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

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