Flip the question
Particularly in an initial discussion with a potential client, it can be productive to flip the question:
1. Client: “Tell me about your relevant experience.”
Flip the question: “To help me identify which experiences may be most relevant, do you mind if I first ask a few more questions about your project?”
Comment: Clients aren’t actually that curious about our experience. They care about their problem. So try to spend time learning about their problem, not talking about your past.
2. Client: “Tell us your recommended approach.”
Flip the question: “There’s a whole spectrum of ways we could think of addressing this matter. At one end of the spectrum, we could think about just a day-long workshop. At the other end, a three month effort, five days per week, with a team of two or three. What’s your mental model for the role you’d expect a consultant to play?”
Comment: It’s much easier to sell a client the service they want to buy. So don’t guess, just ask them what they are hoping to get.
More tips on how to have an effective Context Discussion in The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients by David A. Fields