There are only 5 questions to ask potential clients.

5 Questions You Need to Ask Potential Clients

Posted on May 21st, 2017 by Elizabeth

Craft proposals to address specific pain points with these 5 questions

You need to submit proposals to land clients. But before you begin constructing your proposal, you need to figure out your objectives. Without objectives, you have nothing to measure your success with.

But let’s back up a few steps.

You need to understand your potential client’s problems and pain points before you even begin writing your proposal. To understand this, you need to to formulate the right questions to ask potential clients.

Without asking the right questions to understand their problems, you won’t be able to solve issues, which means they won’t hire you.

It can be hard to think of the right questions to ask, but think about going into it with an agenda. You want to figure out what their problems are, and why they want to solve them. That’s how you can add value to their business.

Your success is their success, and to be successful you need to ask the following questions.

1. “Tell me about your project and the timeline you have in mind”

This is the most basic question, and it’s painfully obvious. But to get to the good stuff, we have to lay the foundation. The important aspect of this question is listening to the answer. Without this information, you won’t know what to ask later, or when they want to start or finish the project. Hear them out, and identify the problem that this project solves. Ask them about it, but don’t get bogged down by the details of what they want. That comes later.

2. “What impact does solving this issue have for your project?”

Every project comes to fruition because there’s a root problem to address. If you’re a copywriter, your problem could be turning boring copy on a landing page into a conversion-focused masterpiece, and converting all those visitors into leads. Whatever your focus is, investigate it. Learn everything you can, and use this information to tailor the proposal to exactly what they need. Show the potential client you care about their project and demonstrate that when you craft your proposal.

3. “What would happen if this issue didn’t get solved?”

Here is where you start to learn the value of the project, and ties into how you can help them. When you have a clear foundation to work from it’s easier for you to figure out where to start, and where it can go. Knowing the worst-case scenario tells you exactly what’s at stake, and how much they value this project.

4. “Can you describe what a perfect day looks like when this problem is solved?”

Let the client switch gears and think about something better than doomsday scenarios. Now they can start to dream about how much better their life and company will function when you save the day with expert deliverables. This question tells you exactly where your efforts on their project will fit into the company, and what impact you can have on their business.

5. “What metrics will you use to measure the success of this project?”

You will never know if your work was successful if you don’t have starting points or end goals. Both require data and metrics. Know what benchmarks they have already, and what measurable results they’d like to see. This will help you, and them, later on down the road.

Now that you’ve done some serious investigation, you need to tie it all together for them. Sum up the main points of what you’ve learned and close the call with the next steps you’ll be taking. Whether you follow up via email or in-person, set a deadline for them and let them know exactly when they’ll hear from you and what they’ll be getting. Are you going to provide a quote? Are you going to set up a secondary call? Details matter here.

In this wrap-up, emphasize your focus on their business. You’re here to help them, because you succeed when they do. Make their dream tomorrow come to fruition by intently listening to their words, not just focusing on the data. You’ve taken the time to ask questions, and they’ve vocalized their concerns and goals. Take the information you’ve gathered and turn it into an acute understanding of your potential client’s problems and pain points. Not only will they love you for listening, but you’ll be able to address their needs more effectively and work to turn their problems into solutions. Draft them the perfect proposal they won’t be able to walk away from.