Episode 076

How to Manage Client Expectations (And Why)

One thing that I regularly have to help my clients with is their communication with their clients. They’re leaving details fuzzy, like deadlines, and their clients don’t know exactly what to expect. So, today’s episode is full of tips for helping you to manage your clients’ expectations.

If you aren’t clear in your communication, or you’re trying to speak to too many people at once, it’s no surprise that the lines become blurred. So, I’m walking you through managing client expectations all the way through your client relationships, from the first time they hear about you, your first sales conversation, to the point where you form a deeper working relationship with them.

Tune in this week to discover how to manage client expectations, and why this is an important part of being an entrepreneur. I’m sharing the long-term impact of not managing your clients’ expectations, stories from my clients of not communicating clearly, and how to see where you aren’t fully managing your clients’ expectations right now.

There are a few spots left in Wired for Wealth! This is my signature 9-month money mindset program with business strategy and mentorship that directly works to release money blocks, transform your relationship with money, and create the lasting wealth you fully deserve. We start on Monday, May 1st. If you want to work with a small group of entrepreneurs in building your business over the next 9 months, fill out your application!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • The 3 stages that make up the way you connect and engage with your clients.
  • Why managing your client expectations has a long-term impact on your business.
  • What you can do to see where you need to be clearer in your communications with your clients.
  • How to manage client expectations so you can develop the best possible relationships with them.

Resources

Read the full transcript now

You’re listening to the Mastering Money in Midlife podcast with Debbie Sassen, episode 76.

Welcome to Mastering Money in Midlife, a podcast for midlife women in business to overcome financial anxiety and make more money without burning out or sacrificing their families. Join Certified Life and Money coach Debbie Sassen, as she shares practical business strategies and mindset shifts that help you dissolve the money blocks that keep you stuck in a cycle of underearning and undersaving, sabotage the growth of your business, and prevent you from building the wealth that you desire.

Hello, my friends. And welcome back to the podcast. It has been a minute since I last recorded a podcast. We had a beautiful Passover, or as I say, Pesach holiday with our family. We had a lot, a lot of family here during the week of Pesach. We had two of our married children and their four kids combined staying with us for five days. And then they left during the intermediate days of the Passover holidays.

And then for the last day of Passover one of the couples came back with her two kids. And then my daughter and her three kids stayed overnight with us. And then two of my other married kids with all of their kids came for dinner. And then one of my other couples, the fifth married couple, came for dessert.

So we really had a full house. Passover ended Wednesday night in Israel, and then on Friday we took all of our grandchildren to the zoo. Most of our kids, most of our married couples came with us. It was a beautiful, beautiful two week experience.

The weather was sometimes warm and sometimes we had massive storms and rain showers. So we got it all. We got the sun, the rain, the wind, the family, the food. Lots and lots of food because that’s the Jews like to celebrate their holidays. And now we are all back to work and I’m so glad to be here with you today.

One quick announcement before we jump into the podcast, which is going to be a little bit short and very straightforward today on the podcast. The announcement is that my group coaching program, Wired For Wealth, starts May 1st. Monday, May 1st we are beginning with a full day live event, or virtual, at the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem.

There are a few seats left if you would like to join us. If you’ve been thinking about it, the holidays got in the way, the Jewish holidays, Spring Break, Easter, Ramadan, whatever you are celebrating, go now to my website, DebbieSassen.com/wealth, and schedule a consult and let’s talk about it. Because now is the time where you get to focus on your business for the next nine months.

I want to help you create consistent 5 to 10k months, and then scale up to consistent 10,000 to $20,000 months as you build, grow and scale your business. I want to help you get booked out with your ideal clients. So let’s go, that’s DebbieSassen.com/wealth to sign up for Wired For Wealth, my signature nine month group coaching program.

All right, my friends. Let us jump into today’s topic, which is managing your clients’ expectations. I have seen this come up numerous times with my clients in recent months, is that my clients are not communicating well with their clients.

Meaning they’re leaving things fuzzy. Deadlines are fuzzy, when they’re going to give them the, you know, if you’re let’s say a copywriter and you’re writing something or a website designer and you’re designing a website. Even if there is a six month engagement between coaches, things are fuzzy and your clients don’t know what to expect.

And before I underscore why it’s so important to manage your clients’ expectations, let’s just look at the three stages of the way you engage with your clients. And some people will call this a funnel, and that is on the first layer, the first stage of your funnel you are building relationships with your potential clients.

And that is the outward marketing that you do. I like to call it organic marketing. I don’t pay for any ads at this point in my business. As I grow, I am sure that I will be investing in ads on Facebook or Instagram or wherever the social media gurus and ads specialists tell me that I should be investing. But today I am all 100% organic marketing my business, also networking.

And when you are marketing, you are creating relationships with your potential clients or people who could know people that would love to work with you. And you’re creating connections. You’re creating bonds. You’re helping people understand who you are, what you do, what you stand for, and what you don’t stand for.

And that’s also really, really important. If you try to speak to everybody, you’re speaking to nobody. I specifically speak with women entrepreneurs, people with Jewish values, or God centered, God fearing people. Those are my people. If that’s not you, that’s okay, you can still listen to my podcast, I love you so much.

But my people, my main people are people who are in the religious world, spirituality and knowing that there is a God running the world. Those are my people and I connect with them. If that’s not you, that is really okay. And you might love my content, or you might hate it, I don’t know. Anyway, the first stage of what we call your funnel is people getting to know you, creating that connection and that bond and that relationship.

Stage two, and it narrows down from all of the people in the world who know you and you have connected with them, is now people come into your funnel. If you really think about that funnel, it narrows and you have a sales conversation with them. They’re going to tell you what they need.

You’re going to create an understanding between you and them, they’re going to explain their needs to you, you’re going to listen very attentively. And sometimes the people that speak with you and they’re really interested in working with you, they’re just not your people. It doesn’t mean that they’re not good, or they’re bad, or there’s something wrong with them. It’s just possible that your specialty is not what they need and you get to refer them on.

If they are your people, then you have that sales conversation with them and you invite them in to work with you. You share your terms, your conditions, how much it costs to work with you. And we don’t get wonky about our prices, we just say our price, sit, be quiet and let them think about it. Because if they’re on that sales call with you, 90% of the people really, really want to work with you.

So that is stage two, is having the sales conversation. We start with marketing. Stage two is selling. And now they are really in your tribe. They’re your people, your clients, you are working with them. And this is where you need to manage your client expectations and think about the long-term impact of you managing their expectations.

If your clients are satisfied, they know what to expect, they know when to expect it. They know how you are going to deliver your services. They are really, really satisfied. They are delighted. And sometimes we get in our own stuff and we’re thinking, “Oh, but I’m only able, if I look at my calendar, to work on this client’s project in two weeks from now, or in one month from now.” Let your client know they want to work with you.

Last summer I had this conversation with at least one of my clients. And my client was going away for three weeks, maybe it was even more. And I said you have to let your clients know. Send out that email, tell them you’re going to be out of the office for three weeks. And if it’s an emergency, then it might be 24 to 48 hours until you get back because you are on vacation.

We have these unhelpful thoughts in our brains that we can’t tell our clients that we’re going on vacation, or we can’t tell our clients that we have doctor’s appointments. Hello, we are human beings, we do have needs.

Or in my situation, for example, my daughter, God willing, is going to be giving birth in the first or second week of May and I’m going to let my clients know, hello clients if you’re listening to this podcast, that I might tell you at the last minute because I’m her doula, that I can’t be meeting with you today.

And that is information that is valuable to your clients so that they can plan out their schedule. And if they don’t know, they could be just pinging you all the time, sending you Voxer messages or WhatsApp messages or email “Hey, what’s going on? Hey, what’s going on? When is my project due?”

And this happened with one of my clients in my program Wired For Wealth this week. She told her client that it was going to be next week. But next week is very vague. It’s a five day workweek, a six day work week for some people if you’re working Sunday to Friday. Some of the folks in Israel do work from Sundays to Fridays. I don’t work Fridays.

But you have to let your client know is it going to be Sunday or is it going to be Thursday? Is it going to be Monday or is it going to be Friday? And her client was sending her messages on Monday like, “Hey, have you gotten around to my thing yet?” And you, as the business owner, need to manage your clients expectations. Let your client know that you have a busy calendar.

And that is also good information for your clients to know like, oh, I’m not the only one. She’s in demand. Other people want to work with her. She does great work. That’s really important for your clients to know that. I mean, they would love to be the only VIP client, I’m sure they would, they’d get all of our attention, whatever. But you setting boundaries around your time, letting other folks know when you are going to deliver their project is key to you delighting your clients.

And when they understand that, they can relax. Just think about it from their point of view. They can relax. They’re not thinking about it. It’s not spinning in their brain. They’re not checking their email every 30 seconds to see if you responded. It helps you in your relationship with your clients. It helps your clients be more productive because they just get to take it off of their to-do list. And it makes your engagement and your relationship with your client so much more delightful.

It’s like my husband calling me before he leaves work saying, “Hi, I’m on the way home.” Sometimes it’s so I can put some food up and warm it up for him so that he has a bite to eat when he gets home because he’s worked a long day. He comes home between 7:00 and 7:30 and he can be ravenous, and so he wants something to eat. And sometimes it’s just being thoughtful and letting me know so that I can manage my expectations.

If I’m in the middle of a meeting, if I’m not in the middle of the meeting I can make sure to turn the lights on outside so he doesn’t have to figure out how to get into the door. I can make the house warm and welcoming. And we just know what’s going on with each other. And that’s what your clients want to know too, what is going on.

And before we wrap up, I’m going to give you an example. When I did my website, redid my website a couple of years ago, I worked with an amazing website designer, Rachel Taylor. Shout out, if you’re listening I love your work so, so much. We spoke in November 2021 or maybe it was 2020. I don’t even remember anymore.

But we spoke in November, I had a few tweaks that I wanted to do. It was 2020. And she said I can do these few tweaks for you in December, I have a few hours available in my calendar. But then I can’t get to your big website overhaul until February 2021. And you know what? She gave me that three month window, I knew what to expect. And then I didn’t need to think about it anymore.

Then as we were getting to the end of January to February, it started bubbling up in my brain. But my brain was clean and clear during the intervening months. I wasn’t even thinking about my website. Maybe I had a picture or something come up, whatever. But as a website designer, she was managing my expectations and she was helping me know what to expect and when, and how much time the project would take when we got to it.

And that created a delightful experience. Way less stress or no stress at all, really. I mean, let’s be honest, I knew what to expect. Her work is beautiful. I was very happy. I don’t think I had more than one or two tweaks on the website and then we went. And then when we finished the project, I was thrilled to give her a glowing testimonial.

And think about it from your point of view as a business owner, you want glowing testimonials. And if you have a happy client, a happy customer, they’re going to spread your name to other people. Just like I told you right now about Rachel Taylor, the beautiful, creative web designer who designed my website.

That is why stage three of your relationship with your client from marketing to selling to serving, or sometimes we call it client deliverables, is so important. And today we are focusing on step three, managing your clients expectations, delivering on time to your clients. And you know what that’s going to do for you? Your happy clients are going to be your best ambassadors for your next clients.

And that is going to help you make more money, serve more clients and build long-term wealth. That’s what I’ve got for you today. Thank you so much for tuning in.

Here’s the reminder, if you are even thinking about joining Wired For Wealth, this is a sign that you should go right now to my website, DebbieSassen.com/wealth. Sign up for a sales call and let’s get you in the program. It is your time to build a thriving business, get fully booked, and create consistent $5,000 to $20,000 months. Thanks so much my friend. I will see you next week. Bye.

Thanks for listening to Mastering Money in Midlife. If you want more information on Debbie Sassen or the resources from the podcast, visit masteringmoneyinmidlife.com.

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