Episode: 365 |
Will Bachman:
Questions for Clients:


Will Bachman

Questions for Clients

Show Notes


In today’s weekend edition of Unleashed, I share a list of 20-25 questions that David A. Fields and I usually ask our clients during the initial conversation to help engage the client and secure the project.

Key points include:

  • Focusing on the client’s needs
  • Understanding the scope of the project
  • Understanding the client’s expected outcomes
  • Insight into the internal team and the stakeholders involved

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Will Bachman 00:02
Occasionally, I will when I’ve introduced a consultant to a potential client, occasionally I’ll join those conversations. And on some occasions recently, well-qualified consultants did not get a project that they really should have. Because in that initial call with a client, the consultant spent too much time just talking about their own experience. Now, clients may ask about our experience. But in my, in my experience, clients don’t actually care about our great case examples, but they care about their problem. So, if clients asked me, “Hey, tell me about your relevant experience in this widget industry.” Instead, I try to respond with a question. Instead of answering something like, “Sure, I’m happy to discuss some related work that I’ve done. But first, I’d love to understand a bit more about your current challenge so that I can share the most relevant examples.”

So shift the conversation to the client’s problem and just don’t look back. So here are a set of questions just off the top of my head. And this is not an exhaustive list, just ones that I quickly came up with. And I’ll mention that several of these I have learned from David A. Fields. So here’s a list, and I listed about 20 to 25. questions here. Okay. So, number one.
So, what’s the current situation?
What have you done so far?
Why are you looking for help externally?
Why are you looking for help on this now?
What outcome are you hoping to achieve?
What would the business impact be of that?
What sort of challenges have you faced so far, in getting this done?
Assume this project were to be a big success. What would that look like?
This project could be tackled in a bunch of different ways. What’s your mental model of how the project should be done?
What sort of timeline do you envision?
To what degree is the internal team aligned?
Why might some stakeholders support a different direction? Which internal stakeholders? Do we need to involve?
When were you thinking of getting started?
Who will be involved in the selection of the consultants to support this? What will the selection process look like?
What sort of budget do you have in mind?
Is the budget approved?
Or if not, what will that approval process look like?
What would the background be of the ideal consultant for this project?
What role do you see the consultant playing on this project?
Let’s say that you’ve got the final deliverable in your hands right now. Please describe it to me, what pages does it include?
Let’s say we’ve completed this transformation effort. How do things work differently around here?
What makes you think that I, or my firm could be helpful in this?
Why do you think we might be the right choice for you?
What would be your top concern for working with a consultant with my background?
What would you need to see from us to confirm this effort and get started?

So discussing these questions is a lot more interesting to the client than hearing about that similar project that you did three years ago. So, I’m sure you can come up with your own additional questions. But think about using what I call the 7030 squared rule, in initial conversations with clients where you want the client to be talking 70% of the time, and you talking 30% of the time. And then of that 30% of the time that you’re talking 70% of that should be questions, and only 30% of 30% should be actually you talking about your experience or making declarative statements. So I hope that’s helpful. It’s so hard to do it yourself. My experience. It’s easy to observe with other people. But really, we don’t know how to put our proposal together until we’ve really gotten inside that client’s head and understood what they’re looking for. Right? So it’s so much easier to sell someone something, if that’s what they want to buy, rather than, you know, forcing something on them that they don’t really want. So just ask. Thanks for listening to this episode, you can go to M brex.com slash unleashed. and sign up for the weekly email for unleashed. I’ll send you an email that includes a list of all the recent episodes, so you can decide which ones you might want to listen to. Also, occasionally, we include some Bonus Material. And if you’d like to leave the show a five star review on iTunes that would be greatly appreciated, helps other people discover the show and you can email me We’ll Bachman at unleashed@unbrick.com Thanks for listening

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