Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Client So That You Learn What They Are REALLY Receiving From You and Your Services
by Thomas J. Leonard
The purpose of this Top 10 List is to help you find out the exact nature of the value that your clients are receiving from your professional services - beyond the obvious that they would expect from you. It is important that you know this information because you can then expand your marketing efforts to include these 'hot button' items.
The Set Up
It's important to call your clients on the phone to ask these questions or to do so in person. Don't use email, don't fax, and don't send a letter or 'survey' (INSULTING!).
The reason that it's important to ask these questions live is that you may have to press or help the client to articulate their answers beyond the 'obvious first response.' Think of a faucet in an old building that hasn't been turned on for a while. What comes out for the first 30 seconds? Yep, rusty water.
It's true for this exercise as well, because this may be the FIRST time ever in your client's life that they've ever been asked these types of questions. Be patient, quiet, and encouraging. And, stick with them until the 'truth' comes out. It's there, like delivering a baby. And a relief to all when it comes popping out! (Okay, sorry for the analogy, but it does fit.)
Open the call with a statement/question like this one:
"Bob, I am hoping that you can spend 10 minutes with me because I need your help with something I'm working on."
"Sure, Mary, what can I do?"
"Bob, I'm trying to get a handle on the nature of the value that ALL of my clients are receiving from our working together, so I'm calling each client -like you - and asking them a couple of questions. Would you be willing to give this a shot?"
"Uh, sure, Mary, ask away."
"Thanks, Bob." (proceed to questions below)
The point is to get permission, give background/context/purpose, and inform the client that you are doing this with every client (full disclosure) so they know the scope of the project.
Select and adapt the questions which fit best for you.
Top 10 Questions To Ask
1. "What are the 3 important ways that you have benefited from our working together?" (accept what they say, and then press for clarity/simplicity/truth)
2. "Have you benefited in surprising ways, perhaps outside of what you hired me to do for you?" (press for truth/release)
3. "Is there an area of our work together that you would like to spend more time on?" (be patient as they create this; this tells you what they want more of and may help you expand your practice by serving others with similar needs)
4. "Five years from now, what will you say about the work we have done together to this point?" (be patient as they process this)
5. "You know me as a [insert your profession here]. What ELSE would you call me or the role I play in your life?" (have fun with them as they think of this; press for other examples until one rings true for both of you)
6. "What are the 3 positive (meaning complimentary) adjectives which describe me?" (this, so that you can discover how you or your personality are perceived, which you can craft into added features/benefits of your work.)
7. "What are the 3 ways that our working together is saving you money and/or making you more money." (be patient as they identify these)
8. "How is our working together improving the quality of your personal life?" (be patient; they aren't expecting this one)
9. "As a result of our working together, what have you been freed up to do and accomplish work-wise or business-wise?" (be patient; they need to connect the dots between you, your work, them, and their business/work)
10. "Given my goal is to identify EVERYTHING that you receive/get from our working together, what else would you want to add to make this list complete?" (be patient; this is the BIG QUESTION)
Source: Full Practice Ezine, Copyright 2001 by Thomas J. Leonard