Continued from “I’m a VA – Get me out of here!”
Looking after your clients.
You have done all the work to get your client and you are working hard on the projects they have sent your way. The first word that comes to mind when I think about looking after clients is ‘communication’. Keep in touch with your client – let them know exactly where you are at. Ask them how they are going.
It’s simple, but as a Virtual Assistant, communication is the make or break point of any business relationship.
Ask your client what form of communication they prefer (taking into account what is available to you). Some are very happy using email, while others prefer the phone. In any emergency make sure you contact them via phone, as sending an emergency themed email can easily be lost, misread, ignored or waylaid.
Always ask your client if they are happy with the service. Let them know you care. There is a big difference between pandering to a client’s whims and ways, and ensuring that they are satisfied with the service they are paying for.
Communication is also important when you need to express concerns about any area of the relationship that is not running as smoothly as you would like.
Don’t assume a client will know if you are not happy with something. And don’t assume that because the client is paying for the service, that you don’t have any right to speak up if something is not working for you.
And never forget – the client is exactly that – your client. Not your employer. At no point is your client paying you superannuation or annual leave, so don’t forget that you need to maintain a positive ‘client to consultant’ relationship.
Anytime you are unsure, head straight to a quality VA forum and, respecting your client’s privacy, ask for some advice.
No-one is perfect – we all make mistakes along the way.
There are many ways that you can promote your business. And often, when you are setting up a new home-based business, money has a lot to do with the choices you make.
The first thing, and a fairly cheap option, is business cards. Business cards are so easy to purchase, and many online business card providers also have basic designs you can use until you create your own individual logo.
Attending networking events and handing out your business card is a great way to get your name out there. Remember that not everyone who you give your card to will require your services – however, they may refer other clients your way if they believe in the quality of your service. It’s always worthwhile to listen attentively to other networkers about what it is that they do – don’t just sit there and talk about yourself. Networking is about building business relationships – this will never work if it’s a one-way street.
Listen attentively, and talk confidently and passionately about what you do. Think about how you can help others – providing referrals where possible (only if you believe in their service provision), forming relationships which benefit both of you – duel promotion, for example.
Networking also takes place on social media – through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for example. You don’t have to have a solid presence on all of these but you should definitely representing yourself on at least one. Use it to create and nurture business relationships rather than just selling. This is a great medium where you can showcase your expertise and keep in touch with people you meet at networking events and through online channels.
Personally, I always like being able to visit a website to have my basic questions answered before I make contact with a service provider. And that is why I made sure my website was up and running as quickly as possible. Prospective clients are able to visit my site and learn about the services I provide before they take the plunge and give me a call.
That’s why I think having a website, big or small, is the third step of good promotion.
- Business Cards
After you have completed these steps, it’s time to think about unique and interesting ways to promote your business. Go to your local library to borrow some books to give you ideas, and talk to family and friends. Sometimes it’s the simple things which have the biggest effect.
So get started!
Good luck with your new venture. Don’t forget to utilise your strongest resources – friends and family. Intellectual, emotional and physical support can be what takes you over the line!
Remember to have fun, and don’t lose sight of why you chose to become a VA in the first place.