Streamline Your Systems Today [Part 2]: 4 Stages of the Client Success Journey

When it comes to implementing systems that actually work for you and your business, it’s all predicated on knowing what you need and why you need it. That starts by truly understanding the process by which you and your clients achieve results. Today we’re chatting how to gain clarity around the four critical stages of the client success journey so that your clients get the result they want – each and every time. Without further ado, let’s get started.

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Streamline Your Systems Today [Part 2]: 4 Stages of the Client Success Journey

Well hey there and welcome back to another episode of the Mama Business Podcast. We’re in the middle of the Streamline Your Systems Today series which is geared toward helping you put together the systems that you need to be most successful long-term in business. These are the things that, if we do them now, can create peace and clarity with regard to how we approach our client leads, project execution, and everything else related to business growth. Not to mention the freedom not to spend time and money on things that aren’t actually necessary.

Each episode in this series builds on the last one, and in the last episode – episode 88 – we discussed how to know what you need your systems to do for you and that really is the foundation of this entire process. If you missed that one you’ll definitely want to go listen to that one first and come back when you’re done.

After that episode I had two listeners email me asking if I would clarify and dig a little deeper into what a client workflow should look like. And for the majority of online businesses, the process from getting client leads all the way to sending the client on their way with the result they wanted can feel really overwhelming and it’s common to lose client respect and future referrals throughout that process, just because it’s not consistent.

So, knowing that, I want to take a little bit of time today to dig deeper into what your client workflow should include so that as we move into choosing and connecting your systems, you know exactly what to look for.

Shauna and Kristina – this one’s for you!

Like everything, please take this process I’m giving you today and adjust it for your own business. Because while I’m going to give you a pretty detailed look at what a client workflow could look like, it’s likely that not all of the things will apply to you. The idea is to give you a jumping off point so that you can design a workflow that works effectively for you and delivers your client the result that they want and need.

I touched on this a bit, but a client workflow is essentially the process by which you take your client from a lead – someone who has inquired about your services – to their final result. That final result might look different. As a DFY services based business, it could be something that you deliver, like a completed website. As a coach, they might get to that weight loss goal or achieve a different result. Ultimately it comes down to you knowing the result you provide for your client AND why they need it to begin with. Your client success journey.

And in this case, when I’m referring to a client workflow, I am not referring to the marketing that you do in order to attract a potential client. All of that comes before this. This client workflow is for those that have already heard about you and they are interested in determining whether you are the right fit for them. Okay? Hopefully that clarifies that. And if you want more on that topic, you can check out episodes #66, #55, and #28 – and I’ve linked those in the show notes.

So, there are four stages of a client workflow. Let’s go ahead and break those down now.

Stage 1: Inquiry

The inquiry stage is that point in the process where your ideal client is interested in working with you and it’s time for you both to decide if it’s the right fit. Let’s use Jane as our prospective client and walk through the process:

Jane’s been hearing about you, listening to your podcast episodes, reading your blogs, and so on. She’s decided that you are the one to help her get the weight loss result that she wants, so she comes to your website, schedules a discovery call with you and fills out a form giving you more information about who she is and what result she wants to get.

You take the time to review the form ahead of the meeting, participate in the discovery call where you both ask eachother more questions, and then you decide whether Jane is the right fit for your service.

If you decided that Jane is not a good fit, you’ll let her know either on the discovery call or possibly by sending her an email after the fact. If she is a good fit, then it’s time to move Jane into the next stage of the client workflow which is the booking or the onboarding stage.

Stage 2: Booking or Onboarding

At this point you want to get Jane on the books. If you told her you’d send her a proposal or a quote for services, now is the time to do that. You also might include a contract – which if you don’t have one you absolutely should – and then, once she’s agreed to the proposal or quote, you’ll want to invoice her so that you can get paid.

If Jane accepts your proposal, signs the contract, and pays your invoice – she moves directly to the next stage of the process. If not, you may have to send a reminder email or two or you may learn that the quote that you gave her was out of her budget so she’s not choosing to work with you at this time. And if that’s the case, you may want to follow up with her in a few weeks so that you can possibly get her on the books at that time. I’ll chat about that more in a minute but for now let’s go with the premise that Jane said yes, signed your contract, paid your invoice and is ready to go.

Stage 3: Booked (Job Status)

She’s entered stage three and is now a booked job. At this point you likely need Jane to do a few things depending on what type of service you offer. You may need her to fill out some sort of questionnaire so that you can get a better idea of how to help her, you might want to schedule a strategy session prior to beginning a design project or you might want to get her right onto your calendar for her six months worth of coaching with you. Whatever it might be, now’s the time to get the pieces in place and go through the steps to get Jane the result she wants and needs. So Stage 3 is actually doing the work involved with getting that result.

This tends to be the easiest part for most business owners, because we know our craft, right? We know what actually gets our ideal client results so it’s not hard to know what information we need or what steps to take for success. The hard part comes with implementation. Actually setting it up so that none of the pieces get missed in the process. So, like I said in the last episode, it benefits you to take the time to do this right. To really think about what these pieces are so that you can offer a consistent result to all of your clients. And – trust me, doing this now means that when we start looking at the actual systems you need, there won’t be any confusion.

Stage 4: Offboarding

The final stage in the client workflow is the offboarding stage. At this point, you’ve completed the work that you needed to do for Jane, so it’s all about tying it into a pretty bow and helping her understand what next steps to take. Personally, upon completion of any project, I send my clients what I call a “Wrap Up” email. In it I include any tutorials or videos related to the upkeep of their systems, as well as things I recommend they consider going forward, whether that’s another service, a monthly management package, or something else entirely. A week or so later, I send an email asking for a testimonial or review so I can feature them on my website and a week or two after that, I invite them to become part of my referral program so that they can share the wealth of systems with their friends. It’s a win win for everyone.

And unless they choose to work with me again, that’s the end of the client journey and thus the end of the workflow. Now, you might choose to have a check-in in three months or six months from now, and there’s really no wrong answer to this. Just make sure that it’s something that makes sense for your business and your client journey.

So, let’s recap. Those four stages of a client workflow are:

  • Inquiry
  • Booking or Onboarding
  • Booked Job
  • Offboarding

Not too complicated, right? I really think it’s easier to break down the workflow into these stages because it’s easier to see exactly what you need before the next stage starts. So, definitely something to consider.

Optional Stage 5: Follow Up

Now I did mention following up – so I want to take a moment to talk about an optional stage that you might have in your client workflow. In fact, a lot of times we can think about this as a separate workflow entirely because it’s something that we move our client leads into when they are not quite ready to work with us. So let’s say that Jane jumped on your discovery call, thought working with you would solve her problems, but then received your proposal and realized that she just can’t afford to take on that expense at this time. In that case, you know she’s interested, so it makes good sense to put her into a holding pattern and reach out to her in a couple of months to see if the timing is better.

She might not be ready at that time, but she might be, so having this strategy in place and implemented within your processes is a good thing for everyone.

The same rings true for someone who let’s you know that they’ve decided to work with someone else instead of you. Checking in with them can often reveal that they didn’t get the result that they wanted initially and might be interested to work with you now. If nothing else, it shows that you care about them and that is something that people remember and often share with others.

Take Action: Streamline Your Client Success Journey

And that brings us to the action part of this episode. And we all know that action is where the dreams turn into the reality. And today’s action step is this:

ACTION: I want you to spend some time today going through your existing workflows, if you have them, or looking back at the homework you did from the last episode and getting super clear on what your client success journey should look like. Are you missing pieces that are necessary for your client’s success (or yours for that matter)? If so, add them in. Think through each and every thing you need to create a consistent client journey that provides results and leaves them excited to share about you with everyone they know.

Remember, don’t get bogged down in what tech you might need or how it’ll all play out. The worst thing you can do is get started piecing systems or tech together without actually having this clarity.

And…I really want you to understand that you don’t have to do this alone. If you’re struggling to put the pieces together or just need to walk through the process with someone else’s eyes on it, that’s what a Mama Business Strategy Session is for. We’ll spend 60 minutes together strategizing and problem solving and you’ll walk away with the clarity you need and the next steps to take. So, if that sounds like something you need, head to to get it booked.

Whatever you choose, mama, just know that I’m cheering you on. Have an amazing day and I’ll chat with you next time!

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