Gathering client documents is a step that millions of small businesses and their teams need to go through on a regular basis, that’s why we’ve gathered here tips and tools to help you automate and stay on top of your work.
If you’re a mortgage broker, a real estate expert or a small business owner needing to gather clients documents, you’ll probably agree that collecting documents from clients can easily become an everyday pain point. Every time you welcome a potential client or need to onboard a new prospect, you’ll have to go through the same -often times- tedious document collection process to gather the right documents and information at the right time.
Why you need to get your document collection right?
Many sales processes start with the need to gather documents and information about a potential client. In most cases, you’ll probably request these documents right after having met first with your prospect. In other cases, client information is required even before you set up a meeting.
Whenever you use old methods such as emails or fax, to collect client documents, you’re giving to your clients the freedom to take action or not.
The regular scenario is where your client takes too long to reply, not having in mind that you need to collect their documents or information on time. Or when they ask you way too many questions, slowing you down in your daily work without any guarantee that they’ll actually convert.
But that’s not the biggest issue.
The real problem is that 81% of potential buyers conduct online research before buying. So, while all the back-and-forth is happening, you may fall behind a more proactive competitor.
The best way to avoid such issues is to set up for your business, proper client onboarding and document collection processes.
Here is how.
Let’s set up a document collection process for your business
As soon as you’ve established first contact with your clients, be transparent on the various steps of the process. It’s always reassuring to have a business owner taking the time to explain clearly how things work and what are the different steps to take until the end. Making sure clients are well aware of what’s coming up next, will also increase your chances to get the documents you need without delay.
There are several ways to create a DIY process that works for your clients, whether they are coming from your website or from the offline world. We are sharing here with you some tips to build your own.
The Welcome Kit
When onboarding new clients, you’ll probably have to consume a large amount of time in assisting them with every aspect of the service you provide.
That’s where the Welcome kit comes into play.
The Welcome kit is a great way for new prospects to feel welcome and reassured about the decision to work with you. And it can also be used as a reference throughout the onboarding process whenever clients have a doubt or a question about the next steps.
How to do it?
Very simple. Put together a Short brochure gathering Marketing information about your service or product so that they feel confident doing business with you. You can also add basic information such as contact details, office hours, nice pictures of the team etc.
Once that’s covered, you could also add practical information about the collaboration such as timelines, what’s next, what’s expected from clients and when.
The last step is to add some educational content to your Welcome Kit. This will allow new clients getting up to speed not only with the service you offer but also what they need to know to know work with you in a smart way.
The Needs list
Once you’ve got everything put together, you can move on to the next step of the process which is the Needs list. This document or content piece gathers the list of supporting documents and information you need from clients.
You have several options to create a needs list.
Most business owners will either email a PDF Needs list associated with a cloud solution like Google Drive, DropBox or Wetransfer for receiving the documents. You can always replace the PDF document with a concise email.
If you have a website, you can also use an embedded contact form allowing clients to send you required documents.
Milestones & Reminders
Now that you started receiving documents, you now need to make sure you’ll get all documents in time, don’t you? You bet!
The best way to make sure you get great responses rates on your document collection is to set in your own calendar specific hours to remind your clients.
Most people are busy all day long.
It’s probably a good idea to allocate specific time in your agenda for reminding them to send you back the required documents.
That means picking up the phone or setting up email reminders. A smart tool such as Dearele , allows you to do this very easily.
The continuous support
Although you’ve already mentioned in your Welcome Kit several ways to contact you, it’s always to stay proactive in helping clients during the onboarding process.
A good way to engage clients while you work on getting, verifying and approving their documents is to send out pre-scheduled Emails newsletters.
Using tools such as Mailchimp or Mailerlite, you can schedule in advance great support emails covering each one of your business aspects or frequently asked questions.
Add at the end of each email a clear Call to action so clients never feel neglected.
Good Work! What’s next?
You’re now all set! Keep in mind that you may need to customize each part of the above process based on your clients’ specificities. Another thing to keep in mind is that this process remains an interim solution. If you need to work at scale, we recommend that you continue reading.
Wait, can we automate all that?
Of course! There are great solutions on the market allowing you to work at scale and streamline your clients‘ onboarding process. Some of these solutions include Client portals built-in the Cloud. As an example, Clust allows you to use a single web app to create all these steps. Within 10 minutes, you can set up an account and implement a fast and reliable document collection process within your company. Main Clust features include :
A secure client portal
The first step to a great collaboration is to have a dedicated space for you and your clients to interact. Clust allows you to create as many client portals needed based on your company services. WIthin each client portal, you can engage securely your recipients and share documents and information without the hassle.
An intuitive list of required documents
Into each Clust client portal, is displayed a list of documents required as part of your service offer. The list is neatly organized and 100% intuitive. You can always come back and edit it when needed, keeping your client informed of what’s needed as things progress.
You can attach to each list of documents as many online forms as needs to collect client information. You can also share your own documentation and company information through your client portal.
Due dates and automated reminders
Automated reminders give you back some time and more importantly, some peace of mind. It’s a smart way to send kind reminders to clients on a regular basis without sabotaging the collaboration.
A messaging system
Communicate without the noise with each client and keep all your conversations securely in a single place.
Verify and approve on received files or comment on wrong files without leaving the app.
Updating manually your computer files can be quite confusing. That’s why Clust allows you to automatically synchronize your client files with your favorite cloud storage.