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Clientflow: What you need to know

Clientflow is basically the name for the process of selling and delivering specialised services personalised for individual clients. This type of commerce involves several critical steps to obtain the information and alignment required to achieve a successful project outcome. Think of the services offered by graphic designers, photographers, business coaches, marketing consultants, virtual assistants, and much, much, more.

Clientflows include both the client-facing and back-end work that go into every project—like sending proposals and contracts as well as communication, service selection, and payment.

As a creative freelancer, this shouldn’t be a foreign concept. Though this might be a new term for you, if your business is based on delivering your talent as a service to clients you already have a clientflow. 

So, if I’m already doing this, why introduce the team Clientflow?

The term clientflow isn’t about reinventing the wheel, instead it simply allows you to think of the bigger picture of how you run your business. Understanding how your internal processes and client experience come together to create a seamless journey can help you work more efficiently and build stronger relationships. 

For example, before you even start a project, your client has to discover your business. Then they likely go through your onboarding steps, like filling out an intake questionnaire, signing a contract, and paying for your services. At the same time, you’re completing steps like responding to their inquiry, creating a proposal, and sending an invoice. 

Independent business owners might have different clientflows for different types of services and clients, and optimizing each one allows you to offer a more personalized experience. For example, a graphic designer might have a clientflow for web design, logo design, brand design, and more. Similarly, a photographer might have separate clientflows for wedding photography, portrait photography, and family photography. The core steps inside each clientflow might be the same, but the experience will be tailored to each client type. 

Thinking about your process as a clientflow empowers you to work more efficiently and provide for your clients at every step because it makes you aware of all of the dependencies required to make a project successful. 

Clientflow consists of several steps. Let’s break it down…

Mutual Qualification

  • Client Research
    Your marketing efforts like SEO, social media, and digital advertising can all help a client discover your business during this information-gathering step. 
  • Initial Contact
    At this stage, you should have a clear process for communicating with your leads efficiently, but you should also be deciding if they’re the right client fit for you as well.

Booking

  • Service Selection
    At this step, the client will consider the initial impression they got of your business and which services best fit your needs along with your reputation, pricing, and more. 
  • Contract Signing
    You need to set expectations first. It’s important that your clients always sign a contract before you begin working together so you know they’re agreeing to the scope of work, pricing, timeline, and more. A contract is also how you’ll protect your business from anything unexpected. 
  • Invoice and Payment

Project Management

  • Execution
    Communication is key through your clientflow, but it’s especially important once the work has begun to ensure project alignment, progress reporting, and relationship building. Make sure you’re communicating with your clients consistently in their preferred methods and meeting their needs every step of the way. 
  • Deliverable or Service
    When your client receives the deliverable or service, there shouldn’t be any surprises or difficulties, which is also why communication is so important. 

Completion

  • Renewal Decision
    Perhaps you’ve already designed a logo but there’s a good fit for web design as well, or maybe you’ve completed an initial consulting project and the client is interested in keeping your services longer. If this is applicable to your business, clients will consider every step of the clientflow to decide if they’d like to work with you again in the future. 
  • Making a Recommendation or Referral 

Most creative freelancers won’t necessarily need to create a new clientflow but rather think about how you can optimise your existing processes to create a more streamlined experience that takes the entire client journey into consideration.

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