During any part of the sales process, whether it’s a call, form, or email, there are critical and absolutes, when it comes to questions to ask.
This is true if you are a developer, a designer, a marketer, or even a photographer.
Before I jump into the must-haves when you think about these questions to ask, think about the end, what you are delivering and work backward from there.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the emotions and excitement of a new project and want to jump in. If you want the project to be as successful as possible, just like the client does, make sure you are on the same page from the start.
The key thing to remember is to not assume anything. Cover all your bases so that you both earn trust with each other and have a firm foothold on the project.
So if you are a developer and you need to work on an existing codebase, don’t assume that they have a code repository and different environments for testing things.
For any type of business that you are, don’t assume that you are the only one working on the project. Make sure that you know who else is so that it can be collaborative.
Which now leads me to the X questions to ask.
What are you looking to achieve?
This can also be “why is this important right now for the business?”
Aside from any technology, there’s a reason that the business has chosen this project right now and it is important to understanding why.
The reason could be sales based, could be philosophy based, could be they are looking to get investors, and so on.
The underlying reason will set the path for the success.
What does success look like in 6, 10, 12 months from now?
This is important even on the smallest of projects that may only last a couple of weeks.
Understanding the vision the client has for the work that’s about to be done is the measuring stick of happiness for them with you.
If they expect 1000 new users to sign up in 6 months, it’s better to know that than doing the work and you thinking that they would be happy with 500.
What does failure look like?
This is important especially when it comes to working with a client that’s had a bad experience previously.
Failure for you will be different than the client. That I’m sure of.
So best to understand what that is so that you can steer clear of that at all costs.
Oddly enough, failure for the client has to do with communication more often than not. Which makes it easy for you since you can always take 5 minutes at the end of the day to let them know what’s going with their project.
Why have you come to me?
This is also “what is it that I do that interests you for us to work together?”
Even though I don’t ask this explicitly, I can often tell by the way they got in touch with me.
Having this information is important because it’s often that there are cheaper and more expensive options out there. There are also options that can provide a similar solution to you.
How they respond to this is telling of your uniqueness. It says a lot about you as a business and what you do differently.
These are the Sales 101 questions you have to ask. Asking them as early on in the process will help you filter the tire kickers especially.
So put these questions on your forms or applications to do work.
If the lead cannot answer each of these with some level of conviction and thought behind them, then they are tire kickers.
Tire kickers are those that have an idea and looking for validation of the idea and scoping a budget.
Tire kickers are the fool’s gold of the client services world.
Running your freelance business
More episodes in this topic:
What do you do when a crisis hits?
How to start building an email list as a freelancer?
How do you manage time wearing so many hats as a freelancer?
What software tools do you use for business? What is best?
How do you prevent, manage scope creep in your projects?
Do you schedule in time for exploring or reading articles online?
What is the best way to get income fast?
What happens if you can’t define a scope of work on a call?
What do I do first thing Monday morning?
How can I focus on my business when I’ve got a ton client work?
Do I have to be concerned with GDPR?
What are the tools and services that you use and would recommend to freelancers?
How do you have time for all that you do?
What podcasting gear do I use?
Does live chat bring you in business?
How do you followup with a lead after a proposal?
Did hiring a mentor really help you with starting up your business or your career?
What is my writing process
What is the easiest way to get a remote testimonial?
How do you determine a quality prospect?
How do you step away and actually take a vacation?
Are job boards reliable?
How to decrease the sales cycle or time to close?
How would you write a cold outreach email?
How to present different services that could potentially diminish your abilities in the minds of clients?
Should I bundle projects for clients or keep projects separate per client?
What product do you use for your business that you can’t live without?
What makes you stand out from other freelancers?
Do I drop this client?
How do I set a goal?
Do you meet leads and clients face-to-face?
How do I work “ON” my business and not “IN” my business?
What is the best structure for setting a goal?
How do you do a review of your week?
What do I say when a potential client says I’m too expensive?
What is activity based selling?
How to get more clients?
How to have a productive week?
Do you use a CRM for your business?
How do you choose the technology for your clients?
What is the structure of a weekly review?
What is the structure of a monthly review?
What are lead generation techniques to get me out of the feast and famine revenue cycle?
How do I know if I should buy a course?
What’s a polite way to tell existing clients you are raising your rates? And what is a reasonable percentage to go up?
How many email follow-ups should I send to a lead?
What do I do? I’m afraid to filter the tire kickers coming into my business because they are the only leads I have.
How to take the next step from contracting resource to solo business owner?
What do you think about Gutenberg? Schmutenberg!
How do I get better at sales?
How to overcome objections in sales?
How do I respond to an RFP?
How to respond to “I don’t need strategy, can you just do…”?
If you don’t have experience, how to you prove the quality without the education/experience?
How do you handle a client that has ghosted?
What do you ask during a sales call?
How to improve your sales process as a freelancer?
How to charge more as a freelancer?
How do you push past the imposter syndrome?
How do you segment your email list?
What to say when a client insists on adding something new?
What kind of content should I promote to potential clients?
Best of Season 3 - Get out of the comfort zone
Best of Season 3 - Building Relationships
S06 E12 - Undercharging, Targeting the Wrong Audience, and What You Should Do About It with Alex McClafferty
S03 Bonus - Tom McFarlin on Blogging, Balancing Work and Family, and Building a Business that Lasts
S09 E11 - Differentiation, Reputation, and Pivoting From the Top-Down with Peep Laja
S01 E11 - Kai Davis helping freelancers get more clients with outreach