We’re on the cusp of 2016 so I want to ask you: How did your 2015 go? Did you get the projects you wanted? Did you hit your income goals? Did you work too much, or did you not get enough work and ended up with lots of down time?

This month is all about processes and plans for your 2016. I’m going to talk about the processes that will help you hit your goals in 2016. We’ll cover the entire life cycle of a client and today we’re going to start with vetting potential clients.

It starts with an email

Email is great. It lets you deal with prospects in an efficient manner when it’s convenient for you.

But there’s a big problem with email, which is you really don’t get a good read on the personality of the prospect.

When I first started getting emails about work I asked some random questions that felt right to me. They’d change every time and I’d always miss stuff that would create problems later in the project.

When those issues came up I’d ask a new question for a bit, but eventually I’d forget and then the problem would crop up again.

All of that stopped when I standardized my first email to prospects. Now, at a minimum, I ask the same eight questions of each prospect, and I don’t get on the phone without those questions answered.

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I’ve explained my initial prospect email before but if you want the exact email I use (along with all my email templates) check out Effective Client Email or my week long email course on sending Effective Client Emails just below.

Moving to this standard email and requiring my questions to be answered before I get on the phone has meant that I close about 70% of the people I talk to on the phone instead of the 10-15% I had previously.

It means I don’t waste all that time with unqualified prospects and can focus on getting work done for great clients.

That initial prospect email let me raise my rates right away as I established a professional relationship with my first contact with a prospect.

But there’s more

There’s more to sending good emails to clients than just the initial prospect email. You should be updating your clients at least once a week with the progress on their work.

You should standardize the initial email you send to open a project. You should have a single template and use a service like Calendly to book your calls.

You should have a way, like Contactually, to automate the follow-up with warm prospects that haven’t said yes yet, and to follow up with good clients that you’re not currently working with.

The rest of this month I’ll be walking you through those processes in my business so that you can run an awesome business in 2016 and hit your goals.

photo credit: s3a cc