Did you know that having a prospective client fill out an intake form could be the most important and valuable part of your relationship with them? While this may seem far fetched, a well-detailed client intake form is a game-changer in whether or not you move forward with a client. This can all be achieved by crafting a well thought out a prospective client intake form and uploading it to your website. Still don't believe us? Let's look at what a prospective client intake form is and why you should be using one.
What is a Prospective Client Intake Form?
A prospective client intake form is the most valuable part of your relationship with your client. It is a detailed list of information that the company or service wants and the absolute best way to get what you need upfront. It’s also a client screening process and a way to cover your own butt down the line. Without a client intake form, you may experience the following:
Too many rounds of revision
Your client may end up requesting far too many rounds of revision. This could be because there was no agreed-upon plan or it didn’t include an agreed upon number of revisions. You also may not have had enough information before starting the project.
Scope creep refers to how a project’s requirements seem to magically increase over time without you having agreed to it. A prospective client intake form can nip this in the bud and ensure that you have a written record of the agreed-upon work.
The work takes much longer than anticipated
This is usually due to too many rounds of revision or because you have had to chase clients for information that you should have had from the beginning. If you state exactly what you need for the project on your client intake form, you are not obligated to begin until you receive the information.
What Does the Client Intake Process Involve?
The client intake process involves more than a prospective client intake form. It’s normally a three-step process, at least, and allows you, as the service provider, to introduce yourself to the client so they can get to know you better. It also lets you further get to know your client and receive as much information about the project as possible.
If your business does not have a structured client intake process in place, it can lead to confusion, frustration, and wasted time. So, putting in the time to establish a client intake process is one of the best decisions you can make for your business and your bottom line.
The Three-Step Process
While it may look different for every business, this three-step client intake process is incredibly useful in getting a new project off the ground.
Before completing a prospective client intake form, schedule an initial call with the customer. The customer may have filled out a general form on your website or sent you an email. At this point, give them a call to introduce yourself and ask some more general information about their business and their needs. At this point, request that the prospective client fill out an intake form so you can gather more detailed information.
You may have online forms readily accessible on your website or you may send it to your client in a PDF via email. Either way, this is where you get down to specific details: what type of business they are, their goals, their competitors, etc. Once you receive the completed intake form, review it and decide if you can meet their needs or not. If you feel that you can take them on as a client, come up with a plan to move forward and collect information you need. There is always a chance that the client may request a service that you do not provide or have expectations that exceed what you can deliver. In this case, it is best to decide if you want to try to offer them an alternative service that may meet their needs or advise that you are not able to take them on as a client.
After you have had a chance to review the client intake form, set up an exploratory call. This is where you discuss the information they have given you in their client intake form and explore your client’s options in moving forward. This is also your chance to get as much essential information as possible from the client that they may not have included in the client intake form.
How to Choose the Right Questions for the Prospective Client Intake Form
Nobody likes having to fill out a long, tedious form. A super long list of questions is overwhelming to anyone but you can still make your client intake form look easy and manageable while receiving all the crucial initial information you need.
A client intake form can essentially be broken down into two main parts:
1. Basic Information
Start with the basics. This includes company name, contact name(s) and information, website, and social media links. Then, move onto their budget for the project and what it is that they want to hire you to do. Pretty standard stuff.
2. In-Depth Questions
The in-depth questions are where you find out information beyond general getting-to-know-you type stuff. This is your chance to find out more about your client’s business. What are their goals? What is their mission statement? Who are their main competitors? This is also a good time to ask about what time frame they’re looking at for the current project.
Prospective client intake forms are not only useful for your business, but they should also be a mandatory part of taking on a new client. Receiving essential information about a project upfront saves both you and the prospective client not only time and money but also frustration and confusion by making sure you’re a good fit. Many online programs can help you quickly and easily create client intake forms. You’ll be glad you made the choice to add them to your intake routine.