Ask your clients this question

Providing a service, or a quote or proposal, usually means asking some questions. If you’re like me, you get excited about jumping into solving the problem. So I’ve been working on slowing down + diving in to what’s going on. While I want you to ask your clients this question, I’m also going to ask my clients too. But first, story time.

I recently started shopping for a new car. I did research, browsed car lots on Sunday (introvert status) and made lists of questions that I had. When I felt ready, I went to the dealership to talk to a salesperson.

“What’s important to you?”

That was the very first question Phil asked me after introducing himself. And I’ll be honest, it caught me off guard. It wasn’t about my budget, what model I was looking at, or if I was thinking new or used.

I think us service-based businesses could learn a thing or two from Phil + start asking our clients this very same question.

The process

When was the last time you pondered how your clients start the journey of hiring you? They likely don’t land in your inbox with a check waiting for your business name to be written on it.

Much like my car buying process, there may be quiet research going on — asking friends who they’ve worked with, reaching out in FB groups or Slack channels, doing google searches to see what the options even are.

It’s usually not until they are almost ready to hire someone that they reach out to professionals like yourself via a site contact form. By then, they’ve put a lot of thought into what they need but are also possibly overwhelmed by the information.

Reduce overwhelm

How can you help? By asking the same question I was asked.

When you know what’s important to your prospective clients, you can better answer their questions (including the ones they didn’t know they had.) You can also make sure that you’re the right fit for the job they are hiring for.

Let’s say the conversation goes like this…
“What’s important to you?”
“I need someone that is available to answer my questions via Slack or via email within the hour that I send them. I’ve had too many contractors fall off the face of the earth and it gives me so much anxiety.”

While questions about budget + feature requests are important. This tells you loads more about how the project will likely go. I personally check email 1-2 times a day + don’t stay logged into chatting software when I need to get coding done. So I would let this potential client know that we could have daily email check-ins or phone calls, but not every time they have a question.

The next time you’re on a call with a lead, work in this simple question to see where it takes the conversation.

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