4 Basic Must-Have Client Management Tools
Whether you’re running your business solo or with help, EVERY business needs a system to operate efficiently. Otherwise, you are on the road to a very expensive hobby!
Tamika Todd, broker of Platinum Realty, has been working with small businesses and entrepreneurs for over 15 years. She’s helped struggling contractors re-position their businesses for success with little to no money required to start.
Below, we share 6 of her Top Must-Have Client Management Tools for entrepreneurs starting out or resurfacing in a saturated market. We’ve also shared her next level alternatives, should you be ready to move your business beyond being just basic.
In order to know where you are going, you must know where you are.
Tracking your numbers as they relate to project materials and time will help to give you an outline of where your funds are going, how fast they are being spent/received, and if they can be recouped with better client quotes and estimates.
Using such software as Excel or Numbers, which are using included with the purchase of your laptop or computer, will help you to create a visual of the amount of money flowing in and out of your accounts. If pictures work better for you, you may easily automatically convert the data you record into charts.
NEXT LEVEL OPTION: Accounting software. Using such software as Quickbooks can alert you about past payments, over budget warnings, and send out estimates, payment reminders, statements, etc. automatically.
With so many options now of communication – telephone, WhatsApp, Texting, FaceTime, etc. – it can be hard to keep track of who said what, when, where, and why!
Email remains to be a tried and true method for reaching out and following up with clients. Email does not need to be the sole form of communication, either.
Reaching out to clients via telephone provides a personal touch, sending a quick WhatsApp message is timely for immediate decisions to be made, and FaceTime is ideal to provide an instant visual to a colleague or client while onsite.
Just remember to follow up with your client, via email, after such interactions to make sure both of you left with the same conclusion and to keep a trail of communication for future reference.
NEXT LEVEL OPTION: A Customer Relations Management (CRM) system. Set up and send out – automatically – business outline of services to enquiries, newsletters, answers to commonly asked questions, and more. Some examples that include free options are Constant Contact, ActiveCampaign, and Mailchimp.
3. AN ASSISTANT
Most entrepreneurs think of ‘expense’ when they hear the word ‘assistant’ mentioned. This may be the best investment for your business. Why? Having another person available to be present when you are not is invaluable.
An assistant is able to reply to email messages, answer the phone, relay messages with the proper tone expressed by a caller, follow up on invoices, remind you of upcoming due dates, reach out to prospective new clients and schedule appointments – all while you are onsite at a job.
An assistant helps to fill the gaps that can otherwise cost you to leave money on the table. This assistant can be an experienced administrator or even your son/daughter who has a telephone voice and can work their magic with a keyboard and computer software.
NEXT LEVEL OPTION: A virtual assistant. Virtual assistants are available in various countries around the world. Hiring one to handle after-hour enquiries or tasks helps to keep your business operating while you sleep. Most virtual assistants offer lower rates as many of the business expenses associated with staff such as medical care, insurance, etc. are covered by the virtual assistant themselves.
When first starting out, having a prepaid number or the lowest package available seems the most economical. It’s just not the most professional.
Not being able to get through to you because your package has run out of minutes or you’re in an area that has bad reception is the fast track to a prospective client hanging up and calling the next contractor on their list.
No need to throw your package out of the window.
Consider investing in paying the nominal fee for the voicemail feature. This way, all calls are captured, you may welcome your callers with a great greeting and even further direction as to when to expect a reply and/or what to do while they wait for a callback.
NEXT LEVEL OPTION: A routing system. There are a number of telephony and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) systems on the market that can forward a call to various numbers before voicemail being the final destination. If you’re awaiting an important call but need to also be onsite, having such a system will track you, wherever you are – and your assistant – before leaving the caller on your voicemail system. Your local telephone or cellular phone company is the best starting place for available options.
We hope these tips provided by our broker, Tamika Todd, help you to shift your small business from being unorganized to being properly positioned to serve as the professional that you are!
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