In your virtual assistance practice, having an intake process which, in part shares how you work, and that also collects information about the client (contacts, preferences, systems, etc.) so that you can provide quality care  is smart to have.

Recently, I heard from a VA who said her new client refused to complete the part of the intake that would have given the VA important information needed to do some of the work she was going to be doing. The client said, “I don’t have time for this.”

Before you spend a nanosecond wondering if that’s true for this client, or anyone you’ve ever talked with, I’ll tell you that it’s simply not. Everyone has the time for that, if it matters to them.

And, while it’s understandable if the client doesn’t want to hand over financial information (unless you’re doing something financial for her), not wanting to take the time to give you other key information? Feh.

Consider this language if you have to stand up for yourself to someone with such an issue:

I’m simply not willing to sound or look stupid as I represent you by not having what I need to do it well. I need you to complete the intake packet if we’re going to work together.

Once, I heard about a client whose response to that sort of standard was, “I don’t ever do paperwork or fill out forms.”

That’s crap, too. No one on this planet can move through life without doing some of that, unless she has an entourage following her around 24/7. And, if she does, one of them can fill out your intake. ?

If a client won’t tackle giving you what you need, think about what else the client is likely to refuse to do in your relationship. Can you say “red flag?”

Stephen Covey taught that there is win/win (where both people win), win/lose (where one wins and one loses), and no deal (where you recognize that what’s happening will lead to a win/lose situation, and simply refuse to play…and creating a win/win in the process—do you see it?).

A client has the right to refuse to play, but if you’re not interested in a win/lose (and you’re not, right?), the best action is to walk away entirely, and find clients who think your process, including supplying the info you need is the coolest thing since sliced bread, and who gets that whatever you need is absolutely not optional.