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Questions to unlock engagements during the client consultation

~ by Alan W

When we meet with a prospective client, we have the opportunity to cut to the chase and discover whether we can unlock a mutually beneficial engagement. That is, one where your business can solve their challenge with the expertise you bring to the table. These client conversations (or the client ‘consultation’) can go on and on. When you drive the conversation by asking the right questions, you can be on the same page from the onset. This is what we should be asking to establish crystal clear standing between you and the prospective client:

1. What is the reason for meeting today?

Here we really want to understand why the prospective client is even talking to us. What triggered this meeting? What are the influencing factors leading up to the meeting? The motivation behind the reason for meeting will reveal key factors like urgency, key influencers, how serious they are about the engagement, and potential underlying assumptions about you and your business.

2. What do we want to achieve in this meeting today?

We need to understand the intent of the meeting so that neither party leaves the meeting feeling unfulfilled or even more confused. From the initial consultation with our prospective client, we want them to walk away feeling like they got answers or clarity on what they came to the meeting for. If we cannot meet their expectations, at least we can tell them this at the onset and steer the meeting in the direction of what we CAN accomplish, and agree this early in the conversation.

3. Where are you today, where are you headed, where do you want to be tomorrow/future?

Remember, you are here to change them today, and take them in the right direction to get to tomorrow/future. Asking this question gives you an idea of the job at hand and infers the gravity of the mission you will be undertaking. A must have for any future value conversation to ensue.

4. What is the challenge you are faced with here?

You are their problem solver. You need to understand the problem/s that keep them up at night, that are hindering their ability to get to that future state they desire. How long have they had this challenge? What are the contributing factors fueling this fire? Simply put: if we do not understand their challenge, we cannot honestly fathom whether we can resolve it for them.

5. What is it that you need to take away from today?

This is about the criteria required for your prospective client to move forward post the consultation meeting. It is also your criteria for what the client will consider a successful meeting. This is the first of many problems you will be solving for them, so we must get this first one right (or at the very least, manage their expectations).

These key questions in your client consultation are not ALL it takes to make this meeting conducive. The way you present yourself is the underlying current that will keep you afloat. Be authentic. Be real. Be you. Look out for yourself and continuously ask yourself what the outcome is that YOU want from the meeting. Never forget, it is a mutually beneficial relationship you are in need of, this is a two way street. And remember to always LISTEN.

Work with Alan W

"Solving niche challenges founders face”.

Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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