified clients.
Phase 2 in Accepting the Client
Risk Assessment of the Client’s Profile
So, you’ve qualified the client as potentially acceptable in the previous phase. This doesn’t mean you can accept collaborating with them without checking other factors.
Thus, it is important to create another procedure in this phase. The procedure should answer the following questions:
- Does the client understand what they can expect from us?
- Do we understand the client’s needs?
- Do we have the capacity for the job? Can we meet the deadline?
- What are the client’s plans?
- Is the client liquid? There are many free tools and bases that check whether the client’s bank account is blocked. You should also check their balances and other relevant factors.
- Is the client ready to deliver anti-money laundering documentation? This is important if your company is obliged to have it.
- Does the client perform specific or unusual transactions?
- Do we have external recommendations for the client?
- Does the client have ethical and corporate standards?
- Are they ready to accept unfavorable conclusions?
If the answers to the previous questions are positive, you are very close to accepting the client as an adequate customer we can collaborate with. Yet, we suggest going through another phase. This will prevent additional risks during the project.
Phase 3 in Accepting the Client – Negotiation
Is the Client Ready to Accept Your Contract?
- You can send a generic contract or terms of business to the client. In the case of more important clients, we suggest creating a contract with them in mind. You should consider the specific risks the client brings in said contract
- Determine work scope limitations. In other words, define what is and isn’t entailed by the contract
- Limiting responsibilities, financial and time-related, is mandatory
- Define the terms that make your services completed
- If you offer consulting services, the client should be aware that you are advisors. The client is responsible for applying your service’s results
- Risk remarks – you should make the client aware of accepting risks
There is no doubt that sales are extremely important. Yet, sometimes even a large profit isn’t important if you create a relationship with a problematic client. Sometimes, the risks can be a result of working with a single client that can exceed the total profit of the operating profit or sales.
So, before starting a relationship with a client, you need to have a checklist of characteristics the client needs to have to be accepted. You also have to establish procedures and determine responsibility within your company. To put it simply, you need to know who can approve the new clients based on the checklists.
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